A russet-painted black-glazed pear-shaped bottle (yuhuchun ping)

金至元 十三至十四世紀早期    黑釉醬彩花卉紋玉壺春瓶

The bottle is superbly potted, with a pear-shaped body rising to a slightly waisted neck and a rolled rim. The sides are deftly painted in russet-coloured slip on each side with a large open hibiscus-like bloom, with two curled petals and a long central stamen, set against the lustrous very dark-brown ground. The underside of the base is similarly applied with a very dark brown glaze, leaving the broad bevelled footrim unglazed, showing the fine grey ware.

Property of a Japanese private collector, purchased in the 1990s

Bottles of this kind are well represented in museum collections but have always presented a slight mystery as to their exact origin and date. For a detailed discussion, see Robert D. Mowry, Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers, pp. 159-161, where he also illustrates a related bottle, no. 52. For another example of a bottle of this type, dated to the Yuan dynasty and attributed to the Lüliang area kilns, Shanxi, see the Shenzhen Museum exhibition catalogue Xuan Se Zhi Mei, “The Beauty of Black”, no.138, p. 188, where the authors also illustrate, p. 189, a mural painting from Hongyucun Xing county, Shanxi, showing a servant pouring a light-coloured liquid, presumably wine, from a brown pear-shaped bottle into a white basin, with a white pear-shaped bottle standing to one side. The mural is dated to the second year of the Zhida reign period of the Yuan dynasty, corresponding to 1309.


Dimensions: Height: 29.7 cm, 11 ⅞ inches

Date: Jin or Yuan dynasty, 13th or early 14th century

Stock No. 2234

Price: On Request