AN EXCEPTIONAL AND LARGE JUNYAO LAVENDER-GLAZED NARCISSUS BOWL EARLY MING DYNASTY | 明初 鈞窰天藍釉鼓釘三足水仙盆 底刻「二」字
5,000,000 to - 7,000,000 HKD
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT ASIAN COLLECTION 亞洲重要私人收藏
5,000,000 to - 7,000,000 HKD
Property from an Important Asian Collection
AN EXCEPTIONAL AND LARGE JUNYAO LAVENDER-GLAZED NARCISSUS BOWL
EARLY MING DYNASTY
with shallow rounded sides curving down to a flat base supported on three gently flaring ruyi-shaped feet, the rim bordered with a band enclosing evenly spaced rounded studs between two narrow raised ribs, above a further band of studs above the feet, applied overall save for the base with a rich and mottled lavender-blue glaze thinning to a mushroom tone at the raised edges, the feet and base covered with a wash of olive-mushroom glaze, the latter further incised with a character er (two), surrounded by near circular spur marks revealing the pale buff stoneware body
24.3 cm, 9 ⅝ in.
The narcissus bowl is in good overall condition with expected light surface scratches. There are occasional minute glaze flakes to the rim and round studs.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Robert Kleiner, London.
This form of this narcissus bowl, also known as ‘drum nail’ basins, belongs to a distinct group of flower receptacles known as ‘numbered Jun’ wares, mostly made in moulds and generally inscribed on the base with numerals from one to ten that seem to correspond to the size of the vessels. This type radiates the essence of Jun ware which derived its beauty from their robust forms which were coated in a contrasting luminous thick glaze of varied purplish-blue colouration that becomes almost transparent around the edges of the vessel where the glaze thins significantly. On the present bowl the glossy glaze is reminiscent of the deep blue ocean, infused with the characteristic markings that have become known as ‘earthworm tracks'. Highly prized throughout Chinese dynastic history since their production, these striking vessels were produced in a variety of proportions and glaze colours and are found in some of the most important museums and private collections of Chinese art. The dating of these wares has been long debated and continues to divide opinions between a Northern Song (960-1127), late Yuan (1279-1368) and early Ming (1368-1644) attribution. The Northern Song date, adhered to by many eminent Chinese scholars, was supported by a surface find near the kiln sites of a mould fragment for coins bearing the Xuanhe reign name (1119-1125), made of Jun ware clay. However, at scholarly conferences on the subject in Yuzhou in 2005 and in Shenzhen in 2006, the date of the coin mould itself came under scrutiny and was basically discredited, since it was shown not to be a mould for actual coins of that period and to bear a spurious reign mark of an even earlier period on the reverse. Scientific tests of sherds undertaken by the Shanghai Museum have pointed to a late Yuan or early Ming date. A newly discovered Jun ewer very similar in shape to a gold ewer from the tomb of King Zhuang of Liang, buried in 1441, has also been offered as evidence for a later dating.
Since a large body of such Junyao wares remains in the Chinese imperial collection both in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, and the Palace Museum, Beijing, often inscribed after firing with the names of Palace halls, a Yuan date seems less likely, as virtually no Yuan ceramics formed part of the Qing court collection. The production of these flower vessels fits better into the early Ming dynasty, and they may well have been officially commissioned for the newly built imperial palace in Beijing in the Yongle period (1403-1424). Furthermore, these vessels do not appear in any pre-Ming text or painting, and their form is similar to early Ming celadon-glazed flower vessels, such as one included in the exhibition Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, cat. no. 39.
A slightly smaller bowl with the numeral er (two), but the exterior covered in a purple glaze, is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Selection of Jun Ware. The Palace Museum's Collection and Archaeological Excavation, Beijing, 2013, pl. 94, together with a lavender-blue glazed bowl with the numeral yi (one) and designated to be used at Zhangchun shuwu, Yangxindian, pl. 115. See also related bowls from the Qing court collection and now preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, published in A Panorama of Ceramics in the Collection of the National Palace Museum: Chun Ware, Taipei, 1999, for examples, a slightly smaller purple-glazed example also with the numeral er (two), pl. 31, and similar lavender-blue glazed narcissus bowls of different sizes, pls 27, 28, 30, 34 and 35. A further blue-glazed example can be found in the Idemitsu collection, Tokyo, illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, pl. 104; and fragments of what appears to be a smaller vessel is included in the National Museum of History publication The Ancient Kilns of Henan Province, Taipei, 2002, p. 196.
A lavender-blue glazed narcissus bowl with the numeral si (four), from the Reach Family Collection and the collection of Dr W. Kilgenberg, Bonn, was included in the exhibition Chinese Art from the Reach Family Collection, Eskenazi, London, 1989, cat. no. 24, and last sold in our London rooms, 11th November 2015, lot 81. A further lavender-blue glazed bowl from the collections of Harcourt Jonhstone and Enid and Brodie Lodge was sold in our London rooms in 1940 and 1972 and again in these rooms, 30th April 1996, lot 306. Compare also a smaller bowl with the numeral san (three) from the T.Y. Chao collection, sold in these rooms, 19th May 1987, lot 210; and a much smaller vessel inscribed with the numeral jiu (nine) but covered with a closely related brilliant blue glaze, from the J.M. Hu Family collection, sold in our New York rooms, 26th March 1996, lot 154.
參考 W. Kilgenberg 博士及 Reach 家族舊藏「四」字天藍釉例，展於《Chinese Art from the Reach Family Collection》，埃斯卡納齊，倫敦，1989年，編號24，多次在拍賣場上易手，最後一回為倫敦蘇富比2015年11月11日，編號81。另見 Harcourt Jonhstone 與
Enid and Brodie Lodge 伉儷遞藏之天藍釉盆，先後於1940及1972年在倫敦蘇富比易手，1996年4月30日又在於香港蘇富比拍出，編號306。再參考趙從衍典藏天藍釉例，盆徑較短，售於香港蘇富比1987年5月19日，編號210，還有胡惠春家族舊藏尺寸更小之藍釉「九」字款例，售於紐約蘇富比1996年3月26日，編號154。