Chinese Jian ware ‘hare’s fur’ temmoku teabowl of deep conical form covered overall with a thick black ground and iron glaze, thinning towards the rust coloured rim with a concave finger groove on the exterior rim, the glaze pooling above the brown stoneware high-fired biscuit body above a slightly recessed base and a short foot rim.
4 3/8 inches, 11.1 cm diameter.
Southern Song Dynasty, Jian kilns, Fujian Province, 12th – 13th century.
- Formerly in the Feng Wen Tang Collection.
- A similar teabowl is included by Lee Hong in Porcelains from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, nos. 51 & 52; another is included by Li Huibing in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (II), The Complete Collection of Treasures in the Palace Museum, Beijing, Volume 33, no. 206, p. 224; another was included by John Ayers, Margaret Medley and Nigel Wood in the exhibition of Iron in the Fire, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1988, no. 50, p. 57, where the authors note, ‘Jian wares are perhaps the most famous of all temmoku wares. The glazes were high-fired (1250°-1350°C) and contained about 5-8% iron oxides; the bodies are unusually iron-rich, averaging about 8%. This bowl shows dissolved iron oxide in the black areas and crystallized ferric oxide towards the rim’; two further similar examples are included in Illustrated Catalogues of Tokyo National Museum, Chinese Ceramics, nos. 347 & 348, p. 85.
- Another similar teabowl, in the Percival David Foundation, The British Museum, is included by Margaret Medley in The Chinese Potter, A Practical History of Chinese Ceramics, Fig. 123, p. 163, where the author notes, ‘The material is a very hard, coarse grained, but well compacted dark brown or blackish stoneware. It is covered inside and about two thirds of the way down the outside with a thick glaze coloured with iron oxide in varying percentages, from about two per cent toten per cent or more according to the colour and glaze effect desired. Low iron content yielded a pale glossy, yellowish brown, often transparent, glaze, while the high percentage produced the true streaked hare’s fur effect, with the metallic iron being precipitated out on the surface as the result of a short period of reduction (Fig. 123). The low viscosity of the glaze encouraged the streaks as the glaze ran down in melting towards the foot to congeal on cooling into a thick welt or in black treacly globules; it also tended to pool thickly inside the bowls. The disadvantage of such a glaze, which probably had a short firing range and so melted rather suddenly at a particular temperature, was that it ran down so fast that the coarse grain of the clay body was inevitably revealed at the lip where only a very thin covering remained.’
- Another ‘hare’s fur’ teabowl of similar form, from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, was included by Robert D. Mowry in the exhibition of Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers, Chinese Brown- and Black- Glazed Ceramics, 400 – 1400, 1996, no. 79, pp. 213/4, where the author notes, ‘It is often said that yankou wan bowls were created with steeply pitched walls to make them easy to hold when drinking tea; it is also stated that they were given indented rims to make them comfortable for drinking, the indentation nicely accommodating lips and index fingers alike.’
建窑兔毫盞 南宋 十二至十三世紀 奉文堂舊藏
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