From our Early Chinese Collection, a large and magnificent Southern Song Dynasty qingbai funerary urn (960 - 1279 AD). Based upon published and nearly identical examples dated to 1209 AD, we can probably safely date this piece closer to circa 1190 - 1230 AD. The lower bell of this extraordinary lidded urn is smooth and glazed, while the upper section is deeply ribbed and glazed featuring hand-formed and applied figures of people and animals, including a coiled dragon, a tortoise, a cockerel, a bird and a dog, along with pie crust decoration and ruyi head motifs. It’s nothing less than a miracle when these older, long-necked, and thus very vulnerable artifacts emerge from the ground largely unscathed. This is such a piece.
These funerary urns were traditionally placed within the tomb in pairs along East-West meridians; the companion piece must have been lost to history. Nevertheless, a fine sole survivor. Pieces of this quality with the glaze so well-preserved and the figures so crisply modelled, are hard to come by and rarely come on the market in this condition. More often than not, it is the crude examples that we tend to see, along with other examples with very dull/degraded glazes, and also a tremendous amount of fakes. For a nearly identical piece dated to 1209 AD, see Dated Qingbai Wares of the Song and Yuan Dynasty, published by the Cheung Leng Foundation, 1998, p. 70 (photo included below).
Size and Condition: Overall fine condition with no repair or restoration, several areas of small losses including a chip to the wing on the bird finial, various small chips here and there, some random dry spots and scuffing to the glaze, and some areas with small firing cracks and chips to figures. None of these are particularly consequential for a tomb recovery item like this. 23 ½” inches tall (59.6 cm).