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AUA Oriental Art

Longquan Celadon 'Dragon' Jar and Cover, Song Dynasty

Longquan Celadon 'Dragon' Jar and Cover, Song Dynasty

Regular price $15,900.00 USD
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A similar jar with a cover, part of the Avery Brundage collection at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, is featured in Mary Tregear's "Song Ceramics" (London, 1982, plate 286). There's also a comparable jar and cover at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, part of the "Beauty and Tranquillity: the Eli Lilly Collection of Chinese Art" exhibition (1983, plate 78). Another jar of a similar dimension, featuring a domed cover topped with a bird figure, from Warren E. Cox's collection, was included in the "Chinese Ceramics in Chicago Collections" exhibition at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1982, page 35, catalog number 19). 

These funerary jars are believed to have been produced in pairs, one depicting the 'Green Dragon' of the East and its counterpart showing the 'White Tiger' of the West. A notable pair from the Sir Percival David collection, now in the British Museum in London, is mentioned in Margaret Medley's "Illustrated Catalogue of Celadon Wares" (London, 1977, plate IV, number 36), where she suggests that these jars might have been used to hold fragrant oils.


Period : Song Dynasty
Type : Celadon
Medium : Longquan ware
Size : 23.0 cm(Height) 6.0cm(Diameter)
Provenance : Acquired in 1999, Hongkong
Reference :
1) LACMA - Lidded Funerary Urn (Hu) with Bird, Dogs, and Lotus Scrolls
(Type : Related)

2) Sotheby's London 11 May 2022 - Important Chinese Art - Lot38
(Price : 44,100 GBP / Type : Related)

3) Hongkong 30 NOV 2016 - Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art - Lot 3389
(Price : HKD 625,000 / Type : Related)

4) Christies Newyork 22 AUG 2018 - Interiors - Lot192
(Price : 18,750 USD / Type : Related)


* Song Dynasty Longquan Celadon

Longquan celadon refers to a type of Chinese ceramic that was famous for its distinctive glaze and high-quality craftsmanship, primarily produced during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). These ceramics were made in the Longquan region of the Zhejiang province in eastern China, an area rich in the clay and mineral resources necessary for ceramic production.

The most notable characteristic of Longquan celadon is its glaze, which ranges in color from a pale blue-green to a deep olive green. This unique color comes from the iron oxide in the glaze, which, when fired in a reducing kiln atmosphere, produces the green hue. The thickness of the glaze, as well as the firing conditions, could affect the final shade and appearance of the celadon, with some pieces exhibiting a more crackled texture and others a smoother, glossier finish.

Longquan celadons were highly prized for their beauty and durability, making them popular both domestically within China and internationally. They were exported widely, reaching as far as Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, where they were often considered luxury items and treasured by various cultures.

The designs of Longquan celadon wares varied from simple and elegant forms to more elaborate decorations, including carved or incised motifs inspired by nature, such as lotus flowers, phoenixes, dragons, and foliage. Despite the variations in decoration, the emphasis was always on the harmony between form, glaze, and decoration, with the glaze playing a crucial role in enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the piece.

During the Song Dynasty, Longquan celadon was one of several major types of ceramics produced in China, each with its own distinctive characteristics. However, the quality and beauty of Longquan celadon made it one of the era's most celebrated ceramic types, and it continues to be highly valued by collectors and scholars today.

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