Jian ware tea bowl with silver band on rim

Historical period(s)
Northern Song or Southern Song dynasty, 12th-13th century
Stoneware with iron glaze; silver rim
Jian ware
H x Diam: 7.3 × 12.7 cm (2 7/8 × 5 in)
China, Fujian province, Jian kilns
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 15: Setting the Bar: Arts of the Song Dynasty
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea bowl (tenmoku)

brown and black glaze, China, Jian ware, Northern Song dynasty (960 - 1127), Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, tea

To 1897
Yamanaka & Company, to 1897 [1]

From 1897 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1897 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 460, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source) 1917 - 1965


The tea-bowl shape called temmoku in Japanese originated at the Jian kilns in China's Fujian Province. In the imperial court of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), black- or brown-glazed Jian ware bowls were considered the best color and shape for enhancing the chartreuse color of the tea. In Japan, temmoku tea bowls were used in formal teas to serve honored guests. Crystallization of the iron in the glaze on this bowl has created an iridescent surface and the silvery pattern known as "hare's fur."

Published References
  • Sigisbert Chrétien Bosch Reitz. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Early Chinese Pottery and Sculpture. Exh. cat. New York. fig. 238.
  • Around Chigusa: Tea and The Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan. Princeton, New Jersey. p. 49, fig. 6.
  • Louise Allison Cort. Early Modern Merchants as Collectors. Abingdon, Oxon England, 12/19/2016. p. 50, fig. 3.1.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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