An important Dengfeng sgraffiato flower vessel

北宋早期   登封窯剔刻花卉紋花罐

The vase is of upright ovoid form with a wide mouth supported  on a low splayed foot. The sides are deeply carved in sgraffiato  technique through a thick layer of slip to the ground beneath  with a bold design of a globular peony-like flower with multiple  petals and swiftly scored veining, borne on a fleshy stem with  two large arrow-head shaped leaves, similarly striated with
veining. The shoulders are encircled by a border of pendent  arc-shaped elements incised with spirals, separated by  lens-like shapes, below a shallow collar around the mouth.  The carved-away areas of decoration are applied with a dark  dressing beneath a layer of clear glaze. Unglazed slip covers  the lower part of the body and the underside of the base,  leaving the well made stout footrim clear, showing the grey  ware burnt to a light brown colour in the firing.

The sgraffiato wares of the late Five Dynasties and  early Northern Song periods, as exemplified by the  wares made at the Dengfeng kilns, like the present  vase, represent the high point in the history of carved  Chinese ceramic wares, displaying a barely controlled  energy that comes with the enthusiatic exploitation  of a novel technique. 

The wide-mouthed upright form of the present vase 
is rare, and appears only to have been made by kilns  of the Cizhou family, of which Dengfeng is one.   For a closely comparable, though slightly more  cylindrical, example excavated in 1999 from a Song  dynasty tomb, see Complete Collection of Ceramic  Art Unearthed in China 12: Henan, p. 141

Dimensions: Height: 17.2 cm, 6 ¾ inches

Date: Dengfeng kilns, Early Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), 10th/11th century

Stock No. 929

Price: On Request