Friday, August 31, 2012

Yellow Glaze Bowl

Ming Dynasty, Zhengde Reign
This yellow bowl was produced in the Ming Zhengde years. The color yellow enjoyed special status in China; it was the most prestigious color. It could be used only by thej imperial family, and its use was tightly controlled.

By Explore Cultural China

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ding Kiln

White glazed cup with saucer, Ding ware

Height: 8cm  Diameter of mouth: 11.5cm  Diameter of foot: 5.5cm
Production sites of Ding kilns were found in present day Quyang County, Hebei Province. Quyang County back in the Song Dynasty was within the Dingzhou region, hence the name Ding kilns. The history of the Ding kilns can be traced back based on unearthed specimens. There were white porcelains being made here as early as the Tang Dynasty; by the Five Dynasties Period, the porcelain business here was already booming. After the Northern Song Dynasty, Ding kilns were famous for its off-white glazes and other areas all strove to imitate Ding porcelain, which became the standard of white porcelain in China. 

Aside from white porcelain, the Ding kilns also produced black, crimson, and green glazed porcelain. Its technology and varieties in glaze colors were astonishing.
Early Ding porcelain was single colored with little or no decoration; by late-northern Song Dynasty however, there would be exquisite patterns on porcelain ware, which were engraved, etched or imprinted. The patterns were precisely laid out, with a clear sense of sections and layers; lines were clear and organized into loose and dense areas. Popular motifs included water waves, swimming fish, land animals, birds, flowers, and playful children. Peonies, lotuses, and pomegranates and so on were the most common floral motifs. Engraved floral décor was the principal way of ornamentation in early Song porcelain. Once the technique caught on, it was combined with comb-etched images as another form of ornamentation. 

For example, at the center part of a flare-lip dish, the image of a flower was first carved, then with a fine-toothed comb, the area within the outlines of the leaves were comb-etched, leaving parallel lines that represent veins of the leaves. The most popular motifs done in this technique were the lotus, peony and so on. Engravings usually relied on bamboo chips and knives, while comb-etchings relied on a tool similar in shape to a comb to leave orderly patterns on the body. The combined result was commonly referred to as bamboo outlines with brushed patters, with lines that were tidy and natural. Imprinted patterns on Ding porcelain first appeared in mid-northern Song Dynasty, and matured late in the dynasty. the patterned décor was often place on the insides of plates and bowls. 

White glazed water container marked with "Guan", Ding ware

Height: 6.4cm  Diameter of mouth: 5cm  Diameter of foot: 3.5cm
To make imprinted patterns, it would require a mold with engraved patterns, which is pressed onto the not yet dried surface of the clay body. Most often, the imprinted image would be a positive image and would have added thickness and can create a very special effect of depth when light strikes the object. The motifs and designs were normally borrowed from silk tapestry or gold and silverware produced in the Dingzhou area. Therefore, imprinted motifs on Ding porcelain have appeared to be mature in style right from the start, with very high artistic merits. It had quite an effect on imprinted designs of latter generations.

White glazed plate with a mallow-petal-shaped mouth, Ding ware

Height: 3.8cm  Diameter of mouth: 15.7cm  Diameter of foot: 8.5cm

The Song Dynasty Ding kilns produced vessels such as bowls, dishes, jars, cups, cases, vases, and pots, all for daily use. Vessels such as bowls with their large mouths and thinly cast bodies, needed to be overturned when fired in order to avoid deformation. Therefore at the mouth, there was the absence of glaze which felt quite astringent. High class items often have copper, gold or silver rims at the mouths. 

Stem-saucer in white glaze, Ding ware
Height: 6cm  Diameter of mouth: 14.4cm  Diameter of foot: 6.4cm
Rare items were the round-bottomed jars and baby-shaped pillows with forms that were realistic and cuddly. From today’s surviving examples of Ding kilns’ quality works, people have found especially valuable pieces which contained inscriptions, imprinted writing or handwritings.
Among the five great kilns of the Song Dynasty, only the Ding kilns produced white porcelain, and it was quite famous during its time. It was for a time offered as tribute to the imperial families but was then discontinued for an unclear cause. 

