Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Gift That Keeps on Giving


Here's a little "gift" that seems to have kept on giving from one hand to the next. 


PROVENANCE
Baron Denzaburo Fujita (1841-1912).
Duke Motonori Mori (1839-1896).

A 'JIAN' SILVER 'HARE'S FUR' 'TEMMOKU' TEA BOWL
SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY

Estimate 80,000 — 100,000 USD
LOT SOLD. 100,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)


Sotheby's (New York) “CHINESE ART THROUGH THE EYE OF SAKAMOTO GORŌ: SONG CERAMICS”

16 SEPTEMBER 2014 | 10:00 AM EDT

A 'JIAN' SILVER 'HARE'S FUR' 'TEMMOKU' TEA BOWL
SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY

The robustly potted body with deep rounded sides rising from a short straight foot to an indented rim, covered overall with a lustrous dark blackish-blue glaze suffused on the interior with numerous scattered small silvery flecks, the exterior covered with radiating iridescent silvery-blue striations, the glossy glaze falling short of the foot in a neat lustrous black bulge above the dark purple-brown body, the rim metal-bound, Japanese wood box
 Diameter 4 7/8  in., 12.6 cm

CONDITION

There has been old restoration to chips along the interior rim under the metal mount and another 1/4 inch (6cm) restored chip on the opposite side of the rim. The exterior with consolidation to some of the glaze crackles.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
 

CATALOGUE NOTE
The present bowl represents the classic form of tea ware produced at the kilns in Jianyang in Fujian province, and is particularly notable for its silver ‘hare’s fur’ markings. Bowls of this type, include one from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, included in the Museum’s exhibition Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge Feathers, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 1995, cat. no. 79; another, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (II), Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 204; and a third bowl from the Sir David Percival Collection and now in the British Museum, London, published in Oriental Ceramics. The World’s Great Collections, vol. 6, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 44.

Tea bowls of this type were renowned for their unique suitability for drinking tea as the fine foam of the whisked powdered tea contrasted attractively with the dark glaze of the vessel. The thickness of the glaze also helped keep the tea warm while protecting the hands of the drinker from the hot beverage. Furthermore, the concave indentation below the rim of the bowl allows a firm grip and is said to cause the drinker to consume the tea in small sips, which is important for the full appreciation and enjoyment of tea. From literature it is known that the best quality Jian bowls were carefully selected as tribute from Fujian to the court. Jian bowls were also taken to Japan by Buddhist monks who spent time in Chinese monasteries. ‘Temmoku’ is the Japanese pronounciation of 'Tianmu', a mountain in Zhejiang, north of Jianyang, where monastic communities favored the use of Jian bowls for tea drinking. Tea consumption was an established practice in Buddhist monasteries as tea was prized as a stimulant in assisting Buddhist monks in their meditation. For an extensive study on the history of Jian ware and their transportation to Japan, see Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, ‘Defining Temmoku: Jian Ware Tea Bowls Imported into Japan’, Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers, Cambridge, 1995, pp. 43-58.    


Report courtesy of Sotheby's http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/sakamoto-goro-ceramics-n09189/lot.5.html