60. Are bigger birds better?

This is the second large dragon and phoenix vase (18” or approx 46cm) in the collection. It is similar in many ways to Object 50 and they make an attractive pair when displayed together, though this one is in rather better shape. 

As has been done previously, the ‘Houou bird imagebank‘ on this site is examined at to see if there is a match – but in this case there is not. Comparing the Houou birds from this vase (object 60) and the ones from objects 29 and 50 is interesting though.

It is evident that there is no more detail on the larger vases (50 and 60) than on the smaller one (29). That is, though the larger vases have about four times the area to use there is no effort made to increase the detail of the design. The workshop was therefore producing a larger vase that it hoped would sell for more without significantly increasing its wiring costs.

Is this why so many large vases are in ‘dragon and phoenix’ style? Many other types of design (e.g. roundels and coins) might not scale so efficiently.

Turning to another aspect of the vases, it is sometimes possible to identify common origins from patterns at the neck or base. On this website there is a ‘Bases imagebank’. From that can be seen that objects 29 and 60 have a similar pattern. They also have both got yellow enamel applied to the base itself.

Putting these two vases side by side a few other similarities can be seen, not least that they are both dragon and phoenix vases. There is certainly not enough evidence to be sure of a deeper link however.

Object 60. Vase     height 46.2 cm   weight 1588 gm.

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