A Japanese Collection.
Collection of Francisco Capelo.
The present 'Jun' tripod censer, with its thick luminous glaze and restrained use of brilliant purple splashes, is a fine example of its type. Wares from the typesite Juntai in Yu county, Henan province, an area formerly known as Junzhou, are remarkable for their luscious thick glaze of intense colouration which can vary from light to deep turquoise blue. In the early twelfth century potters began applying splashes of deep purplish-red derived from copper to the glaze before firing, resulting in patches of purple, lavender and tones of deep blue on the primary milky-blue glaze. As seen on this censer, such splashes added a flamboyant effect to the piece, often with a strong calligraphic quality which had an immense appeal to the literati and nobility of the time.
A censer of related form and size, but profusely splashed with brilliant tones of purple, from the Muwen Tang collection and included in the exhibition Song Ceramics from the Kwan Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1994, cat. no. 42, was sold at Christie's London, 8th June 1987, lot 49, and again in these rooms, 12th November 2003, lot 49. A slightly larger example is illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. 1, Geneva, 1968, pl. A37; another from the Dexingshuwu collection, was sold in our New York rooms, 18th March 2008, lot 90; and a third example from the Schoenlicht collection, is published in H.F.E. Visser, Asiatic Art in Private Collecions of Holland and Belgium, Amsterdam, 1947, pl. 232. Compare also a larger censer of this form, glazed with a deep purple on the body and feet, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, cat. no. 394.This censer derives from the archaic bronze liding, a ritual vessel used from the Shang to the Han dynasties (16th century BC-220 AD) and reflects the interest in antiquity amongst members of the educated elite. The literati of the day formed collections of ancient bronzes, which were used only on special occasions to prevent them from wear and damage; thus, contemporary vessels of bronze and ceramic based on antique models were commissioned.
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