A very rare Yueyao iron-decorated ‘chicken-head’ ewer, Five Dynasties. Estimate HK$ 400,000 – 600,000 (€41,000 – 61,000). Photo Bonhams.
The globular body with a short neck rising to a cup-shaped mouth, the sides with a curved handle opposite a short chicken-head spout, between a pair of small loop handles at the shoulder, covered overall with a grey-green glaze with brown iron-spots. 15.5cm high
Notes: Yueyao ewers of this form and type were popular in the earlier Eastern Jin Dynasty, with several examples excavated from tombs in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province and subsequently published in Wenwu 1972, p.37, fig.15; 1998:5, p.8, fig.12 and 13. A related ewer covered in a buff-green glaze, in the Yale University Art Gallery, and another with a bluish-green glaze in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, are both illustrated in Chinese Ceramics, From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty, Yale University Press New Haven, 2010, p.181, fig.4.21 and 4.22. Another Eastern Jin related example was sold at Christie’s New York, 20 September 2005, lot 168.
These vessels, distinctive for the chicken-headed spouts and compressed globular bodies, were originally modelled after metal prototypes. While several of the above examples are decorated with iron-spots to the tips of the spouts and handles, those with iron-spot decoration that simulates beaded chains are much rarer. Compare a ewer of the same form, with similar iron-spot decoration, illustrated in Zhongguo mei shu fen lei quan ji: The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics Vol.4, Shanghai, 2000, no.148.
Bonhams. THE FENG WEN TANG COLLECTION OF EARLY CHINESE CERAMICS, 9 Oct 2014 10:00 HKT. HONG KONG, ADMIRALTY