Lot 754. A large 'Cizhou' white-glazed sgraffiato vase, Liao dynasty (907-1125). Height 18 7/8 in., 48 cm. Estimate 50,000 — 70,000 USD. © Sotheby's.
the finely potted body of elegantly sinuous baluster form, the swelling shoulders rising to a slender elongated neck surmounted by a flaring cupped mouth with galleried rim and supported on a chamfered splayed foot, the rounded sides deftly carved with a wide frieze of scrolling leaves with delicately incised veining and frilled edges, set between a band of overlapping lotus petals and a scallop-edged border, applied overall with a pearl-white slip beneath a lustrous colorless glaze, the foot left unglazed revealing the buff body.
Provenance: Christie's London, 6th June 1994, lot 102.
Bai Ma Xuan Collection.
Sotheby's New York, 21st-22nd September 2005, lot 31
Note: The graceful lines of this sumptuous attenuated form are made all the more luxurious by the effect of the luminous glaze over the lushly foliate-carved layer of moon-white slip. The transparent glaze glides over the carved surface and pools in the recesses, highlighting the three registers of carved decoration that conform perfectly to the sinuous form. A vase of similar form, impressive height and nearly identical decoration is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and illustrated in Ceramics of the Liao Dynasty, China Institute in America, New York 1973. cat. no. 29.
Another closely related example, but of slightly smaller size and carved in the more usual manner to reveal the buff pottery body, is in the Freer Sackler Museum, Washington D.C., and illustrated in several books including, Freedom of Clay and Brush Through Seven Centuries in Northern China: Tz'u-Chou Type Wares, 960-1600 A.D., Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, 1980 cat. no. 14. The Freer Sackler vase is illustrated again along with another of this more common type sold at Christie's New York, 18th-19th March 2009, lot 508. For a further related vase of the same form and decoration but more roughly incised, see the example excavated from a Liao tomb in Liaoning province now preserved in the Liaoning Provincial Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji [Complete Series of Chinese Ceramics], vol. 9, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 3.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 10 september 2019