A Jizhou Black Pottery Prunus Vase, Southern Song or Jin Dynasty 12th or 13th Century. The Slender Neck Vase Depicts a Flowering Plum (Prunus) Branch Using a Variety of Techniques Including Paper-Cut, Painting and Cutting.


Poor, the whole top area is restored. The restoration goes down as far as c.47 mm but it can be as little as 32 mm. It appears highly likely this area is mostly replaced, in other words it is not original material. It is difficult to be sure without removing the restoration which we don't propose to do.
Height :20.6 cm (8 1/4 inches).
Sotheby`s Colonnade Sale Bond Street, November 2nd 1993, lot 1540. The Helen Espir Collection of Oriental Ceramics.
Stock number
A very similar Jizhou prunus vase dated to the Southern Song dynasty was offered for sale see : Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Christie`s New York, December 10th 1987 lot 208. For a pair of similar Jizhou vases dated to the Yuan period see : A Survey of Chinese Ceramics Vol.3, Liao, Hsi-Hsia, Chin and Yuan Wares (Liu Liang-yu, Aries Gemini Publishing Ltd, 1991.ISBN 957-9259-03-8) page 262. Other Jizhou vases of this type, dated to the Southern Song Dynasty are illustrated in Jizhou Kiln (Peng Minghan, Wenwu, 2007. ISBN 978-7-5010-2172-7) pages 43 to 45. A further Jizhou vase of a different form is illustrated in : Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Jades in the Collection of Sir Allan and Lady Barlow (Michael Sullivan, Faber and Faber Ltd, 1963) plate 123b. The World in Monochromes, The Oriental ceramic Society 16 April – 20 June 2009 Item number 150 in the catalogue, label to the base. This is was the third in the series of exhibitions of ceramics, from the collections of members of the Oriental Ceramic Society, which have approached the subject of Asian ceramics from the point of view of their decorative techniques. The first exhibition entitled The World in Blue and White was shown in London, Bath and Glasgow in 2003, and this was followed in 2006 by The World in Colours, held at the Brunei Gallery. The 2009 exhibition, The World in Monochromes, completes the trilogy. Published : The World in Monochromes, An Exhibition of Single-Coloured Ceramics from Members of The Oriental Ceramics Society (O.C.S Exhibition catalogue, various authors, 2009. ISBN 978-0-903421-28-7) page 68, plate 150, attributed to the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234).



This Jizhou vase, undoubtedly used for cut flowers, employs several different techniques to get the desired effect. The process appears to involve cutting a piece of paper to the shape of the flowers and applying it to the surface, the vase is then dipped in a thick iron-oxide rich glaze. The stems of the prunus are then cut through the drying glaze, deep enough to score the body in places. The next step is to paint in the details of the flowers left in reserve by the cut paper using an iron-oxide pigment after which the piece is then given it`s finial firing.