Southern Song dynasty, 1127 – 1279

Diameter: 5 inches, 12 .5 cm

Height: 2 inches, 5 cm


A stoneware brush washer of shallow bowl form, the straight sides rise at a slanted angle from a low, recessed foot ring, and terminate in a lipped rim. The bowl is entirely devoid of ornament and covered in a bluish-green glaze, except for the foot rim, which shows the fine grey body of the stoneware.


Shallow, circular bowls of this type have traditionally been described as brush washers and, given the deceptive simplicity of the potting and the subtle refinement of the glaze on the present piece, which was produced at the Longquan kilns in southern Zhejiang province, one may well imagine it fulfilling this function on the desk of a discerning scholar-artist. The smooth glaze, devoid of crackle and of a subtle bluish-green tone, is of a particularly refined type, sometimes referred to as kinuta (lit. ‘mallet’, presumably

as it was first applied to vases of that shape) by Japanese collectors, traditionally great admirers of Longquan porcelain. A closely comparable brush washer from the Longquan kiln, unearthed in the Sichuan city of Suining, is now in the Suining Municipal Museum.[1] Another example is in the collection of the Hakone Art Museum in Japan.[2]


Ip’s collection, Hong Kong, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 28.11. 2016, Lot 359

  1. National Museum of China Song Yun: Sichuan Yao Cang Wenwu Jicui (The Charm of Song, Cultural Artefacts from Hoards in Sichuan), Beijing 2006, p. 25
  2. Gompertz, G.St.G.M. Chinese Celadon Wares, Faber and Faber, London 1958 & 1980, no. 67a,b p. 136