A Longquan celadon tripod censer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)





Lot 1034. A Longquan celadon tripod censer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279); 5 in. (12.7 cm.) diam., cloth boxEstimate USD 60,000 – USD 80,000Price realised USD 226,800. © Christie's 2022

The compressed body is raised on three short feet and has a flat everted rim, with three narrow flanges beginning at a slight ridge on the shoulder and trailing down each leg. The censer is covered overall with a sea-green glaze of even tone.

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. 24.

NoteThe shape of this censer, based on that of the ancient bronze ritual food vessel, li, was produced from the Southern Song into the Yuan period for the domestic as well as the export market. The numerous tripod censers retrieved from the Sinan shipwreck provide evidence that this shape was much sought after in Japan, the original destination of the ship's cargo, and where they have since been widely collected.

The thick, translucent glaze is typical of this type of Southern Song Longquan ware, as is the lack of any decoration other than the flanges. A number of Longquan celadon censers of the same shape are published, including several in renowned museum collections. Examples in the Tokyo National Museum and Percival David Foundation, London, are published in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, Tokyo, 1982, vol. 1, no. 97, and vol. 6, no. 37, respectively. Other comparable censers include the example illustrated by J. Ayers, The Baur Collection: Chinese Ceramics, vol. I, Geneva, 1972, no. A99; and the censer in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Sung Dynasty Porcelain, Taipei, 1974, no. 12. A larger example (19.7 cm. diam.), found in 1991 in Jinyu village of Nanqiong, Suining city, Sichuan province, is illustrated in Longquan Celadon: The Sichuan Museum Collection, Macau, 1998, pp. 210-11, no. 83.

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