A pair of 'Jizhou' resist-decorated 'prunus' bottle vases, Southern Song-Yuan dynasty, 13th-14th century



Lot 850. A pair of 'Jizhou' resist-decorated 'prunus' bottle vases, Southern Song-Yuan dynasty, 13th-14th century; Each: 8 in. (20.3 cm.) high, cloth boxEstimate USD 25,000 – USD 35,000. Price Realised USD 25,200. © Christie's 2023

Each pear-shaped vase is covered in a dark brown glaze and is decorated with two prunus sprigs in wax-resist technique with painted details and branches carved through the glaze.

Provenance: J. J. Lally & Co., New York, no. 4620a-b.

NoteFor a similar vase of slightly more squat shape from the Scheinman Collection, see R. Mowry, Hare's Fur, Tortoiseshell, Partridge Feathers, Cambridge, 1996, no. 102, where the author discusses the method of decoration on wares of this type, pp. 251-2. Another similar Jizhou ‘prunus’ vase is illustrated by H. Tseng and Dart in The Charles B. Hoyt Collection in the Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, Boston, 1972, no. 129. A further similar vase in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford is illustrated by J. Wirgin, ‘Sung Ceramic Wares from Chi-Chou’ in the Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Art, Stockholm, No. 34, 1962, pl. 8b.

A Jizhou leaf-decorated tea bowl, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)



Lot 851. A Jizhou leaf-decorated tea bowl, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279); 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm.) diam., brocade boxEstimate USD 60,000 – USD 80,000. Price Realised USD 630,000. © Christie's 2023

The conical bowl is decorated on the interior with the purplish-brown and light-buff gossamer imprint of a large leaf against the dark-brown glaze, which thins to an amber color at the rim and ends above the foot.

Provenance: J. J. Lally & Co., New York, no. 4490.

NoteLeaf-decorated tea bowls, referred to in Chinese as muye wenyang wan or shuye tuyang wan (‘tree-leaf-pattern bowls’), are the most famous products of the Jizhou kilns and among the most celebrated of all ceramics made for tea use. The design was created by affixing a leaf to the interior of a bowl and then immersing the bowl in the dark brown glaze slurry. When fired in the kiln, chemical reactions stripped the leaf of its dark brown color, creating a ghostly impression of the leaf structure, typically golden amber or pale yellow in color. For further discussion of the processes involved in producing leaf decoration and for two examples of bowls decorated in this manner, the first from the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago and the second from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, see R. Mowry, Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996, pp. 259-62, nos. 107 and 108.

A bowl of this type from the Ataka Collection, classified as an Important Cultural Property of Japan, is in The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, and illustrated by G. Hasebe, Ceramic Art of the World, Sung Dynasty, Tokyo, 1977, vol. 12, pp. 109-10, figs. 107-8. Another comparable bowl is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World’s Great Collections, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, 1980, vol. 1, no. 94. See, also, the very similar example from the Yangdetang Collection, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30 November 2016, lot 3162.

The result of C-Link Research and Development Ltd. thermoluminescence test no. 2649WG19 is consistent with the dating of this lot.

Christie's. J. J. Lally & Co., New York, 23.03.2023