Chinese / Dish / Northern Song period, early 12th centuryChinese
Northern Song period, early 12th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Dish
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1101
Creation End Date: 1133
Creation Date: Northern Song period, early 12th century
Creation Place: China, Hebei Province
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Porcelain with molded design under glaze (Ding ware)
Dimensions: H. 2 in. (5.1 cm); D. 9 in. (22.9 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.140
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: Ceramics made in China during the Song period (960-1279) are among the most influential and revered in the world: they are noted for their elegant, simple shapes, their lush glazes, and their lively designs. These ceramics are admired in part because of the complicated and varied technologies used in their manufacture. Since the late 12th and early 13th centuries, five of the wares produced during this period--Ding, Ru, Jun, Guan, and Ge--have been designated the "five great wares" of China.

The design of a dragon chasing a pearl among swirling clouds found on the interior of this dish dated to the early 12th century exemplifies the style of decoration made using molds, an innovation introduced at the Ding kilns. However, the dish is both denser and more complex than the typically more elegant Ding output. The clarity of the design on this dish suggests that it may have been one of the first pieces made from a mold, for after a mold has been used, its impression is not as precise.

Some of the changes seen in ceramics produced at the Ding kilns after the second decade of the 12th century may illustrate the taste of the Jin rulers, who usurped control of northern China from the Song rulers in 1115 (forcing the latter to flee south, where they established the Southern Song dynasty). The use of a four-clawed dragon to decorate an early 12th-century dish of extremely high quality is interesting, particularly in light of the changing notions about the role of court patronage in the production of Song-period ceramics. The dragon was often used as a symbol of imperial power in China; from at least the 14th century, five-clawed dragons were used in ceramics and the decorative arts to symbolize the emperor, and four-clawed dragons often decorate objects that were intended to be used as imperial gifts. The high quality of this dish and its decoration suggest that it may have been made for distribution by the court, either in the first decade of the 12th century during
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 65.
Related Document Description: Mowry, Robert D. 'The Sophistication of Song Dynasty Ceramics.' Apollo (November 1983), p. 396.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 116, 117.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 76, 134-35.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.140
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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