Sotheby's New York, 20th March 2002, lot 113.
Collection of Francisco Capelo.
'Longquan' vases of this type are described by Julian Thompson, 'Chinese Celadons', Arts of Asia, November-December 1993, p. 62, as belonging to the finest 'Longquan' celadon vessels recorded. The glaze of this vase is a lustrous bluish-green and the modelling of the dragon coiled around the vessel is powerful and lively. The bird on the cover also appears animated with its head lifted alert to attention and wings slightly lifted to suggest imminent movement.
Compare vases of similar form and decoration, such as one from the Avery Brundage collection in the Asia Art Museum, San Francisco, published in Mary Treagar, Song Ceramics, New York, 1982, pl. 286; another included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Tokyo National Museum. Chinese Ceramics, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1988, pl. 509; one excavated in Longquan and now in the Wenzhou Museum, included in Zhu Baiqian, Celadons from Longquan Kilns, Taipei, 1998, pl. 105. A related vase, from the collection of Stephen D. Winkworth, was sold in these rooms, 25th April 1933, lot 92; and another, included in the exhibition Decouverte de L'Asie, Hommage a Rene Grousset, Musee Cernuschi, Paris, 1954, was sold in these rooms, 1st July 1969, lot 120.It is thought that funerary jars of this type were made in pairs, one bearing the 'green dragon' of the East and the other the 'white' tiger of the West. A pair from the Sir Percival David collection, and now in the British Museum, London, is illustrated in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Celadon Wares, London, 1977, pl. IV, no. 36, where Medley notes that these vases may have been filled with aromatic oils and then placed next to the deceased whose head would have faced the north.
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