Song dynasty, 12th – 13th century

Diameter: 3 1/4 inches, 8.4 cm

Height: 1 1/2 inches, 4 cm


An octagonal qingbai porcelain box of compressed drum shape with tapered, facetted sides. The domed cover has a slightly concave circular top, which is like the rest of the box, completely plain. The box is covered in a pale bluish glaze of qingbai type, which pools in places to an aquamarine tone. The unglazed base has a number of characteristic grit marks. The interior of the box is glazed, the rims are unglazed.


Both the form and the plainness of this small box are very much in keeping with the Song dynasty’s preferred aesthetic for qingbai ceramics of simple forms and plain exteriors, rather than painted designs. This box, which was made in Fujian province, would have originally been used to store cosmetics, and much like other qingbai wares produced during this time, would have been used on a daily basis.


Sotheby’s London 13. 06.1989, lot 168.  Sotheby’s Hong Kong 28.11. 2016, Lot 373