An exceptional and very rare Longquan guan-type mallow-form dish, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

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Lot 1030. An exceptional and very rare Longquan Guan-type mallow-form dish, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279); 7 in. (17.7 cm.) diam., cloth boxEstimate USD 80,000 – USD 120,000Price realised USD 567,000. © Christie's 2022

The dish with a concave, shallow center is potted with wide everted mouth rim in the form of a mallow flower, and is covered overall in a rich greyish-blue glaze suffused with a network of dense icy crackles.

Provenance: The J. M. Hu (1911-1995), Zande Lou Collection.

Literature: Helen D. Ling and Edward T. Chow, Collection of Chinese Ceramics from the Pavilion of Ephemeral Attainment, vol. I, Hong Kong, 1950, no. 22.

Note: The glaze of this extraordinary dish is remarkable for its distinctive cool, greyish-blue color and for the dense suffusion of icy crackles in flake-like layers, which is reminiscent of some of the finest Guan glazes. R. Scott notes in 'Guan or Ge Ware: A re-examination of some pieces in the Percival David Foundation', Oriental Art, Summer 1993, Vol. XXXIX, no. 2, pp. 16-19, that the Longquan kiln specialist Professor Zhu Boqian has suggested that the the kilns began to make crackled wares perhaps about 1200, in imitation of the wares produced at Jiaotanxia. According to excavation reports, places where these Longquan Guan-type wares were made include Xinting, Aodi and Shanshu Lianshan in Dayao county, and Wayaoqing, Kulouwan and Lijiashan in Xikou county. See Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Sung Dynasty Kuan Ware, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1989, p. 30.

This dish is not only distinguished by its beautiful glaze, but also by its rare and elegant shape suggestive of a mallow flower. A Longquan dish of similar shape, but with the rim divided into six petal lobes, rather than seven as on the current dish, and the glaze without crackle, is illustrated by R. Krahl in Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Volume Three (II), London, 2006, p. 581, no. 1570. Other Longquan dishes with lobed rims divided into six petals include the dish in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated by He Li in Chinese Ceramics, A New Comprehensive Survey, New York, 1996, no. 267, and the dish illustrated in the J. J. Lally & Co. exhibition catalogue, The Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Marvin L. Gordon, Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Spring 2009, no. 23.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 25 march 2022