This bowl is larger than a typical tea bowl, and its exact use remains unclear. The material is stonewarean opaque ceramic fired between 1100°C and 1300°C to a “stony” hardness that may be buff, gray, or brown in color. with iron glazeceramic glaze composed of iron and oxygen chemical compounds that produces warm colors ranging from tan to dark brown.. Some teas of this period were prepared with scallions, ginger, orange peel, jujubes, and other solid ingredients that may have made a larger bowl desirable. Tea was often prepared in the bowl by whipping a spoonful of powder in boiling water using a bamboo whisk. The white froth contrasted with the dark color of the bowl.
The piece has been dated to the twelfth century during the Song dynastya series of rulers from a single family. (960–1279). This period saw a shift from wood- to coal-fired kilns for producing ceramics, mainly in northern China. Each ceramicpots and other articles made from clay hardened by heat. reflects its raw materials as well as its potter’s techniques. Profound differences in the geological makeup of northern and southern China contributed to each major kilna type of oven for firing clay or porcelain to make ceramic ware. producing a signature “brand ware” influenced by available resources. At the same time, flourishing trade during the Song dynasty promoted kilns across the empire to develop ways to mimic other popular wares.
This bowl is significant for its “oil spot” glazea thin, glass-like coating made of powdered rocks, minerals, ashes, and water. Applied correctly it makes a clay body impervious after firing. The colors of glaze are determined by the mineral oxides used and various aspects of the firing conditions.. In their book Hare's Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers: Chinese Brown- and Black-glazed Ceramics, 400–1400, Mowry, Farrell, and Rousmaniere write, “The so-called oil spots formed when iron compounds segregated themselves from the iron-saturated glaze during firing and crystallized on the surface during cooling” (1996, 33). They add, “Oil-spot glazes may well have been invented at the Jian(jee-en) kilns in Fujian(foo-jee-en) province.”
Mowry, Farrell, and Rousmaniere continue, “During the late Northern Song, when Jian tea bowls were at the height of their popularity, connoisseurspeople who have a great deal of knowledge about the fine arts, or are expert judges in matters of visual taste. of tea naturally used bowls made at the Jian kilns. After the fall of Northern Song in 1127 and the subsequent partitioning of China into Jin(jin) in the north and Southern Song (1127-1279) in the south, commerce between north and south was seriously curtailed. Inheritors of Northern Song culture, the citizens of the Jin state no doubt found their beloved Jian tea bowls unavailable on the market, since they were produced in the southern province of Fujian. Within that context, the various Cizhou(tsz-joe) kilns likely found a market for high quality imitations of Jian tea bowls in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries – a market that would have been unthinkable just a few decades earlier” (33).