Lot 3085
  • 3085


2,000,000 - 3,000,000 HKD
5,935,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • 29.1 cm, 11 3/8  in.
robustly potted with an ovoid body rising from a gently spreading foot to a broad round shoulder surmounted by a constricted neck and carinated mouth, the exterior covered evenly with a pale sky-blue glaze with speckles and thinning to a mushroom colour along the raised edges, including the rim and the protruding ridge along the neck, the glaze stopping neatly around the foot and unglazed footring to reveal the grey stoneware body burnt orange in the firing, the base similarly applied with a thick sky-blue glaze

Catalogue Note

Elegantly modelled with broad shoulders and a narrow mouth, this vase is remarkable for its rich and thick milky-blue glaze, which covers the vessel almost entirely. This type of glaze was made primarily around Linru, near Luoyang, and at Shenhou, Yuxian, in Henan province from the Northern Song dynasty onwards and has been historically classified as one of the ‘Five Great Wares of the Song dynasty’. Vases are a relatively rare product of these kilns, as the sturdy body and thick glaze of these wares were more suitable for open-shaped vessels, such as bowls and dishes. This visually striking glaze has attracted much attention among scholars and connoisseurs of Chinese art, and its chemical composition has been thoroughly studied. The opalescence of Jun glaze results from the formation of lime-rich glass bubbles, which during firing mix with the silica-rich glaze, known as liquid-liquid separation. Wares had to be fired at high temperatures for a prolonged period of time in order for this chemical process to take place. A slow cooling process was also required to successfully create this glaze.

A meiping of similar form in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Selection of Jun Wares. The Palace Museum’s Collection and Archaeological Excavation, Beijing, 2013, pl. 1; a slightly larger one, from the collections of Lord Cunliffe and Frederick Knight, and the Meiyintang collection, included in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, pl. 380, was sold in these rooms, 18th May 1982, lot 16, and again, 15th November 1988, lot 106; and another with a reduced neck, in the Reemtsma collection, was included in the exhibition Tausend Jahre Chinesische Keramik, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, 1974, cat. no. 53. A larger meiping of slightly more elongated form excavated from Sanjiazixiang in Jianping county, Liaoning province, and now in the Liaoning Provincial Museum, Shenyang, is illustrated in Zhongguo gu taoci quanji [The complete works of Chinese ceramics], Shanghai, 2000, vol. 7, pl. 183; and another from the Alfred Shoenlicht collection, the Calmann collection and now in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World’s Great Collections, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, col. pl. 72, was sold in our London rooms, 13th December 1955, lot 80. 

Vases of this form continued to be made in the Yuan dynasty, although they often feature bright purple splashes. A purple-splashed meiping attributed to the Yuan period and modelled with a slightly flared foot, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in A Panorama of Ceramics in the Collection of the National Palace Museum: Chün Ware, Taipei, 1999, pl. 109; and another from the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan, now in the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, was included in the exhibition Chūgoku tōji meihin ten [Famous pieces of Chinese pottery and porcelain], Tokyo, 1983, cat. no. 35.