A CHINESE LONGQUAN CELADON ‘DEER’ DISH
YUAN DYNASTY, 1279 - 1368
A low celadon stoneware dish of square form rising from a square foot to straight, everted sides. The well of the dish is molded with a deer surrounded by clouds and a ruyi fungus, and the cavetto features molded quatrefoil reserves depicting the characters Tian Zhi Mei Lu flanked by ruyi fungus.
7 ¼ in. (18.5 cm.) across
Green-glazed stonewares, with a comparatively high iron and titanium content, were made in the Longquan area in Zhejiang province from the Northern Song dynasty (960 - 1127) into the beginning of the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911.) Longquan wares were important trade goods, traveling as far west as Iran and as far east as the Indonesian Archipelago.
This example is one of a group of similar pieces made in at least two sizes, probably produced near the end of the Yuan dynasty in the 14th century. A smaller example is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The characters Tian Zhi Mei Lu may be translated as “beauty of heavenly prosperity” or, “heaven’s venerated blessing,” or simply, “heaven’s nectar.”