33. M5166



Chinese ceramic Yaozhou celadon glazed bowl, wan, of conical flower form, moulded with six lobes and gentle foliate rim, the interior with a pair of ducks swimming between lotus leaves on a wave ground, beneath a border of continuous lotus tendrils, covered overall in a rich olive-green glaze thinning towards the short unglazed biscuit foot rim burnt brown in the firing.

5 inches, 12.8 cm diameter.

Northern Song – Jin dynasty, Yaozhou kilns, 11th – 12th century.


Provenance & Additional Information

  • From the collection of H. R. N. Norton, Esq.
  • Sold by Sotheby’s London in their auction of The Well-known Collection of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, formed by the late H. R. N. Norton, Esq., Part I, 26th March 1963, lot 40, p. 19, illustrated opposite, where it notes, “A similar dish from the Parfitt Collection, was sold in these rooms 8th February 1946, lot 19”.
  • From the collection of Principal Sture Nydell (1891-1986) and his wife, Valborg Nydell (1905-2003).
  • Included by Marchant in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramics Tang to Song, 2022, no. 33, pp. 90-91.
  • A similar bowl is illustrated by John Ayers in Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, Volume I, no. 11 (A26), p. 53.
  • A related hexagonal lobed duck bowl on a wave ground is illustrated by Li Huibing in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, volume 32, 105, pp. 118/9.
  • A conical bowl with ducks and lotus on a wave ground is illustrated by Bo Gyllensvärd in Chinese Ceramics in the Carl Kempe Collection, no. 78, p. 45; and another from the collection of Ueno Seiichi (1882-1970), president of Asahi Shinbun is illustrated by Rose Kerr, Regina Krahl, Baoping Li, Lü Chenglong, Tao Wang and Wang Xiaomeng in Marvels of Celadon: The Shang Shan Tang Collection of Yaozhou Wares, no. 24, pp. 130-133, where the authors note, “Ducks in a lotus pond was a favourite motif of the Song and Yuan dynasties, appearing on a variety of media, including textiles as well as ceramics from many kilns across China. During the Yuan, the motif was used to decorate the robes of the Wenzong Emperor (r. 1328-32) and was described in contemporary poetry as a ‘pond overflowing with beauty’ (manchi jiao)”.
  • It is interesting to note that in Principal Sture Nydell’s inventory, 35, he notes, “On Museum Street in London, there was a nice and kind gentleman, the antique dealer H. R. N. Norton. He was the most skillful and honest person amongst everyone that deals with Chinese ceramics. He had been living in China for a long time. He had a wonderful collection of Chinese antiquities in his home, ceramics and also bronzes and jade objects. After his death in 1962, his collection was sold at two auctions at Sotheby’s in 1963. It was a great surprise that I was able to purchase a very nice Northern celadon bowl from the Norton Collection. A bowl that resembles it very much is in the Baur Collection in Geneva and is described in the dissertation by Wirgin. It’s funny that the Baur bowl and my bowl are described as having four ducks. But my wife discovered that it’s actually two ducks and two lotus leaves”.


Excellent, natural grizzles, two small dry areas on the exterior of the bowl.