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宋代筆記 vol.49 克拉克舊藏1.468億北宋定窰劃花八棱大盌 - A Magnificently Carved Lobed Dingyao Basin Northern Song Dynasty, Alfred Clark Collection.



克拉克定窑声名大噪,至今仍维持着定窑拍卖的世界纪录。雖然宋代五大名窯之外的窯口已經被廣泛認可,並且可平起平坐,但以拍賣角度就單從五大名窯體系裡來看,這件定窯的價格不輸給南宋官窯。可見最重要的北宋定窯,在市場的追捧和歷代的認知裡,有的器物是可以超過南宋官窯的價格的。


宋徽宗超越其第九子宋高宗,邏輯上也不是不可以。


大维德爵士夫人在1992年被问及其夫生前最仰慕的收藏时,她不假思索地说出了非克拉克伉俪莫属… 此件名品曾归日本古董商坂本五郎所持,2014转入私人收藏,重见天日又或将是一段漫长的沉寂时光…



松隐幽归:绽放自然的克拉克伉俪珍藏 - the Alfred & Ivy Clark Collection
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胎質細膩,八瓣花式,器形豐腴端莊,弧壁深腹,寬口內傾,下腹斜收。棱角含蓄,器身隨沿起伏。盌內刻牡丹綻放,刀法利落寫意,篦劃筋脈,雅致入微。下綴葉片拱花招展,彷彿隨風搖曳。線條流麗,寥寥數筆,靈動生趣。


內壁八瓣,均自刻劃折枝蓮紋,意態略異,花兒委婉,荷葉得體,簡潔清雅。平底規整沉實,無意修胎巧留痕,猶如一鉤新月掛蒼空。通體罩釉獨芒口,舊鑲銅釦。器面瑩亮柔潤,色呈牙白悅目脫俗,聚處若淚痕而色略深,久歷千年風霜,樸淳如昔。


Chinese Art Through The Eye Of Sakamoto Gorō – The Clark Ding

07 四月 2014 • 香港估價


估價待詢

已售出

146,840,000 HKD



來源

艾佛瑞.克拉克夫人收藏(編號760)(1949年或1971年以前)

倫敦蘇富比1971年3月2日,編號135(£ 49,000,該場拍賣最高成交價)


展覽

《Sung Dynasty Wares. Ting, Ying Ch’ing and Tz’u Chou》,東方陶瓷學會,倫敦,1949年,編號77(圖例)

《Mostra d’Arte Cinese / Exhibition of Chinese Art》,道奇宮,威尼斯,1954年,編號531

《L’art de la chine des Song》,巴黎亞洲藝術博物館,巴黎,1956年,編號28

《The Arts of the Sung Dynasty》,大不列顛藝術委員會及東方陶瓷學會,The Arts Council Gallery,倫敦,1960年,編號21


出版

Basil Gray,《Early Chinese Pottery and Porcelain》,倫敦,1953年,圖版39a及b

Madeleine David,〈Céramiques Song, 960-1279〉,《Cahiers de la céramique et des arts du feu》,1956-7年冬,編號5,頁8,圖1

Jan Wirgin,〈Sung Ceramic Designs〉,《Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities》,編號42,1970年,圖5b(盌心紋飾線圖)




淳樸猶餘慕古風

康蕊君


白瓷細密防滲,瑩亮柔潤,清麗可愛,逸雅高風,至今仍乃餐桌皿器佳選。定窰瓷器自古屬中國名瓷之列,宋時已一枝獨秀,古謂以之盛載食物湯藥尤佳,昔時已多有仿製。定窰正品大多精製妙造,紋飾悅目,然此大盌胎質細膩,器形端莊豐盈,劃花獨特生動、爽快寫意,出類拔萃,可謂冠絕同儕,舉世無偶。


定瓷向為宮廷所珍。據典,北宋太平興國五年(980),吳越貢宋「金裝定器」,記錄上奉金屬鑲口定窰瓷器二千之事。宋太宗妃元德李后,太平興國二年(977)卒,咸平三年(1000)遷葬永熙陵側,墓中出土不少定窰瓷器。兩岸故宮存清宮舊藏定瓷甚多,數器更鐫有乾隆帝(1736-95年間在位)詩文。早期定瓷,尤其是唐、五代,不少刻有「官」或「新官」字樣,但也見有宋例。而河北曲陽定窰遺址出土宋金瓷片,則有刻「東宮」、官府「尚藥局」及「尚食局」之例(前者見《定瓷雅集:故宮博物院珍藏及出土定窰瓷器薈萃》,故宮博物院,北京,2012年,編號3、6-9及28,以及《中國古瓷窰大系.中國定窰》,北京,2012年,編號21、42、55、68、70、77。後者參考《国際交流企画展「定窯・優雅なる白の世界―窯址発掘成果展」》,大阪市立東洋陶磁美術館,大阪,2013-14年,編號45-6及32-3)。


