Flower Vase with Two Handles Celadon glaze
This flower vase was made in the Longquan kilns that proliferated around the city of Longquan, located deep in the mountains of southwest Zhejiang province, China.
Ceramics like this, with a translucent blue glaze, are known as celadon ware.
The Longquan kilns were famed for their celadon ceramics since antiquity. Of particular renown are the glossy, light-blue celadon works produced in the 12th and 13th centuries, during the Southern Song dynasty. This vase was made in the 15th century, during the Ming dynasty. Ming-dynasty Longquan ware is characterized by its greenish-blue color and comparative thickness. These ceramics were glazed several times before being fired so they feel quite heavy to hold.
This vase’s large, rounded lower section has earned it the name ‘shimokabura’, or ‘turnip bottom.’ The mouth of the vase is adorned with two handles in the shape of animal heads.
It is thought the shape was originally modelled on ancient bronze ware, but the neck probably became longer and thinner to accommodate its use as a flower vase.
Longquan celadons were imported to Japan in great volumes from long ago, but it seems this kind of vase was particularly cherished by Japanese tea masters. What kind of flowers would you arrange in this vase?