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Tea Bowl (yan-kou wan), 12th-13th century. Jian ware. Dark-brown stoneware with dark-brown glaze and iron oxide markings, 2 15/16 x 5 1/4 in. (7.5 x 13.34 cm). Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton 2000.209.1 ©2014 Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

Highly respected items of the court during the reign of Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-1125), Jian ware tea bowls from Jiangsu province came in two sizes; this classic example can be considered the larger variety. Appearing bluish black, a deep brown glaze covers the bowl stopping in a thick welt above the foot. Because the molten glaze crawled downward in firing, the lip is left virtually unglazed. In the upper portions, a dense pattern of russet streaks known as « hare’s-fur » extend from the lip toward the vessel floor, both inside and outside the deep bowl. Northern Song (960-1127) texts suggest that these distinctly glazed bowls were used to prepare the white whipped tea then in vogue.