定窰遺址,位於河北曲陽縣近保定市澗磁村、北鎮村、野北村、東西燕川村一帶,然河北西南井陘縣也有出土相類質優瓷例。



定窰白瓷細膩淳樸,宮廷選為官用瓷器之一,按理乃意料中事。然有宋一朝,燒瓷供御之窰場並非受朝廷嚴密監管,且並不為御專屬,是以可燒製民用瓷器。絕大部分之定窰瓷器,雖則美觀,實乃大規模生產的品物。藝匠精心安排,相同的器形、相同的紋飾,重覆燒製,千篇一律。此類盌盤劃花草率,時淹沒於失透乳白釉中,且過於泛散,欠獨特之處,沒有因材施藝,甚為模印棱線遮蔽,未盡其美。


此盌卻是少數盡得獨妙匠心之品,與上列庸例大相逕庭。其塑形飾紋,無不精緻工巧,刻劃葩華千姿百妍,靈動生趣,造型紋樣相得益彰。


器作八瓣,端莊大雅,器身隨沿起伏明顯,說是花式,卻較似豐碩果實之形,猶如半瓜豐腴。塑形修坯尤為細膩,棱線外凹內凸,內壁加施漿釉以顯凸棱。下沿斜削爽快,盌底斂收,更形均稱,突顯其流麗豐盈,誠神來之筆。


如此八棱盌甚罕,內壁多光素無紋。台北國立故宮博物院藏四例,其中一器稍大(25公分,圖一),另外三器尺寸相若或略小(20.5 公分、22.5 公分及 22.9 公分),有矮圈足,僅盌心劃蓮紋及內壁飾凸棱,現展於《定州花瓷:院藏定窰系白瓷特展》,台北,2014年,編號II-80、81及82。大衛德爵士舊藏也有一例(21.6 公分),現存倫敦大英博物館,圖見 Margaret Medley,《Illustrated Catalogue of Ting and Allied Wares》,大衛德基金會,倫敦,1980年,圖版VI,編號42。金代紀年乾祐十七年(1177)之墓出土一器,略小(18.4 公分),現藏北京首都博物館,刊於《首都博物館藏瓷選》,北京,1991年,圖版48。


坂本五郎、仇焱之


北京故宮博物院藏一花式盌,尺寸更小(10.6 公分),或曾磨口,雖謂之洗,但整體與本品相近,器心飾一折枝蓮,內壁綴凸棱,器外無紋,底刻「聚秀」二字,參閱《故宮博物院藏文物珍品大系.兩宋瓷器(上)》,北京,1996年,圖版82。


東京靜嘉堂文庫美術館另有一盌,較本品為大(26.5 公分),定為「重要文化財」,盌壁裏外罕有地皆飾花紋,惟略嫌粗獷,見蓑豊,《中国の陶磁》,卷5:白磁,東京,1998年,彩圖47。

下腹斂收之大盌,多作圓形而非花式,僅盌外有隱約凹線,器形與本品迴異。對比清宮舊藏二件定窰大盌(26 公分及 24.5 公分),皆直口,所劃纏枝蓮紋泛散,現均藏於北京故宮博物院,圖見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品大系.兩宋瓷器(上)》,北京,1996年,圖版47及55。大阪市立東洋陶磁美術館另存一例(24.5 公分),也屬「重要文化財」,刊於蓑豊著作,前述出處,彩圖46。


本品刻劃牡丹盛放,伴以掌狀葉片,生動逼真。此折枝牡丹紋飾罕見於定瓷,稀例可參考台北國立故宮博物院藏小盤二件,或稱作洗,其器心劃紋樣類同,底皆鐫乾隆帝御製詩,收錄於《得佳趣:乾隆皇帝的陶瓷品味》,國立故宮博物院,台北,2012年,編號5及6(圖二)。納爾遜藝術博物館也藏一定窰牡丹紋盤,刊於《中國古瓷窰大系.中國定窰》,前述出處,頁279,圖27。



