Chinese / Tea Bowl / Southern Song period, 12th-13th centuryChinese
Tea Bowl
Southern Song period, 12th-13th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Tea Bowl
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1100
Creation End Date: 1299
Creation Date: Southern Song period, 12th-13th century
Creation Place: China, Fujian Province
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware with glaze with iron 'hare's fur' and painted with overglaze iron-brown slip, the rim bound with silver (Jian ware)
Dimensions: H. 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm); D. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.145
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, lush glazes, and lively designs. These ceramics are admired in part because of the complicated and varied technologies used in their manufacture. Song ceramics are categorized into wares that often take the names of their areas of production. Jian wares, such as the small tea bowl seen here, were produced in Fujian Province and used throughout China at all levels of society. The "hare's fur" glaze effect on this bowl was created when excess iron in the glaze rose to the surface during firing. This particular tea bowl is unusual because plum blossoms have been painted over the glaze in a brown slip. This extra level of decoration is uncommon in Jian ware and suggests that the bowl was produced for an important patron.

The enormous popularity of Jian ware during the Song period may reflect the importance of tea drinking at this time. Tea drinking had become popular during the Tang dynasty (618-906) and continued to be throughout the Song period. Both the author of the 11th-century Notes on Tea (Cha Lu) and the 12th-century ruler Huizong (r. 1101-1125) are known to have preferred black tea bowls over white or green ones because they better displayed the white color of whisked tea. This type of tea, made from powder rather than leaves, was popular in Song China, and its use spread to Japan, where it was incorporated into the tea ceremony.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 67.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd--Part II. New York: Asia Society, 1975, pp. 46, 96.
Related Document Description: Mowry, Robert D. 'The Sophistication of Song Dynasty Ceramics.' Apollo (November 1983), pp. 401-02.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.145
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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