Guan ware bowl

Historical period(s)
Southern Song dynasty, 12th-13th century
Stoneware with Guan glaze
Guan ware
H x W: 4.3 x 13.6 cm (1 11/16 x 5 3/8 in)
China, Zhejiang province, Hangzhou, Jiaotanxia kiln
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 13: Looking Out, Looking In: Art in Late Imperial China
Ceramic, Vessel


China, Guan ware, Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware

Robert W. deForest (1848-1931). [1]

To 1932
Yamanaka & Co., New York. [2]

From 1932
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Yamanaka & Co., New York. [3]


[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Yamanaka and Co.
Robert W. deForest 1848-1931


Guan ware pieces are usually covered with two to four layers of glaze, which create an unctuous, jadelike texture. The body of authentic Guan ware is often thinner than the glaze coating, but where the glaze thins at the edges, a "purple mouth and iron foot" show through because of the dark body, caused by the high iron content of the clay. Intentional crackle provides the sole ornamentation for this piece, which is representative of the restrained elegance of Song dynasty (960–1279) imperial taste.

Published References
  • Daniel Rhodes. Clay and Glazes for the Potter. Arts and Crafts Series New York. b/w pp. 32 & 33.
  • Oriental Ceramics (Toyo Toji Taikan): The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. pl. 42.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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