The official given reason was that Ding porcelain had unglazed parts. This was because Ding porcelain was produced through upside-down firing, and had no glaze at its mouth. However, Ding porcelain often had extensive gold, silver and copper edged around the unglazed rim. Therefore, some people believe that the real reason for discontinuing imperial use of Ding porcelain was not because of the unglazed areas. 

White glazed bowl marked with "Guan", Ding ware

Height: 6.6cm  Diameter of mouth: 17cm  Diameter of foot: 6cm
Instead, it was attributed to the aesthetic preferences of its times. The white of the Ding porcelain was turbid, opaque and bland. In order to counter such a drawback, most Ding wares were decorated with imprinted or engraved patterns. When compared to porcelain of the Ge, Imperial, Fu and Jun kilns, Ding porcelain contained more synthetic feature, which fell short of achieving the ideals of natural and subtle beauty in the Song Dynasty. for this reason, Ding porcelain did not quite capture the interest of the literati class, and may have been considered objects of somewhat vulgar taste and style.

White glazed saucer, Ding ware

Height: 3.3cm  Diameter of mouth: 13cm  Diameter of foot: 5.7cm

By Explore Cultural China

Monday, August 27, 2012

ShiWan Kiln

The Shiwan Kiln, located in Foshan of South China's Guangdong Province, began its porcelain business in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), though some argue that it began in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). In any event, the kiln reached its prime during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). The kiln has experienced further substantial developments since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Although the kiln is famous for its reproduction of the Jun Kiln wares, such products are not only duplicates, but also have some creative alterations. For instance, the Jun wares usually have one layer of glaze, while Shiwan reproductive works usually have two.

Besides the Jun Kiln wares, the Shiwan Kiln is also good at reproducing wares of the other famous kilns in the Song Dynasty like the Guan, Ge, and Ru kilns.
In the terms of the raw material, processing technologies, and artistic modeling used, since the Shiwan Kiln's inception, its wares have been very successful in reviving famous ancient porcelain works, while at the same time always having their own creative features. During this ever-ongoing process, the Shiwan Kiln has gradually formed its own artistic style, along with its fair share of famous ceramic masters.

Shiwan ceramic figurines, mainly featuring traditional Chinese themes, are a representative kind of the kiln's work. The artistic characteristics of thick glaze, vivid molding, and a multiple use of different skills and technologies have made the art form very popular both in China and abroad.
By Explore Cultural China

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Porcelain from Famous Kilns in the Tang Dynasty

Duck-shaped water dropper in white glaze with incised floral design, Xing ware
Length: 13.2cm  Height: 7.3cm  Diameter of mouth: 7.4 * 5.6cm
Incense burner with three feet, white glaze, Xing ware

Height: 5.6cm  Diameter of mouth: 3.9cm  Spacing of feet: 4.9cm
White glazed bowl, Ding ware

Height: 3.6cm  Diameter of mouth: 12.5cm  Diameter of foot: 5.2cm
Mallow-petal bowl in white glaze, Ding ware

Height: 3.7cm  Diameter of mouth: 12.6cm  Diameter of foot: 5.4cm
Green glazed bowl with a petal-shaped mouth, Yue ware

Height: 3.6cm  Diameter of mouth: 14.lcm  Diameter of bottom: 6.5cm

By Explore Cultural China

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DeHua Kiln

The first Dehua Kiln, whose white porcelain became a representative genre of the Chinese porcelain industry, was a famous kiln that specialized in white porcelain making. Its sites spread about within the scope of today's Dehua County, in East China's Fujian Province.
Dehua County in central Fujian Province is known as one of the Three Porcelain Capitals in China, together with Jingdezhen in East China's Jiangxi Province and Liling in Central China's Hunan Province.
Dehua porcelain dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Solid and smooth, Dehua porcelain is resistant to both heat and cold. One type of "Jianbai" porcelain in particular has a sparkle and luster even more stunning than white jade, and its ivory-white color and superb workmanship make it a favorite of art lovers.

