A russet-speckled black-glazed jar, Song Dynasty (960-1279)

Lot 120. A russet-splashed black-glazed jar, Song Dynasty (960-1279)20.5 cm, 8 in. Estimate HKD 600,000 — 800,000Price  realised HKD 750,000. Courtesy Sotheby's. 

sturdily potted with a body rising from a countersunk base to a broad shoulder below a short neck, the exterior applied overall with a glossy black glaze extending onto the interior of the neck and falling and pooling neatly just above the base, further liberally applied with russet-brown splashes, the base with a wash of blackish-brown glaze and revealing the grey stoneware body, Japanese wood box.

Provenance: Manno Art Museum, Osaka (label).

Note: Black-glazed ware of the Song dynasty represents a more adventurous and varied style of early ceramic production. From the Tang dynasty black-glazed stonewares began to make significant contributions to Chinese ceramics, with the best Tang wares being produced at the kilns in the Yellow River area of Northern China. Minimalist forms that were often inspired by nature, covered with monochrome glazes, soon led to painted and splashed designs which were achieved by exploiting lighter overglazes on the dark ground.

A jar of similar form, painted with bold swirls on a brownish-black ground, from the Sakamoto Gorō collection is published in Sekai toji zenshu [Ceramic art of the world], vol. 12, Tokyo, 1977, pl. 248; and two are illustrated in Mayuyama Seventy Years, vol. 1, pls 582 and 585. It is more common to find smaller jars of this type decorated with irregular splashes; for example, see one from the George F. de Menasce collection included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Sung Dynasty Wares. Chun and Brown Glazes, London, 1952, cat. no. 65.

Sotheby's. Monochrome, Hong Kong, 11 July 2020