R. & V. Tregaskis Oriental Antiques Ltd., Sydney.
Bowls of this shallow form and decoration are rare and only one other example appears to have been published, in the Sir Percival David Collection in the British Museum, London, included in the exhibition Imperial Taste. Chinese Ceramics from the Percival David Foundation, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1989, cat. no. 3. A shard from a bowl with the same design of phoenixes, excavated at the Yue kilns in Zhejiang province, was included in the exhibition Kiln Sites of Ancient China. Recent Finds of Pottery and Porcelain, British Museum, London, 1980, cat. no. 52.
The form and decoration of this piece appears to have been inspired by Tang dynasty gold and silver vessels. The broad overlapping lotus leaves on the exterior and the splayed foot are reminiscent of bowls such as a gold bowl excavated in 1970 at Hejiacun, Xi'an, Shaangxi province, illustrated in National Treasure Collection of Rare Cultural Relics of Shaanxi Province, Xi'an, 1998, p. 25; while the linear style of the finely incised birds is associated with the engraved phoenixes, as seen on the interior of a silver bowl, ibid, p. 27.This bowl belongs to the fine group of 'Yue' wares produced during the 9th and 10th centuries, which are characterised by their delicate potting and exquisite jade-like glazes known as mise ('secret colour') wares. These wares were celebrated in Chinese literature and sent as tribute to the Tang court and included in imperial donations to Buddhist temples at the time.
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