Often when we see a design with a phoenix or houou bird it is combined with a dragon. In some analyses they represent yin and yang. Usually the pair are ‘caged’ within shields to make them part of a regular design. Here however the houou bird is freed to fly around the central area of the vase and no dragon is in sight.
In this example it seems strange that the houou bird design seems a little weak in facial detail. As it is a central design element a more defined expression would have helped the attractiveness of the vase. See the designs below from other objects – not least object 16 which gave us a houou bird with style.
The remainder of this vase has a very curvy design. It has similarities in this with a few previous objects but there is nothing to associate it closely with any of those. Indeed this has the feeling of an offering from a new entrant to the market, technically competent but still trying to establish themselves with a rounded product.
There is a lot to like about this vase, for example these ’roundel’ elements towards the neck of the vase. It would be interesting to know how this workshop evolved the overall design – unless of course they did not survive in this very competitive market long enough to do so. Hopefully objects will emerge in the future to answer that question.
Object 62. Vase height 15.3 cm weight 255 gm.
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