Lot 2814. A very rare Yue incised and inscribed 'floral' ewer and cover, Five dynasties (907-960); 8 13/16 in. (22.1 cm.) high overall. Estimate HKD 1,200,000 - HKD 1,800,000. Price realised HKD 3,245,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
The globular body is finely incised with stylised floral blooms separated by cloud scrolls below a band of petals, applied to the shoulders with a gently curved spout and an upright arched handle. The base is incised with a character qian ‘thousand’. The cover with a double-bud finial is similarly incised with cloud scrolls on both steps, pierced on one side with two apertures for attachment. Both ewer and cover are covered with a thin glaze of pale sea-green tone, with the exception of spur marks on the undersides and interior of the ewer, revealing the very fine, greyish-white biscuit body, box.
Property from The Yi Lan Tang Collection.
Provenance: Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong.
Note: This exceptional ewer is very rare not only because it retains the original cover, but its overall condition is incredibly well preserved. It is singular as it is incised on the base with a qian character, which is extremely unusual. The thin potting is of superb quality and the vessel is almost fully glazed, the unglazed areas revealing the extraordinarily fine body of a pale greyish-white colour. It represents some of the finest wares made at the Yue kilns during the Five Dynasties period, and would undoubtedly have been made for the elites or upper echelons of society.
Very few Yue ewers of this form and decoration retaining their original covers are recorded. A ewer and cover of similar form but with lobed sides and incised decoration of figures, also dating to the Five Dynasties, is in the collection of Capital Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Beijing wenwu jingpin, Beijing, 2008, no. 5 (fig. 1). Another example also with lobed sides and incised with crane decorations, but with restoration to both the ewer and cover, was sold at Sotheby’s London, 8 November 2017, lot 82. A further example with raised ribs on the body and lacquer repair to the cover was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 5 April 2016, lot 70.
Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 9 July 2020