A RARE SANCAI-GLAZED 'PHOENIX' EWER, TANG DYNASTY
The finely potted body of elegant ovoid form, supported on a splayed foot, the sides molded in relief
China, Song dynasty (13th century)
With cartouches bordered with flowers, centered with a prancing phoenix to one side and a hunter on horseback to the other, below a long curved handle terminating in the head of a ferocious phoenix, surmounted by a short neck and an oval straight rim, covered with amber, cream, blue and green glazes.
Similar examples to the present, with the imported cobalt-blue pigment combined with amber glazes, include one from the Ernest S. Heller and Stanley Herzman collections, illustrated in Suzanne Valenstein, The Herzman Collection of Chinese Ceramics, Hong Kong, 1992, pl. 6, sold at Sotheby’s London, 6th November 1981, lot 161, and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; another in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated in He Li, Chinese Ceramics, 1996, pl. 166; and a third ewer, from the Szeyuan Tang collection, sold at Sotheby’s London, 21st September 2005, lot 16.
Margaret Medley in ‘Metalwork and Chinese Ceramics’, PDF Monograph Series, no. 2, p. 4, discusses the far-reaching effect on Chinese culture of the opening of diplomatic relations between the Chinese Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty and the Sassanian Persians in the late 6th century, and the remarkable results on ceramics. She illustrates a phoenix ewer of this pattern, pl. 3b, together with other Chinese pottery bird-headed ewers, pl. 3a, 2a and 1b, and a Sassanian silver ewer, pl. 1a. Ewers of this type appear to have been slung from the hump of laden camels, as seen with the animal excavated from a tomb at Guanlin, illustrated in Luoyang Tang sancai [Tang sancai ware from Luoyang], Beijing, 1980, pl. 80.
Weight: 1264 grams
Dimensions: 29.3 cm height
Condition: Firing cracks to base, two nicks to foot rim, few minuscule glaze flakes, old wear, a piece of 2.9 x 1.3 cm to lip broken off and re-stuck, two small holes drilled to base for TL testing, no restoration whatsoever
Provenance: Austrian private collection.
A thermoluminescence test confirms the dating of this lot. The TL-Test VHTL P1218 dated Nov 14, 2018, conducted at the laboratories of the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, determines 1430 AD as the dating of this of this lot, with a spread of +/- 220 years. This means that this ewer was fired at some point between 1210 AD and 1650 AD, setting it somewhere in the Song (960 - 1279), Yuan (1279 - 1368) or earlier Ming (1368-1644) dynasties. Given that Sancai wares of this type were produced from the late Tang dynasty (9th to early 10th century) through the Liao dynasty (907Â–1125) well into the Song dynasty (12th - 13th century), it is this authors opinion that this ewer dates to the Song dynasty (13th century).This test will be given to the winning bidder after full payment has been made.
Auction result comparison: IMPORTANT CHINESE ART. Sotheby’s, 9 NOVEMBER 2016, LONDON, lot 103. (for a similar ewer)
與此執壺相似的另一件鳳首執壺采用來自中東的鈷藍料，另施琥珀色釉以及Ernest S. Heller 與 Stanley Herzman舊藏一件類例，出版于 Suzanne Valenstein, 《The Herzman Collection of Chinese Ceramics》，香港 香港，1992年，圖版6，售於倫敦蘇富比1981年11月6日，編號161，現藏紐約大都會博物館；另一例出自三藩市亞洲藝術博物館，見賀利，《Chinese Ceramics》， 1996年，圖版166；第三例屬思源堂珍藏，售於倫敦蘇富比2005年9月21日，編號16。
學者Margaret Medley在《Metalwork and Chinese Ceramics》PDF系列，2號，頁4中論述：隋煬帝與波斯薩珊王朝公元六世紀晚期建交，對後市陶瓷發展影響深遠。書中載錄一件鳳首執壺，紋飾與本品相同，圖版3b，幾件陶鳥首執壺，圖版3a、2a及1b，一件薩珊銀執壺，圖版1a。此類執壺，或為行旅所用，掛於駝峰上，可參考關林發掘之墓葬出土一件駱駝塑像，《洛陽唐三彩》，北京，1980年，圖版80。
尺寸：高 29.3 厘米
品相：燒製裂紋直達底足，圈足部位兩道刻痕，一些釉面開片，老磨損。壺唇一段 2.9 x 1.3 厘米被折斷又重新卡住，兩個因爲做熱釋光測試的小洞，沒有修補
拍賣結果比較：IMPORTANT CHINESE ART. Sotheby’s, 9 NOVEMBER 2016, LONDON, lot 103. (一個近似的執壺)