克拉克 Alfred Clark


定瓷飾蓮紋相對較普遍,但多甚草率,雖多配以茨菰葉,仍常與萱草混淆。然本品蓮紋靈巧寫實,蓮葉捲邊姿態各異,氣韻與別不同。如此細劃蓮紋之例,僅止數器,然皆為精品,如台北國立故宮博物院藏劃蓮六瓣葵式盤,現正展於《定州花瓷》,前述出處,編號II-39(圖三)。故宮收藏瓷片甚豐,包括有河北曲陽縣澗磁村及燕川村收集所得,其中有一宋朝殘盌,與此類近,可資比對,見《故宮博物院藏中國古代窰址標本》,卷2:河北卷,北京,2006年,圖版169上。

北京故宮博物院清宮舊藏六瓣花式盤,內壁飾有相近折枝蓮花,與鴨子相間,見《定瓷雅集》,前述出處,編號82,或《故宮博物院藏文物珍品大系.兩宋瓷器(上)》,北京,1996年,圖版61。卡爾肯普博士典藏同款定窰瓷盤,曾展於《Chinese Gold, Silver and Porcelain The Kempe Collection》,Asia House Gallery,紐約,1971年,編號110,後售於倫敦蘇富比2008年5月14日,編號258。


宋人葉寘《坦齋筆衡》云「本朝以定州白瓷,有芒不堪用,遂命汝州造青窰器」,學者時引用之,認為宮廷因定瓷澀口不施釉,是以棄定取汝。台北國立故宮博物院蔡玫芬於1996年紐約大都會藝術博物館研討會上,提出於瓷品上添加金屬邊稜乃當時宮廷貴冑品好,澀口正好可避免金稜滑脫之虞,因此「有芒」並非為了採用覆燒技術才衍生的瑕疵。「稜釦習尚如此風行,然定窰瓷在北宋中期之前尚未行覆燒技術;是以金稜非因掩飾芒口而產生,相反的,芒口可能因稜釦習尚而生」。負責飾品、隸屬工部的「文思院」,以及承辦內宮品物之「後苑造作所」,下皆設有「稜作」,專門加綴金銀稜釦。蔡氏因此指「定州白瓷,有芒不堪用」之句,或並不反映宋廷對有芒定瓷之嫌厭,反之可能因定瓷巧飾稜釦,用於特定御典有欠妥適。全文見蔡玫芬,〈A Discussion of Ting Ware with Unglazed Rims and Related Twelfth-Century Official Porcelain〉,《Arts of the Sung and Yüan》,大都會藝術博物館,紐約,1996年,頁109-31(譯者按:中文版本參考蔡玫芬,〈論「定州白瓷器,有芒不堪用」句的真確性及十二世紀官方瓷器之諸問題〉,《故宮學術季刊》,第2期,頁63-102)。


此盌釉面柔潤,色呈牙白悅目,聚處若淚痕而色略深,久歷千年風霜,樸淳如昔。可與之媲美者寥寥可數,私人藏例更是絕無僅有。早於1949年,此盌已屬著名收藏家艾弗瑞‧克拉克伉儷雅蓄,見於多個重要展覽。自1971年出現於倫敦蘇富比後,未曾公開展覽,芳踪杳沉,如今復見尤為難得。



艾弗瑞.克拉克(Alfred Clark,1873-1950,圖四)與夫人(Ivy Clark,1890或91-1976),二十年代始蒐集珍藏,對倫敦東方陶瓷學會貢獻良多,積極助籌展覽。早於1933及次年,Edgar Bluett 於藝術雜誌《Apollo》先後為夫婦兩收藏撰文二篇。夫妻二人雖惠贈少量藏品予大英博物館,絕大部分後經蘇富比分批轉售。


大衛德爵士夫人在1992年的一個訪問中,當被問及其夫生前最仰慕的收藏時,她想應該是克拉克(見《Orientations》,卷23,第4期,1992年)。克拉克伉儷品味高致,所藏宋瓷超群絕倫,1960年曾慷慨借出二十八件宋朝佳器,展於倫敦東方陶瓷學會重要展覽《The Arts of the Sung Dynasty》,當中包括北宋汝窰天青釉葵花洗,該器後以高價售於香港蘇富比2012年4月4日,編號101,至今仍是宋代瓷器世界拍賣紀錄。


