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A small 'longquan' mallet vase. Song dynasty

the slightly tapering cylindrical body rising from a recessed base to an angled shoulder and cylindrical neck with a broad dished mouth, set at the neck with a pair of stylised phoenix handles and covered overall in a thick soft bluish-green glaze. 16.3cm., 6 3/8 in. Est. 25,000—30,000 GBP

PROVENANCE : Christie's Hong Kong, 30th October 2001, lot 777.

NOTE : The present vase is unusual for its small size, although a closely related example was sold in our New York rooms, 19th March 2007, lot 142; a slightly smaller vase in the Meiyintang collection is illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyingtang Collection, vol. 1, 1994, pl. 572; and another was sold in these rooms, 8th June 1993, lot 37. Compare also larger examples; such as the piece illustrated in Longquan Celadon of China, Hangzhou, 1998, p. 83; another in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, included in the exhibition catalogue Ice and Green Clouds. Traditions of Chinese Celadon, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, 1986, cat. no. 78, together with several comparable examples from other major Japanese museums, pls 78a-78h; and another sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 31st October 1994, lot 530.

Related mallet vases of various sizes with phoenix and fish handles were recovered from a ship wrecked off the Korean coast of Sinan in or shortly after 1323 AD; see examples included in the Special Exhibition of Cultural Relics Found off Sinan Coast, National Museum of Korea, Seoul, 1977, cat. nos 4-7.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. 13 May 09. London.  www.sothebys.com photo courtesy Sotheby's