Auction : A Private Collection of ‘Song’ Ceramics At Sotheby’s NY

Sotheby’s NY will be selling a remarkable single owner collection of ‘Song’ ceramics on March 23. The ‘Song’ Dynasty (960-1279) produced some of the finest ceramics ever made. Stonewares (ceramics that are fired at high temperatures to ensure strength and durability) had been made in China nearly 3000 years before they first appeared in the West. By the ‘Song’ period, body and glaze recipes were expanding, and new techniques such as decorating pieces with the help of basic carving tools or carefully administered coloring agents were becoming more popular. It was also during this time that ceramics of this type began to be appreciated as works of art.

The exact outcome of each piece varies in the firing, but these ceramics belong to one of four different categories: white, green, black/brown and bright blue-glazed stonewares.

This minimalist decoration, coupled with a concentration on function and form, helps to give ‘Song’ ceramics a striking modernity. The collection includes superb wares with a range of glazes from different kilns. There are particularly strong examples of the white wares of the ‘Ding’ kilns and ‘Qingbai’ type and the celadons of both ‘Yaozhou’ and ‘Longquan’ type. Among the highlights of the 83 lot sale is an extremely rare 'Xingyao' Ewer dating to the 10th century (est. $400/600,000) and a ‘Ding’ dish from the Northern ‘Song’ Dynasty and formerly in the Toguri Collection, Japan (est. $500/700,000).