Jars painted with this motif are highly unusual and no other closely related example appears to have been published. A larger jar painted and incised with geese and with an additional band of scattered petals, in the Shanghai Museum, is illustrated in Shanghai Hakubutsukan [Shanghai Museum], Tokyo, 1976, pl. 101; one from the collection of Frederick Knight was sold twice in our London rooms, 15th April 1980, lot 151, and 19th June 1984, lot 181; and another unearthed at the Pengcheng kilns, Henan province, and now in the Handan Museum, is illustrated in Cizhou yao gu ci [Ancient Ceramics of Cizhou], Xi’an, 2004, pl. 124. See also a larger jar painted and incised with phoenix from the Avery Brundage Collection in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, included in the exhibition Freedom of Clay and Brush through Seven Centuries in Northern China, op. cit., cat. no. 91, depicted together with further phoenix jars, figs 251-254 and 257: the first recovered from a Yuan storage cellar in Liangxiang near Beijing, the second held in a collection in Japan, the third in the Musée Cernuschi, Paris, the fourth excavated from Chuzhou county in Hebei province, and the fifth in a private Japanese collection.
The lively and painterly rendering of the birds on this piece is comparable to painted Jizhou wares. See for example a Jizhou meiping painted with a similar design, included in the exhibition Song Yuan shidai de Jizhou yao ciqi [Song and Yuan ceramics from the Jizhou kilns], Shenzhen Museum, Shenzhen, 2012, cat. no. 52, together with a pear-shaped example, cat. no. 51; and a reconstructed pear-shaped vase recovered from the Jizhou kiln site in Ji’an, Jiangxi province, illustrated in Jizhou yao [Jizhou ware], Beijing, 2007, p. 11 (bottom right).
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