A Magnificently Carved Lobed Dingyao Basin Northern Song Dynasty

Estimate

Estimate Upon Request


Sold

146,840,000 HKD


sublimely potted with eight ethereal lobes rising from a flat base, the lobes delineated on the interior by sharp vertical lines of slip dividing the surface into eight panels, encircling the broad central medallion exquisitely carved with a full-bloom peony, the layers of the scalloped-edged petals accented with light combing, supported on a slender stalk issuing three serrated leaves with faintly incised veins, all framed by the deftly carved side panels, each with a slightly varying lotus sprig rising above a furled lotus pad with softly combed details, all placed to the left of centre, completely veiled in a silky ivory-coloured transparent glaze showcasing the white stoneware body, the plain sides of the exterior marked by the furrows of the corresponding lines on the interior, shaded in characteristic asymmetrical cream-coloured tear streaks running down the sides and pooling around the knife-pared bevelled edge encircling the flat base, the subtly concave base left plain save for a sweeping semi-circular graze giving the surface depth, the unglazed mouthrim crowned by a delicate copper-brown band elegantly contrasting against the white body


Provenance

Collection of Mrs. Alfred Clark (no. 760) (1949 or earlier to 1971).

Sotheby’s London, 2nd March 1971, lot 135 (£ 49,000, highest price in the sale).


Exhibited

Sung Dynasty Wares. Ting, Ying Ch’ing and Tz’u Chou, Oriental Ceramic Society, London, 1949, cat. no. 77 (illustrated).

Mostra d’Arte Cinese/Exhibition of Chinese Art, Palazzo Ducale, Venice, 1954, cat. no. 531.

L’art de la chine des Song, Musée Cernuschi, Paris, 1956, cat. no. 28.

The Arts of the Sung Dynasty, The Arts Council of Great Britain and The Oriental Ceramic Society, The Arts Council Gallery, London, 1960, cat. no. 21.


Literature

Basil Gray, Early Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, London, 1953, pl. 39 a and b.

Madeleine David, ‘Céramiques Song, 960-1279’, Cahiers de la céramique et des arts du feu, Hiver 1956-7, no. 5, p. 8, fig. 1.

Jan Wirgin, 'Sung Ceramic Designs', Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, no. 42, 1970, fig. 5 b (line drawing of the central design).


Condition

The basin is in excellent condition. The exquisite lustre is consistent with Dingyao wares that have been handed down since the Song dynasty, rather than excavated or cached examples.


Ding Ware at Its Peak

Regina Krahl


White porcelain, sparkling, glossy, smooth and impermeable, and thus appetizing and hygienic, is still the finest material available for tableware, catering to the most discriminating tastes even today. White Ding ware is and always was one of the most admired ceramic wares of China, much copied already at its time, standing out among the many wares of the Song (960-1279) as the best suited for food and medicine. True Ding ware is mostly of good quality and pleasing design, but this large bowl, which is unique, is outstanding in every respect, and represents a rare example of this ware at its very best: combining exquisite material with fine potting, a particularly successful shape with pleasing proportions, and a spirited, freely and distinctly incised design.

Ding ware was always highly acclaimed at court. A tribute to the court of 2,000 pieces of Ding ware with metal-bound rim is recorded for the year AD 980. Many Ding vessels were discovered in the tomb of Emperor Taizong’s Empress, who died in AD 977 and was later reburied in AD 1000. A large number of Ding vessels from the Qing (1644-1911) court collection are still remaining in the Palace Museum, Beijing, others are in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, several of them bearing inscriptions by the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-95). Many early Ding wares, particularly of the Tang (618-907) and Five Dynasties (907-960) periods, but also of the Song dynasty, are inscribed with the character guan (‘official’) or xin guan (‘new official’), and the excavations of the Quyang kiln sites in Hebei province have brought to light sherds of the Song and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties inscribed with the characters dong gong, ‘Eastern Palace’, and the names of two administrative units within the Court, Shangyaoju, the ‘Palace Medical Service’, and Shangshiju  the ‘Palace Food Service’ (for the former see, for example, Ding ci ya ji. Gugong Bowuyuan zhencang ji chutu Dingyao ciqi huicui/Selection of Ding Ware. The Palace Museum’s Collection and Archaeological Excavation, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2012, cat. nos. 3, 6-9, and 28; and Zhongguo gu ciyao daxi. Zhongguo Dingyao/Series of China’s Ancient Porcelain Kiln Sites. Ding Kiln of China, Beijing, 2012, cat. nos. 21, 42, 55, 68, 70, 77; for the latter see Tei yō. Yūga naru haku no sekai: Yōshi hakkutsu seika ten/Ding Ware. The World of White Elegance: Recent Archaeological Findings, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 2013-14, cat. nos. 45-6 and 32-3).


