The spontaneous splashes applied on this piece are often referred to as ‘partridge-feather mottles’, or zhegu ban, a term mentioned in various texts from the mid-10th century onwards. In the catalogue for the exhibition Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers. Chinese Brown- and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-1400, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 1995, p. 139, Robert Mowry notes that these irregular splashes were probably inspired by black-glazed wares with fine splashes made at Ding and Cizhou-type kilns. Compare for example a Ding conical bowl, from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, included in ibid., cat. no. 16.
A closely related vase in the British Museum, London, is published in R.L. Hobson, A Guide to the Pottery & Porcelain of the Far East, London, 1924, pl. 32; another in the Cleveland Museum of Art, accession no. 1940.51; and one of more elongated form, in the Art Institute of Chicago, included in Hare’s Fur, Tortoise Shell, and Partridge Feathers, op cit., cat. no. 35. See also a jar of this form but with a pattern of russet florets, from the Yang De Tang Collection, sold in these rooms, 17th March 2015, pl. 77.
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