The body of its white porcelain was low in iron but high in potassium, while the color of the glazed surface was of a bright, smooth luster, as milky as frozen fat. It was thus often called "lard white" or "ivory white." Dehua white porcelain used to be one of the major export varieties in various dynasties. In the West it was called the "Chinese white porcelain" or "Marco Polo porcelain."
The most common objects of Dehua porcelain were a burner, cup, bottle, plate, tin, Zun (a kind of wine vessel), and Ding (an ancient cooking vessel), which were often decorated with appliqués (kinds of ornament) and stamps; the porcelain figurine was also remarkably exquisite. In fact, the masterpiece of Dehua porcelain was the white porcelain figure of Buddha.
Among Dehua porcelains, white Buddha figures, the most famous, represented the highest firing technique of Dehua kilns at that time. With a refined design and an elegant touch, the white porcelain of Dehua kilns became a representative genre of Chinese porcelain industry in that period and was reputed as the Bright Pearl of Porcelain in the World.

Although by the Song and Yuan dynasties (960-1368), Dehua porcelains were already being exported to other countries and regions, it was during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that Dehua porcelain gradually developed its own techniques and styles and enjoyed great development.
In modern times, quite a few Dehua porcelains of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) have won gold prizes in expositions held both at home and abroad, such as Shanghai (East China), Taiwan Province, Japan, and Britain; in addition, Dehua porcelain is one of the main products of the national porcelain export, being exported to more than 80 countries and regions.

By Explore Cultural China

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yue Kiln Porcelain - Five Dynasties

Green glazed box with incised floral design, Yue ware

Height: 7cm  Diameter of mouth: 8.6cm  Diameter of foot: 5.9cm
Green glazed plate with a water-chestnut-shaped mouth, Yue ware
Height: 2.1cm  Diameter of mouth: 10.7cm  Diameter of bottom: 5.3cm
Covered box in green glaze, Yue ware

Height: 6.9cm  Diameter of mouth: 8.7cm  Diameter of foot: 5.6cm
Green glazed box with incised floral design, Yue ware

Height: 6cm  Diameter of mouth: 12.5cm  Diameter of foot: 8.1cm
Stem-alms-bowl decorated with incised lotus-petal design, green glaze, Yue ware

Height: 9.1cm  Diameter of mouth: 7.1cm  Diameter of foot: 6.5cm
Bird-shaped cup with a handle, green glaze, Yue ware

Height: 6.5cm  Diameter of mouth: 7.2cm  Diameter of foot: 5cm
By Explore Cultural China

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Guan Kiln

Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), 12th - 13th century; Guan ware
From the Hangzhou kilns, Zhejiang Province, China
Porcelaneous stoneware with crackled blue glaze; Diam. 8 11/16 in. (22.1 cm)

The outstanding feature of a family of ceramics known as Guan ("official") ware is a deep, rich glaze that reflects the Song delight in the soft colors of nature. The remarkable quality of the Guan glaze was achieved by applying it in many coats; this can be seen at the foot of this superb Guan dish, where the effect of the layering has been compared with the lines left on the shore by the receding tide. This dish is the embodiment of the sense of serenity that is the hallmark of Song pottery. Its glaze, which resembles the pale grayish blue of polished marble, can be fully appreciated only by running one's fingers over the surface. Guan wares were produced for the court in at least two groups of kilns in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, after the Southern Song capital was firmly established there.

By Explore Cultural China

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ru Kilns

The Ru kilns have been oft mentioned by the writings of the literati. However, it was not until 1987 that a kiln site was actually discovered in a monastery that fired porcelain for the imperial government. The Ru kilns produced porcelain for the court for only a short twenty some years; the rest of the time was devoted to porcelain ware for average citizen use. Therefore, porcelains made by the Ru kilns for the imperial court known today are few and rare piece of treasure (less than 100 specimens in existence today). Due to its rarity, imperial Ru wares were sometimes hailed during the Ming and Qing Dynasties as the best of the Song kilns.

