A rare Yue celadon owl-shaped box and cover Six dynasties | 六朝 越窰青釉鴟鴞形蓋盒
Property from the Houlezhai Collection
A rare Yue celadon owl-shaped box and cover
h. 6 cm, w. 8 cm
The box and cover are in good structural condition. There are expected nicks to the fragile extremities, some of which retouched with overpaint, including an approx. 4.2 cm. section to the edge of the cover, one loop handle and small sections of the rim of the box. There is also stabilisation to the other loop handles.
"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 Dr Carl Kempe (1884-1967), no. CK13.
Sotheby's London, 5th November 2008, lot 541 (part lot).
Bo Gyllensvärd, Chinese Ceramics in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1964, pl. 13.
Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, vol. 8, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 21.
Chinese Ceramic Treasures. A Selection from the Ulricehamn East Asian Museum, Including the Carl Kempe Collection, Ulricehamn, 2002, pl. 236.
Bo Gyllensvärd，《Chinese Ceramics in the Carl Kempe Collection》，斯德哥爾摩，1964年，圖版13
This irresistibly modelled owl vessel, its surface textured by stamping, pricking and incising, is a rare individually fashioned example from kilns in the Yue region of northern Zhejiang, which otherwise tended to produce in quantity. Gyllensvärd duly featured it in one of the very few large illustrations in his catalogue.
See a related Yue celadon 'owl' vessel and cover, attributed to the Western Jin dynasty, illustrated in Special Exhibition of Early Chinese Greenware: Principally Yueh Ware, National Museum of History, Taipei, 1996, pl. 42; it has a taller and more robust body, but the glaze is not as lustrous as the present piece. The author mentions that the 'owl' form has long been recorded in China since the Neolithic period, for example, a Yangshao culture owl-shaped pottery vessel unearthed in Shaanxi. The present 'owl' vessel possibly also draws inspiration from archaic bronze wine vessels, zun, from the Shang (16th century-c.1046 BC) and Western Zhou (c.1046-771 BC) dynasties, where owl form and motifs were common and widespread. Compare also a Yue celadon 'beast' vessel, recovered from a Westen Jin tomb dated to year 302 and now preserved in the Nanjing Museum. Both Western Jin vessels mentioned above have feet or talons applied several centimetres above the flat base, and are decorated with similar loop handles; these two particular decorative features can also be found in the present piece.
本鴞形蓋盒別緻精巧，器面挑劃羽翼紋飾，並壓印圈紋。本品獨具一格，實為浙北越窰珍罕佳作，同類器物應為數不多。瑞典學者 Bo Gyllensvärd 亦於1964年圖錄中，少見地刊載鴞形蓋盒的大型插圖。