A very rare Dingyao hibiscus-shaped libation cup

五代至北宋 十世紀   定窯白瓷芙蓉花盞

The cup is of delicately potted rounded five-petalled form, with each petal of  barbed and lobed shape. In the centre of the flower is modelled the conical pistil, with a circular collar, and from this radiate sinuous incised lines indicating veining and the divisions between petals. The exterior has a short section of stem protruding from the centre, with radiating double lines corresponding to the petal divisions, reaching to the unglazed rim shortly below which is a single incised line border. A glaze of pure white colour  covers the cup inside and out, thickening slightly on the exterior below the rim suggesting the cup was fired upside-down, and leaving the rim
unglazed, showing the fine white ware. From the form of the cup, lacking a foot and with a short protruding section of stem on the exterior preventing level placement, it is reasonable to conclude that it was part of a set with a stand, now missing. No such cup, or stand, appears to have been published.

For a small Dingyao dish from the Dr Carl Kempe collection, of comparable quality and having some similar characteristics, see “Early Chinese White, Green and Black Wares”, Sotheby’s London, 14th May 2008, lot 243.  For a silver hibiscus-shaped cup, of double-petalled form, together with its stand, see The Discovery and Research on Gold and Silver Wares Unearthed From Caches of Song and Yuan Dynasties in Hunan, figs. 2-5.2, 2-5.3, p. 348,  here the author discusses in detail the nomenclature and usage of cups and cupstands from this period, pp. 344-365. For a plain silver footless cup with a scalloped rim reminiscent of the present cup, see ibid., p. 244, p. 127.

Dimensions: Diameter: 8.7 cm, 3 ½ inches

Date: Five Dynasties or early Northern Song dynasty, 10th century

Stock No. 2253

Price: On Request