Chayang ware tea bowl in style of Jian ware

Historical period(s)
Southern Song or Yuan dynasty, 13th-14th century
Stoneware with iron glaze; silver rim; trace of lacquer on foot
Chayang ware
H x Diam: 6.7 × 12.6 cm (2 5/8 × 4 15/16 in)
China, Fujian province, Nanping, Chayang kiln
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea bowl (haikatsugi tenmoku)

brown and black glaze, Chayang ware, China, iridescence, Jian ware, Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, tea, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)

To 1902
William Cleverly Alexander, London, England to 1902 [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), given by William Cleverly Alexander, London, England in 1902 [2]

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


[1] Object file.

[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) and Custodian(s)

William Cleverly Alexander (C.L. Freer source) 1840-1916
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Novel customs of tea preparation in China during the eighth through thirteenth centuries inspired a new type of tea bowl--wide enough so one could insert a bamboo whisk for whipping the powdered tea with hot water in the bowl, and heavy enough to retain the heat. Tea drinkers believed the beverage's white froth looked best in a bowl of a contrasting dark color. The most favored tea bowls were made at the Jian kilns in Fujian province, in south China. The great popularity of Jian ware led to fierce competition from other kilns that made imitations. This imitation uses white clay rather than the dark brown clay typical of Jian ware. Its base bears remains of a cipher written in red lacquer--probably a mark to show that it once belonged to a Buddhist temple or warrior in Japan, where Jian-style tea bowls were in demand for drinking Chinese-style tea.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 134.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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