Northern Song Dynasty, A.D. 11th Century
of tall ovoid form with short neck and rolled-out ring-shaped mouth rim, decorated with three parrots surrounded by trefoil cloud motifs on the broad central freize between a collar of knobbed scroll on the steeply rounded narrow shoulders and a wide band of overlapping lotus petals rising from the constricted base, the decoration all freely incised through the white slip, reserved on a ring-punched ground of ‘pearls’, filled with a reddish-brown slip, and covered with a clear glaze, the thick ring foot left unglazed, enclosing a slightly recessed flat base.
Height 15 3⁄4 inches (40 cm)
Meiping of this early, rare type with freely incised designs on ring-punched ‘pearl’ grounds are the finest vessels produced in the Dengfeng kilns at Mixian, Henan province during the 11th century. Comparable examples in major museum collections have been widely published, but no other meiping of this type with parrot decoration appears to have been previously recorded.
A meiping of this form and style decorated with leopards on a ‘pearl’ ground in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Gugong bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quanji (32) Liang Song ciqi, shang (The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Vol. 32, Porcelain of the Song Dynasty, I), Hong Kong, 1996, pp. 196-197, and the same vase is illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji (7) Song, shang (The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics, Vol. 7, Song, I), Shanghai, 2000, p. 201, no. 207. Another example, decorated with figures of the Daoist immortal Li Tieguai on ‘pearl’ grounds, in the Shanghai Museum, is illustrated op. cit., p. 194, no. 200 and a very similar vase with the same decoration of Li Tieguai in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is illustrated by Tseng and Dart in The Charles B. Hoyt Collection in the Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, Vol. II, Boston, 1972, no. 115.
Another meiping of this type decorated with floral scroll, in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, is illustrated by Mino in Freedom of Clay and Brush Through Seven Centuries in Northern China: Tz'u-chou Type Wares, 960-1600 A.D., Indianapolis, 1980, pp. 60-61, no. 18; and Mino also illustrates a pillow decorated in the same technique with a very similar parrot and trefoil clouds on a punched ground of ‘pearls,’ from the Okayama Museum of Art, op. cit., pp. 54-55, no. 15, together with another similar pillow with parrot decoration from the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, op. cit., p. 54, fig. 31.