Diameter: 14.300 cm
Bequeathed by Mrs B.Z. Seligman
Asia OA 1973.7-26.279
Room 33: Asia
Jizhou tea bowl
From Jiangxi province, southern
Song dynasty (AD 960-1279)
Decorated with a real leaf
Jizhou wares were produced at a small number of kilns, named after the nearby market town in Jiangxi province. The kilns probably began production in the Tang dynasty (618-906), reached their height in the Song dynasty (960-1279) and closed down in the fourteenth century. A natural disaster, which is still unidentified, caused their end.
The Jizhou kilns produced a varied range of ceramics, though the best known are tea bowls. Some of the decorative techniques are found nowhere else in China. This bowl is decorated with a single leaf on the inside. The leaf was stuck onto the glazed, unfired body. During the firing process, the leaf was burnt out, leaving its skeleton pattern. Paper cuts were also used in this way.
Tea bowls hold a special place in the history of Chinese ceramics. Tea drinking became widespread during the Tang dynasty and remained popular throughout the Song. The ceramics used in tea drinking were an important part of the ritual. Black tea wares from south China were used by the emperor, as well as monks, scholars and ordinary people. Tea bowls have long been particularly prized in Japan, where they are known as temmoku.
M. Medley, The Chinese potter: a practica (Phaidon Press Limited, 1989)
S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)