The Classic Age of Chinese Ceramics
The Linyushanren Collection, Part I
Posted by: plcombs Dealers Chinese Art – Antiques
古韻天成 — 臨宇山人珍藏（一）
Wednesday 2 December 2015
Possibly , for me anyway, the best auction Christie's has had in the last year or two.
The superbly illustrated catalog of the Linyushanren Collection is well worth having and has as an added bonus an outstanding introduction by Rosemary Scott. This is the first of a planned three part sale of this stunning collection. Comprising "monochrome wares of kilns such as the Ding kilns of Hebei province and the Longquan kilns of Zhejiang province, to stonewares from various kilns in the Cizhou group decorated in a variety of the different techniques for which these kilns were famous."
An excerpt of Rosemary Scott's introduction is as follows:
The Chinese ceramics in this catalogue are from the Linyushanren Collection,
which was assembled by a Japanese collector, who has applied dedication,
discernment and connoisseurship to his collecting. He made his initial
purchases of Chinese ceramics in the 1970s, and during the first 20 years of his
collecting career he acquired works from the Han, Tang, Song and Ming dynasties.
It was, however, the pieces from the classic period of Chinese ceramics – the Song
dynasty – which particularly appealed to him and from the mid-1990s he focussed
his collecting on works from that period. In this he was embracing a tradition
amongst Japanese collectors, who have admired fine Chinese ceramics from the
Song and Yuan dynasties since the time they were made, when members of the
Japanese elite eagerly anticipated the arrival at Kamakura of boats with the latest
cargo of karamono ( 唐物Tang [Chinese] things).
The Linyushanren Collection Catalog
The current catalogue, which contains items for the first of three sales from
the Linyushanren Collection, encompasses an interesting range of exceptional
ceramics, from the monochrome wares of kilns such as the Ding kilns of Hebei
province and the Longquan kilns of Zhejiang province, to stonewares from various
kilns in the Cizhou group decorated in a variety of the different techniques for which
these kilns were famous. Only three of the latter techniques will be highlighted in
this essay, although others can be seen on additional items from the Linyushanren
Collection. Among the Cizhou wares included in the current sale is a vase
which stands on a tall spreading foot and has a trumpet mouth (Lot 2834).
The overlapping petal band just above the foot and the peony scroll which encircles the
body of this vase are executed in one of the most challenging techniques employed
at the Cizhou kilns – double-slip sgraffiato. The technique required a white slip
to be applied to the surface of the vase, which was dried and then covered with a
black or dark brown slip. When this second slip dried the details and outlines of
the design were cut through the black slip, and the black slip in the area forming
the background to the design was cut away, leaving the white slip. The vase was
then covered with a thin, clear glaze and fired. The effect achieved was that of a
bold black design against a white ground, but the challenge of cutting the black slip
away without removing the white slip beneath required exceptional skill.