Height: 21.900 cm
Purchased with the assistance of public subsription from the George Eumorfopoulos Collection
Asia OA 1936.10-12.26
Room 33: Asia
Ding ware vase
From Hebei province, northern
Song dynasty (11th-12th century AD)
A rare porcelain Ding ware vase
Connoisseurs include Ding wares among the 'five great wares' of Song-dynasty China, along with Ru, Jun, Guan and Ge. They were made at the Ding kilns in Hebei province in northern China, from the eighth century until the thirteenth or fourteenth century. They were popular in the imperial palace in the Northern Song period (AD 960-1126), which was the high point of their production.
Ding wares are characterized by a finely potted, lightweight body and a warm, ivory-coloured glaze. The most common shapes are bowls and dishes. Early Ding wares were decorated by incising, but in the late eleventh and early twelfth century, potters began to use moulds, which allowed mass production.
This vase is a comparatively rare shape for Ding ware, because it was difficult to make the neck so long and slender. Similarly-shaped vases based on silverware forms were also produced at the Ru and Guan kilns during the Song dynasty (AD 960-1278). Elegance of form and subtlety of glaze were hallmarks of imperial taste at this time.
J. Harrison-Hall, 'Ding and other whitewares of northern China' in Pottery in the making: world-8 (London, The British Museum Press, 1997), pp. 182-87
S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)
J. Rawson (ed.), The British Museum book of Chi (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)