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Mallet-Shaped Lung-ch'üan Vase with Two Phoenix Handles

Tags: ceramics | National Palace Museum | Southern Sung | vessel


Southern Sung period (1127-1279)
Height: 25.5 cm, diameter: 9.4 cm, diameter of base: 9.6 cm, weight: 1270 g 
This mallet-shaped vase, with its tray-shaped mouth and straight neck and body exhibits a definite two-piece design. The neck has two handles in the shape of phoenixes or dragons in a style current in the early Sung dynasty. The simple lines provided by the straight sides of both the neck and the body give the piece an unaffected feel, but also represent the perfect unity of practicality and stability. The partially three-dimensional modelled phoenix handles lead the eyes to the tray-shaped mouth above them, with its slightly protruding outer rim and lustrous surface where the glaze has accumulated, giving the mouth a stately, majestic appearance. This particular design, in all sizes, was current in the period stretching from the Sung all the way to the early Ming dynasty, but it was in the Sung that it reached the heights of beauty of design and color of glaze.

Text and images are provided by National Palace Museum