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Qingbai porcelain bowl with phoenixes. China, Southern Song dynasty, 1127 - 1279

A very thinly potted qingbai porcelain bowl, the deeply rounded sides rising from a tiny foot and terminating in a straight rim. The interior is impress-moulded with a design of two phoenixes in flight, separated by floral sprays, all below a border of key-frets. The bowl is covered inside and out in a transparent glaze of pale blue hue, leaving just the rim unglazed. A few traces of metal band that once protected the porcelain remain on the rim. Diameter: 4 1/4 inches, 10.8 cm - Height: 1 3/4 inches, 4.5 cm - Price on application

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Note: The impressed design of two phoenixes in flight is not uncommon on qingbai porcelain, but it is usually seen on larger, shallow bowls, such as an example in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taiwan1. The fact that the base is completely covered in glaze indicates that the bowl was fired upside-down. A bowl of similar size and shape, which was also fired upside-down is in the Avery Brundage collection at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.2

1 Pierson, S. (ed.) Qingbai Ware: Chinese Porcelain of the Song and Yuan Dynasties, Percival David Collection of Chinese Art, London, 2002, no. 18, pp. 58-9 2 Pierson, S. (ed.) op. cit. no. 10, pp 44-5

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