A Hebei whiteware guan-marked shallow bowl

五代或北宋,十世紀   河北白瓷‘官’字款盌

The bowl is delicately potted with widely flared, almost conical sides springing from a broad, low, straight foot with neatly bevelled footrim of narrow cross-section. A clear glaze of paper-white tone, pooling to elongated “tear-drops” of ivory color in places on the exterior, covers the bowl apart from on the footrim which shows the fine-grained white ware.  A large guan character (in Chinese – meaning “official”) is incised on the underside of the base, with round edges to the incising showing that it was executed before the glaze was fired.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 'A Private Japanese Collection of Early Ceramics', 24-25th November 2014, lot 1027

Although we cannot be completely certain, it is likely that the present bowl was made in the Ding kilns in Quyang, Hebei. The “tear-drop” marks on the exterior and the “guan” mark, which appears with some regularity on early high-quality Ding wares from the late Tang period, both suggest a Ding attribution, but certainty will require further research. A rather similar case is that of the fine whiteware shallow bowl, of similar proportions to the present one but slightly larger, that was excavated from the royal Wu-Yue tomb of Qian Kuan and his wife, Lady Shuiqiu at Lin’an in Zhejiang. The bowl bears a “xin guan” mark – a type closely related to the guan mark - but given the location of the discovery in Zhejiang there remains local reluctance to accept its Ding origin. The bowl is illustrated in Wu Hua Tian Bao. Wu Yue Guo Chutu Wenwu Jingcui, 'Heavenly Treasure: The Quintessence of Things. Highlights of cultural relics excavated from the Kingdom of Wu Yue', p. 80,  no. 36.3

Dimensions: Diameter: 15.6 cm, 6 ⅛ inches

Date: Five Dynasties (907-960) or early Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), 10th century

Stock No. 2067

Price: On Request