Ding ware has been located to kiln sites at Jianci, Beizhen, Eastern and Western Yanchuan and Yebei villages near Baoding city, Quyang county, Hebei province, although examples of similarly high quality have also been excavated in Jingxing county, further southwest in Hebei.


Given the overall excellence of this white ware, it is only natural that the court would have picked it as one of its ceramics. However, in the Song dynasty, kilns working for the court were neither strictly controlled by the court nor restricted to cater solely for imperial use. The majority of Ding wares, beautiful though they are, are mass-produced and come from a production line, where shapes and designs had been expertly worked out to be repeated in large quantities in nearly identical manner. These include the vast number of bowls and dishes with swiftly incised overall designs that tend to blend in with the slightly opaque glaze and to form a fairly indistinct overall enhancement of the vessel, rather than standing out as distinct decoration. Often, the decoration does not take the shape of the vessel into account at all, and can even be partly obliterated by sharp grooves from subsequent moulding.


The present bowl belongs to a very different category, to an exceedingly small group of Ding wares, which are individually modelled and decorated, of well-designed form and with distinctly rendered, naturalistic flower decoration that represents an integral part of the vessel’s beauty.


The exquisite, deeply eight-lobed shape of the present bowl, reminiscent more of a fruit than a flower, is as satisfactory to hold like a plump, cut-open melon. Yet the potting is most delicate. The grooves, indented on the outside, form a sharp ridge on the inside, reinforced by added lines of slip. An expert potter’s finishing touch was a quick movement of a knife to pare off the edge around the base, to make the base narrower and the shape thereby much more elegant.


Bowls of similar eight-lobed shape are extremely rare and generally undecorated around the sides. Compare four such bowls in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, one larger (25 cm, fig. 1), and three of similar size or smaller (20.5 cm, 22.5 cm and 22.9 cm), but with a shallow foot, and plain except for an engraved lotus motif in the centre and raised ribs inside, all included in the museum’s current exhibition Dingzhou hua ci. Yuan cang Dingyao xi bai ci tezhan/Decorated Porcelains of Dingzhou. White Ding Wares from the Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2014, cat. nos. II-80, 81 and 82; another (21.6 cm) of that type from the Sir Percival David Collection now in the British Museum, London, is illustrated in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Ting and Allied Wares, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1980, pl. VI, no. 42; and a smaller one (18.4 cm) excavated from a Jin tomb of 1177 and now in the Capital Museum, Beijing, is published in Shoudu Bowuguan cang ci xuan [Selection of porcelains from the Capital Museum], Beijing, 1991, pl. 48.


A much smaller (10.6 cm) lobed bowl, probably reduced in height and referred to as a washer, but otherwise very similar, with a single lotus spray in the centre and plain sides with raised ribs inside, preserved in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing, is inscribed on the base ju xiu (elegance assembled); see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelain of the Song Dynasty, Beijing, 1996, vol. 1, pl. 82.


A larger lobed basin (26.5 cm) in the Seikadō Bunko Art Museum, Tokyo, classified as Important Cultural Property, is a rare example with floral incising both inside and outside, but of coarser type, see Yutaka Mino, Chūgoku no tōji [China’s ceramics], vol. 5: Hakuji [White wares], Tokyo, 1998, col. pl. 47.


Other large bowls with this bevelled edge around the base tend to be round, with indentations only faintly hinted at on the outside, and thus completely different in appeal; compare two large Ding basins (26 cm and 24.5 cm) from the Qing court collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, both with straight rim and incised with indistinct overall lotus scrolls, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelain of the Song Dynasty, Beijing, 1996, vol. 1, pls. 47 and 55; another (24.5 cm) in the Osaka Museum of Oriental Ceramics, classified as Important Cultural Property, is published in Mino, op. cit., col. pl. 46.


