Southern Song dynasty, 13th century

Height: 6 1/2 inches, 16.3 cm


A small mallet-shaped porcelain vase of Longquan type, the straight sides rising up from a recessed base, the shoulder tapered and the neck terminating in a dish-shaped mouth with upturned rim. The neck is moulded with well-modelled fish handles to either side. The vase is covered in an even, pale green ‘celadon’ glaze, leaving the foot uncovered and showing the fine porcelain body.

The clear, jade-like glaze that covers this vase is typical of the Longquan kilns in southern Zhejiang province. It is primarily attributable to the smoky firing technique employed there, which converted the small amount of iron present in the glaze into ferrous oxide.[1] A slightly smaller Longquan vase with twin fish handles is in the Meiyintang collection.[2] In the accompanying text, Krahl refers to the mallet shape as ‘kinuta’, the Japanese term.[3] Longquan celadons were and continue to be particularly popular in Japan.  It is interesting to note that the small repair on the foot was executed in lacquer, to enhance the repair rather than to hide it; this is a typical Japanese concept.


Private collection, Japan. Priestley & Ferraro, no. 2200, London

  1. Gompertz, G.St.G.M. Chinese Celadon Wares, Faber and Faber, London 1958 & 1980, page 164
  2. Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection Volume One, Azimuth Editions, London, no. 570, p. 304
  3. Krahl, R. op.cit. p. 304