Conical Tea Bowl, Song dynasty (960-1279). Jian ware; stoneware with dark brown « hare’s fur » glaze. H. 6.3 cm (2 1/2 in.); diam. 12.6 cm (4 15/16 in.). Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection, 1924.327. Art Institute of Chicago ©2015 The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60603-640
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.
Jian ware tea bowl, China, Fujian province, Song dynasty (960-1279), stoneware, tenmoku glaze, silver rim, 6.9 x 12.4 cm. Purchased 1965. EC4.1965. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (C) Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
The tea bowl was made in the Song dynasty (960-1279) in the south-eastern province of Fujian and was a type of stoneware produced in vast quantities for everyday use. Its appeal is in its glaze colour and texture and in the well-potted functional form. These bowls, of which this is an exceptionally fine example, were made near Jianning, in northern Fujian, probably from about the 10th century onwards. They are especially prized by the Japanese for use in the ceremonial drinking of tea which the form and the glaze would have been considered particularly appropriate. The Japanese name ‘tenmoku’ is thought to be a corruption of Tianmu, a mountain close to Hangzhou from which the ware may have been shipped.
The body material is a dark brown stoneware covered in this example, with a thick, lustrous, dark blue-black glaze streaked with yellow (an effect commonly known as « hare’s fur »). The colour is light brown near the mouth, having run thin there, to an extent causing some roughness at the rim. For this reason, the bowls are often metal bound, as with this bowl which has a swaged silver rim. These ferric oxide glazes were very viscous, which is indicated by the flow on the exterior, where the glaze has collected in a heavy roll some distance from the foot.
J.H. Myrtle, AGNSW Quarterly, July 1965.
Jian ware tea bowl, 12th century-13th century, China, Song dynasty (960-1279), 6.3 x 12.3 cm (irreg.). Bequest of Eleanor Hinder through her executors 1979. 92.1979. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (C) Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney