Tea bowl

DATE: 960-1279 (made)
PLACE: Fujian Province
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Stoneware with iron glaze

During the Song Dynasty, when China was experiencing a revival in both culture and the arts, the production of Chinese ceramics flourished. Kilns emerged in various regions across the country, each producing their own specialised wares. Chinese ceramics were often named after the town within which the kiln operated; this tea bowl was produced in the Jian kilns, in Fujian Province. Jian wares, with their iron-rich dark body and black glaze, are often characterised by fine brown streaks which is known colloquially as ‘hare’s fur’. As Chinese tea masters were regarded as arbiters of taste and morality, the tea bowls that they used were often aptly glazed in humble and subdued colours. Such tea bowls were used in the fashionable tea parties of the Song Dynasty and earned the admiration of Emperor Huizong (8th Emperor of the Song Dynasty, r.1101-1125) who described their value in his treatise on tea, Dà guān chá lùn.