A rare small Yueyao celadon box and cover, Five Dynasties period, 10th century 

Lot 539. A rare small Yueyao celadon box and cover, Five Dynasties period, 10th century; 3¼ in. (8.2 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 5,000 - USD 7,000. Price realised USD 5,625. © Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

Of almost spherical fruit form, the cover crisply carved with inverted overlapping petals below a slightly depressed roundel applied in the center with a pinched stem, both sections covered inside and out with a lustrous greyish-green glaze that continues onto the countersunk base which retains four marks from the kiln supports used in the firing, box.

Provenance: J. J. Lally & Co., New York, October 1999

Note: The Yue kilns in Zhejiang province flourished in the 10th century and produced the first official Chinese ceramic ware, commissioned by the local Wu-Yue court. Spherical boxes decorated with lotus petals or shaped like fruit, such as the present example, were among the popular products of the kilns.

A similar box was excavated at Shangyu xian in 1978 and is illustrated by Feng Xianming et. al., eds., Zhongguo Taoci 4: Yueyao, Shanghai, 1983, no. 201. Other similar boxes are in the Fitzwilliam Museum, illustrated by M. Medley, T'ang Pottery and Porcelain, London and Boston, 1981, pl. 109, p. 114, and in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated by Wang Qingzheng, ed., Yue Ware: Miseci Porcelain, Shanghai, 1996, no. 44. See, also, the related Yueyao box and cover from the Robert E. Barron III Collection sold in these rooms, 30 March 2005, lot 265. 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics And Works Of Art, New York, 19 March 2008.