A 'Longquan' celadon-glazed tripod censer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

Lot 615. A 'Longquan' celadon-glazed tripod censer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279).Diameter 5 in., 12.7 cm. Estimate 150,000 — 200,000 USD. Unsold. Courtesy Sotheby's.

finely potted, of compressed globular form rising to a short straight neck and a broad everted rim, supported on three splayed legs each molded with a slender vertical flange, covered overall in a rich, lustrous pale bluish-green glaze thinning to a whitish-green at the rim and flanges, with a Japanese silver domed cover, pierced with a design of phoenix amidst foliage, Japanese wood box and cover (4)

NoteLongquan celadon incense burners of this classic elegant form, based on archaic bronze tripods (li), are characteristic of the Southern Song period and were particularly appreciated in Japan. The present censer is notable for the rich sea-green color of its glaze which is applied evenly with a thin coating over the body. A Longquan censer of somewhat larger proportions in the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, was included in the exhibition Song Ceramics, Tobu Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1999, cat. no. 73; and another similar example was sold in our New York rooms, 19th September 2001, lot 132. See also a censer of this type sold in our London rooms, 6th November 2013, lot 231; and a censer sold at Christie’s New York, 22nd-23rd March 2018, lot 709.

Celadon censers of this form are preserved in several major collections: for example, a censer in the Enkakuji, a temple near Kamakura, Japan, which has been designated an 'Important Cultural Property', is illustrated in Chûgoku no tôji / Chinese Ceramics, vol. 4, Tokyo, 1997, col. pl. 67. Other examples from Japanese collections are illustrated in Longquan Ware: Chinese Celadon Beloved of the Japanese, Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum, Seto, 2012, cat. nos 37-41. Compare also a censer in the National Palace Museum,Taipei, illustrated in Porcelain of the National Palace Museum: Lung-ch’üan Ware of the Sung Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1962, pl.15; another formerly in the collection of Edward T. Chow, included in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol.1, London, 1994, pl. 565; and two examples from the Qing Court Collection and now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelain of the Song Dynasty, vol.II, Hong Kong, 1996, pls 125-126. 

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 20 march 2019