A green-glazed pottery figure of a bird
Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25-220)
The bird is naturalistically moulded with defined wings and feathers, resting on a flat base formed by the legs and tail. The head with bulging eyes is turned to the right. A circular aperture is positioned in the middle at the top of the head. The bird is covered with a green glaze with extensive areas of silvery iridescence.
11 cm high
A Dutch private collection, acquired in Hong Kong in the 1990s
It is rare to find vessels of this form and size. A green-glazed owl, also with an aperture on the head was sold at Sotheby Parke Bernet Ltd., Hong Kong, 11-12 May, lot 9.
Several owl-shaped flasks are known, but all unglazed and with with detachable heads, like the pair illustrated in Bo Gyllensvärd, Oriental Ceramics, The World’s Great Collections, Vol. 8, Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Stockholm, Kodansha International Ltd., 1982, monochrome pl. 5, which is attributed to the late Zhou dynasty (770-256 BC).