A rare yueyao green-glazed chicken-head ewer, Southern Dynasties (265-589)

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Lot 106. A rare yueyao green-glazed chicken-head ewer, Southern Dynasties (265-589); 35cm (13 3/4in) high. (2). Sold for HKD 121,125 (Est: HKD 180,000 - HKD 220,000). © Bonhams 2001-2022

The bulbous body tapering towards the base, surmounted by a long neck with galleried rim, set on the shoulder with a double-ribbed handle ending with a dragon head biting the angular rim, opposite a chicken-head spout between two lugs on each side of the shoulder, covered overall in a thin olive-green glaze ending irregularly above the foot, the slightly recessed base left unglazed. box.

ProvenanceA distinguished Asian private collection.

Note: The production of chicken-head ewers had reached its peak in the Six Dynasties and almost disappeared after the Sui dynasty. The bigger ones like the present ewer were perfect for wine storage and smaller ones were meant to be water pots. See a closely related Southern Dynasties ewer but with a single ribbed handle excavated in Zhejiang, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Ceramic Art Unearthed in China, Beijing, 2008, vol.9, p.95; compare also with a Sui dynasty double-ribbed chicken-head ewer in the Anhui Provincial Museum collection, illustrated in ibid., vol.8, p.53; and a smaller celadon-glazed chicken-head ewer in the Metropolitan Museum collection, dated to the 3rd-4th century, illustrated by Suzanne G. Valenstein in A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, pl.2.

The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no. P106q99 is consistent with the dating of this lot.

Bonhams. GANBEI A TOAST TO CHINESE WINE CULTURE, 30 November 2022, Hong Kong, Admiralty