The Eugene and Elva Bernat white-glazed ‘Amphora’ vase Tang dynasty | 唐 白釉雙龍耳瓶
Property from a French private collection
The Eugene and Elva Bernat white-glazed ‘Amphora’ vase
elegantly potted, the slightly splayed foot swelling to high, rounded shoulders surmounted by a tall waisted neck molded with three raised rings and an everted galleried rim applied on each side with a molded florette, further florettes applied to the shoulder, surmounted by two curved double-strap handles applied with three studded bosses, terminating in dragon-head terminals biting the rim, covered overall with a finely crackled translucent glaze of pale yellowish tint stopping unevenly above the base to reveal the fine buff body
H. 42.5 cm, 16¾ in.
Le vase 'Amphore' à glaçure blanche de la collection Eugene et Elva Bernat, dynastie Tang
高 42.5 公分， 16¾英寸
The vase is in overall good condition with only an old area of touch up showing under UV on the curling horns of one of the two dragon handles. The handles appear to be intact otherwise and there are only a few expected minor original nicks to some edges of the appliqué leaves and typical decay in area to the glaze. The base is very smooth and might have been lightly polished. There is a crackle running across the base, possibly original to the firing and a few other crackles around the lower part of the vase which appear also original to the firing. The vase is overall very nice.
"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."
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Bernat (1896-1982).
Sotheby’s New York, 7th November 1980, lot 54.
Christie’s New York, 4th June 1987, lot 156.
Early Chinese Ceramics, Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire, 1959, no. 51.
Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, on loan, prior to 1980.
Early Chinese Ceramics，Currier Gallery of Art，新罕布夏州曼徹斯特，1959年，編號 51
Tang amphorae of this flamboyant form, with freely modeled dragon heads, are among the most characteristic vessel forms of the early Tang dynasty and reflect the international spirit of the period. Their form was inspired by Hellenistic glass vases made in the Roman Empire whose style reached China via the Silk Route, where it was modified by the addition of dragon heads. One of the rare extant Roman glass vessels of this form, which is based on Greek pottery vessels, is the famous amphora found in Olbia on Sardinia, Italy, which can be dated to the 2nd half of the 2nd century AD, and is now on display in the Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany (fig. 1, 59.6 cm tall, cover replaced).
While this form was frequently reproduced in China, the present piece is remarkable for its harmonious proportions, its applications around the shoulder and the raised ribs around its neck. An amphora with related applications and grooved ribs on the neck is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quanji. Jin Tang ciqi/The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelain of the Jin and Tang Dynasties, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 159, where it is noted how rare it is to find such amphorae with applied motifs.
White stoneware pieces of this type can be attributed to the Gongyi kilns in Henan province. Several white dragon-handled amphorae without applications are included in Zhongguo gu ciyao daxi. Zhongguo Gongyi yao/Series of China’s Ancient Porcelain Kiln Sites. Gongyi Kiln of China, Beijing, 2011, where it is suggested, pp. 325f., that pieces with long neck are predating pieces with short neck, and a colour-glazed example of very similar proportions, excavated from a tomb at Guanlin, Luoyang, illustrated fig. 4: 6, is attributed to the period of 618 – c. 690; several white pieces excavated from Tang tombs in the Gongyi region, fragments of similar dragon-head handles from the Baihe kiln site in Gongyi, and one further example from the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, are illustrated, ibid., pp. 97-99; p. 262; p. 270, figs 7 and 8; p. 282, fig. 3; p. 309, fig. 16; and p. 413.
此款雙龍耳瓶華美瑰麗，龍首造型生動自由，乃唐初經典器型，反映此時期中外交流之國際精神。此瓶器型靈感來自中亞西部希臘化時期、製於羅馬帝國之玻璃器，或沿絲路傳入中土，再演變為瓶耳帶龍首之造型。而此款羅馬玻璃雙耳瓶，又源自希臘陶罐，現存一著名作例，意大利撒丁島奧爾比亞出土，或斷代公元後二世紀下半葉，現藏於德國柏林Altes Museum（圖1， 59.6公分高，非原蓋）。
此款白釉器，見於河南鞏義窰。比較數白釉雙龍耳作例，無貼花，載於《中國古瓷窰大系：中國鞏義窰》，北京，2011年，作者論述（頁325f），瓶頸較長者比頸較短者時期更早，洛陽關林出土一彩釉例，比例與本品非常相近，圖4: 6，斷代618年至大約690年間；另比數白釉例，鞏義附近唐代古墓出土；相近龍耳破片，見於鞏義白河窰，北京故宮博物院亦藏一例，前述出處，頁97-99；頁262；頁270，圖 7 及8；頁282，圖3；頁309，圖16；頁413。