A rare Longquan celadon dragon jar and cover – Southern Song Dynasty

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This heavy jar has a tall ovoid body with three graduated rounded ribs encircling the upper body. The lower body of the jar is carved with a wide band of upright petals. It is applied at the shoulder in high relief with a four-clawed dragon, which has a long sinuous body coiled around the sides. The low domed cover is molded with a seated bird finial. The vessel is covered in and out with a thick and smooth sea-green crackled glaze shifting to an olive tone in one area.

Period: Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279 AD)

Size: Height 25.5 cm with lid

Condition: The dragon with four missing claws in total, loss to the tip of one horn and the tip of its tongue and wing, hairline crack to dragon’s back, chip and small crack (from manufacturing) to foot ring. A glaze crack between two of the rounded ribs. Glaze in great condition with expected craquelure, light scratches, and minor firing imperfections. Pieces of the cover broken and restuck. No repairs to the jar found. To summarize, the jar is in good condition, with a few parts of the extremities to the dragon’s body missing, and the cover is in poor condition as can be seen in the pictures. Pictures 25-33 illustrates damages to the jar and dragon.

Provenance: From a Swedish private collection, Sold at Antik-Anders Auktioner (now Skånes Auktionsverk) in 2003, a sticker from Chinoise Tonying, Paris to the base (Antique business established in Paris in 1902 by Zhang Renjie).

SKU: 48

References: There are three related jars in the Palace Museum illustrated in Longquan of the world – Longquan Celadon and Globalization, Vol. 1 – A history of Thousands of Years, The Forbidden City Publishing House, 2019, Plate 24, 25, 26.

There is a similar jar in the Metropolitan Museum, New York

See jar in the Digital Ceramics Museum, Taiwan

A few similar jars have also been sold by the major auction houses. Some examples below

Bonhams 1

Christies 1

Sothebys 1

Sothebys 2

More info: Longquan ware