According to the book About Ceramics from the Qing Dynasty, “Ru kilns were originally producers of celadon”. Archeological digs further proved that sky-blue celadon, black porcelain, celadon, and Song tri-colored ware existed during the same time. The Ru celadon wares in the permanent collections of the Beijing Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum and Tianjin Museum all had glazes of a light sky blue color. Some were relatively darker and some were a bit subtler; all were smooth with restrained luster. There were fine and dense crackles that resembled crackling of ice. The Chinese slang for this effect was “crab claw veins” (蟹爪纹).

When the Ru kilns fired celadon, the ware was first fired in oxidation flame, then in reduction flame. The temperature was kept at relatively low levels (1125 to 1225 degrees Celsius), followed by a period of natural cool down so as to cause crystallization in the glaze. The rich amounts of crystals covered more than half of the glazed area. Sparse air bubbles also formed. Since Ru celadon experienced good crystallization during the firing process, its glazed surfaces not only showed a sky-blue color, a jade-like turbidity was also present.

The sizes of most Ru porcelain vessels were usually rather small, none exceeded 30 cm in height; most were around 20 cm or so. The sizes of dishes, writing-brush basin, plates and other round wares were from 10 16 cm in diameter at the mouths. Those over 20 cm were very rare. The bodies of Ru porcelain were all quite thin and grayish in color. Round vessels such as plates and bowls were glazed in entirety, not exposing any areas of the body. Since these porcelains were fired while on extremely thin supporting stands, the back sides of most Ru wares had three to five very small burn marks. The ancients described these marks as “sesame-sized”.
source: Chinese Ceramics, pulished by China International Press

By Explore Cultural China

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ge Kiln

The Ge kilns had always been a mystery in the history of ceramics. Although authentic Ge porcelain wares are on display in the Beijing Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum and the Palace Museum of Taipei and so on, there is no surviving documentation from the Song dynasty, nor had any kiln sites ever been identified.

From existing Ge ware, we see all kinds of stoves, vases and dishes, including tripod cauldrons, cauldrons with fish-shaped handles, cauldron with glazed feet and double handles, cylindrical vases, thin-necked urns, bet bodied plates and so on, mostly imitating the design of ritualistic bronze ware and were intended from court use. Thus it had common elements with Ru and Imperial kilns but was very different from porcelain for the common people.

The most distinguished feature of Ge porcelain ware would be its crackling patterns. The surface of the glaze displays natural patterns such as ice-crackles, fine crackles, or fish egg crackles and so forth. The areas enclosed within the cracks can vary from the size of large chunks of ice to speckles as small as fish eggs. The actual crackle lines also vary in width and can be filled in with different colors such as black, gold or red. This effect is sometimes referred to as “gold and iron threads”. The crackling in the glaze is caused by differences in the degree of expansion of various parts of the glaze. This was originally an imperfection in technology, but was taken advantage of by porcelain artisans and made into added aesthetic element.

source: Chinese Ceramics, published by China International Press

By Explore Cultural China

Saturday, August 11, 2012

YiXing Kiln

The Yixing Kiln in Tixing of East China's Jiangsu Province has undergone great changed throughout its history. Celadon (glazed pottery) began to be fired at the kiln early in the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), porcelain was made. The kiln's most famous product, Zisha, or purple clay wares, began to be made in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), while the Zisha wares, especially the teapot, became famous across the country in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and reached its peak in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Zisha ware is made from the Yixing region's unique clay, which is fine and contains much iron content. Porcelain made of this kind of clay is mostly red brown, light yellow, and blackish purple. Zisha porcelain was popularized in the period from the Song Dynasty to the mid Ming Dynasty, due to the change of the ways of brewing tea.
People at that time brewed tea instead of boiling it, thus raising the need for teapots. In use, people found that the Zisha teapot was not only well designed but also a good choice for tea brewing. The body of the teapot could absorb some fragrance of the tea and keep it for a long time. The longer the teapot was used, the better the tea flavor.