A tree peony design, naturalistically represented with its serrated leaf, is extremely rare. A similar peony spray appears in the centre of two small dishes or brushwashers in the National Palace Museum, both of which are engraved on the base with an inscription by the Qianlong Emperor; see the exhibition catalogue De jia qu. Qianlong Huangdi de taoci pinwei/Obtaining Refined Enjoyment: The Qianlong Emperor’s Taste in Ceramics, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2012, cat. nos. 5 and 6 (fig. 2); a dish with this design in the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City, is published in Zhongguo gu ciyao daxi, op. cit., p. 279, fig. 27.


Lotus motifs are very common on Ding ware, but tend to be so sketchily rendered that they are sometimes interpreted as day-lily motifs, even though they are often combined with the arrow-head water plant. The lotus is rarely seen in the naturalistically manner as depicted here, with its leaf variously curled and turned in different directions. This motif appears similarly on only a few other fine Ding pieces, such as a six-lobed food bowl in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the Museum’s current exhibition Dingzhou hua ci, op. cit., cat. no. II-39 (fig. 3); and a fragment of a similar Song bowl, that forms part of the Gugong’s vast sherd collection, which includes Ding sherds recovered from the kiln sites at Jiancicun and Yanchuancun in Quyang county, Hebei; see Gugong Bowuguan cang Zhongguo gudai yaozhi biaoben, vol. 2: Hebei juan  [Specimens from China’s ancient kilns preserved in the Palace Museum, vol. 2: Hebei volume], Beijing, 2006, pl. 169 top.


On a lobed dish from the Qing court collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, similar lotus sprays alternate with ducks, see Ding ci ya ji, op. cit., cat. no. 82, or The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelain of the Song Dynasty, Beijing, 1996, vol. 1, pl. 61; an identical dish from the Kempe collection was included in the exhibition Chinese Gold, Silver and Porcelain The Kempe Collection, Asia House Gallery, New York, 1971, cat. no. 110, and sold in our London rooms, 14th May 2008, lot 258.

The well-known record in a Song text that the court did not appreciate Ding wares because of their unglazed rims and ordered wares from the Ru kilns instead, has been discussed by Ts’ai Mei-fen of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, at a symposium organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1996. She argued that unglazed rims were not the consequence of the kilns’ practice of firing bowls upside down, but that “the reason for the unglazed rim was that the metal-banded rim was the popular taste of the time”, approved even at court, and that “the practice of covering edges … began well before the Ting [Ding] kiln started firing its ware upside down. The practice was not introduced to cover up the unglazed rim, but, on the contrary, the unglazed rim was possibly instituted because of the popular practices of decorating edges.” She states that the Wensiyuan (Crafts Institute), a workshop for the production of jewellery under the Directorate for Imperial Manufactories, as well as the Houyuan Zaozuosuo (Palace Workshop of the Rear Garden), another workshop that produced articles for use in the inner court, both included a Lengzuo workshop, for the ‘decoration of edges’. Ts’ai suggests therefore that the quote does not refer to imperial taste but to the fact that metal-bound vessels were not considered suitable for certain imperial ritual ceremonies. See Ts’ai Mei-fen, ‘A Discussion of Ting Ware with Unglazed Rims and Related Twelfth-Century Official Porcelain’, Arts of the Sung and Yüan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1996, pp. 109-31.


On the present bowl the tactile ivory-tinged glaze, with its characteristic ‘tears’ of a deeper tone, preserves its attractive original lustre. Pieces of comparable quality are outstandingly rare and hardly left in private collections. The bowl was in the fabled collection of Alfred and Ivy Clark already in 1949, before Alfred Clark’s death, and featured in many important exhibitions, but has not been publicly shown since 1971, when it was last sold at Sotheby’s. 


Alfred (1873-1950, fig. 4) and Mrs. Ivy Clark (1890 or 91-1976), both major supporters of the London Oriental Ceramic Society and its exhibitions, started collecting in the 1920s. Edgar Bluett devoted two articles in the art magazine Apollo to their collection already in 1933 and 1934. Although they donated some of their pieces to the British Museum, the majority was sold over the years in different sales at Sotheby’s. Lady David, when asked whose collection Sir Percival David ranked highest, thought the collection of the Clarks would have been most to his taste (Orientations, vol. 23, no. 4, 1992). The Clark’s outstanding collection of Song ceramics, of which they lent twenty-eight pieces to the important Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition The Arts of the Sung Dynasty in London, 1960, also included the magnificent lobed Ru guanyao brush washer sold in these rooms, 4th April 2012, lot 101 and still holding the world record price for Song ceramics.


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