The Zisha teapot had no glaze or bright color, a plainness that fit the aesthetic views and tastes of the higher classes, helping to make the teapot prevalent all around the country. In addition, the Zisha crafts absorbed the characteristics of the bronze craft of that time and also reflected the same style of the furniture.
Focusing on practical use, the Zisha teapots in the Ming Dynasty mainly adopted geometric designs that were simple but harmonious. The rough grains of the clay highlighted the plainness as well as the elegance of the vessels. Blemishes could always be found on the surface of the vessels because of the underdeveloped techniques at that time, while the colors of the vessels were always reddish brown and purple gray due to the material used and the firing time.
From Emperor Zhengde's reign to Emperor Wanli's reign (1505-1620) in the Ming Dynasty, the masters of Zisha teapot making - such as Gong Chun, Li Zhongfen, Shi Dabin, and Xu Youquan - made great contribution to the improvement and development of the Zisha teapot techniques.

By Explore Cultural China

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Procelain from the Yuan to the Qing Dynasties

Bright Red-Glazed Porcelain Bowl with High Stand, Yongle Period, Ming Dynasty
Height: 9.9cm
Mouth diameter: 15.8cm
Foot diameter: 4.2cm
Flared mouth, arched belly, slightly splayed long loop leg. The outer surface and the leg of the bowl are fully glazed in ruby red, and the inside surface is applied with white glaze and decorated with veiled patterns of cloud and dragons. There's a four-character veiled date mark "Yongle Nian Zhi"( Yongle Period") engraved in seal script in the middle of the inside bottom.

Gracefully shaped and evenly applied with flawless bright red glaze, the bowl is a rare treasure.
In the Yuan Dynasty, Jingdezhen already had the ability to mass-produce fine blue and white porcelain. Then during the Ming and Qing dynasties, many new types of wares were created. High quality porcelain with elegant shapes made Jingdezhen known as "the Capital of Porcelain". Ceramics-manufacturing crafts reached its zenith in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Tremendous varieties of vessel shapes, lustrous glaze colors and wonderful decoration designs of that period were conformative evidence. Famous brands included white Dehua wares from Fujian Province, Yixing Zisha (boccaro) wares from Jiangsu Province, and white Zhangzhou wares from Fujian Province. In the north, two important mass-produced wares were Fahua pottery from Shaanxi Province and Cizhou Kiln porcelain from Hebei Province.

Blue-and-White Handled Porcelain Pot with Phoenix-amid-Flowers Design, Yuan Dynasty
Height: 23.5cm
Mouth diameter: 4.7cm
Foot diameter: 7.3cm
Belly diameter: 13cm
Straight mouth, increasingly wider from the mouth down, thick neck, sagging belly, tapering off down sloping down from the lower belly, slightly splayed loop leg. There's a long curved spout that is thin on top and thick at the bottom on one side of the belly, and a ruyi-shaped handle with a small knob on top on the opposite side. The cover is flat-toped and has a knob shaped like a round bead. The bottom of the pot is white-glazed, bearing no date mark. The spout is decorated with flames and cloud, and the handle is decorated with such patterns as silver ingots and precious hairpins etc. And the cover is painted with chrysanthemum petal patterns. The body of the jar is decorated with blue and white patterns all over against the misty blue glaze background, with the patterns of phoenixes amid intertwining flowers painted on both sides of the belly and interspersed with fireball-shaped cloud and bamboos and rocks.   
The patterns on this pot are densely arranged, with the main-theme patterns standing out from all others. The arrangement is elaborate but not messy. The blue and white glaze penetrated deep into the base, bringing bright colors to the work. The pot is a rare work of pure colors of all blue-and-white porcelain articles handed down from the Yuan Dynasty.
Red-Underglazed Blue-and-White Handled Jar with Open-Carved Patterns, Yuan Dynasty
Height: 41cm
Mouth diameter: 15.5cm
Foot diameter: 18.5cm
Straight mouth, short neck, sloping shoulders, bulgy belly, loop leg, and unglazed sand bottom; The porcelain is thin on top and thick at the bottom and is fine in texture. The blue-and-white patterns are brightly colored, and the underglaze is slightly dark red. There's a cover with a lion-shaped knob on top of the jar.
The cover is stack-carved with a sitting lion-shaped knob on top, with three lines of blue-and-white lotus petals, curling grass, and labyrinth patterns around the surface below the knob. The body and the mouth edge of the jar are ringed with blue-and-white intertwining floral patterns and curling grass patterns respectively. The shoulders are decorated with hanging-down ruyi-shaped cloud patterns, in which blue-and-white lotus flowers on water waves are featured. There are intertwining peony patterns between every two cloud patterns. 
The belly is stack-carved with petal-edged paneled decorations in the shape of a diamond on four sides, with open-carved mountain rocks, peonies and other garden scenes of the four seasons inside the paneled decorations. The mountain rocks and flowers are applied with underglaze red, and the leaves are applied with blue and white. The patterns are created with a relief sculpture feel. The lower belly is decorated with blue-and-white intertwining lotus patterns in corresponding places with the cloud patterns on the shoulders. The area below the belly is adorned with curling grass patterns and variant lotus petal patterns, with downward-facing treasure flowers inside the lotus petal patterns.
The jar is full-bodied and adorned with patterns in clear layers. The making of this jar involves various techniques like painting, open-carving, sculpturing and sticking etc. The blue-and-white color and the red underglaze contrast nicely with each other, shining with the luster of red and blue.
Cobalt Blue-Glazed Plum Vase, Jiajing Period, Ming Dynasty
Height: 27.4cm
Mouth diameter: 3.8cm
Foot diameter: 8.6cm
Small mouth, short neck, broad shoulders, loop leg, increasingly wider from the shoulders to the belly, and tapering off from the belly down. The vase is fully applied with cobalt blue glaze in high temperature, with the area close to the bottom appearing purplish black due to thick accumulation of glaze. The inside of the loop leg is left unglazed.
The vase is simple and elegant in shape, covered with thick, even and sober glaze. The shiny vase is a masterpiece of cobalt blue-glazed porcelain ware of Jiajing Period in the Ming Dynasty.
Porcelain Bowl Painted with Enamel Peony Design against Yellow Background, Kangxi Period, Qing Dynasty
Height: 7.8cm
Mouth diameter: 15cm
Foot diameter: 6cm
Wide mouth, flared edge, gradually contracted from the edge to the slightly full belly, loop leg. The inside of the bowl is unadorned and the outside is applied with yellow as a background, against which blooming peonies, intertwining leaves and branches are pained in a riot of colors—red, blue, green, pink and pale pinkish purple etc. The bottom bears the date mark of four regular-script characters "Kangxi Yuzhi" (commissioned by Emperor Kangxi) in two lines inside a blue square.
The bowl, characterized by its elegant shape, rigorous painting, bright colors and superb craftsmanship, is a masterpiece of porcelain ware with enamel decoration in Kangxi Period.
Famille Rose Porcelain Vase with Peony Design, Yongzheng Period, Qing Dynasty
Height: 27.5cm
Mouth diameter: 6.3cm
Foot diameter: 8.6cm
Dish-like mouth, long and thin neck, long and round belly, splayed out from the belly down, loop leg. The vase is painted with peonies in a palette of colors—pink, tangerine, jadeite green, grass green and brown. The outside bottom bears the six-character blue date mark "Daqing Yongzheng Nian Zhi" (Yongzheng Period, the Great Qing Dynasty) in regular script in two lines. 
The vase is in perfect proportion, with smooth couture lines, well-arranged painting, sober colors and elaborate depicting of each and every petal and leaf, giving a lifelike feel. The vase is nothing short of a masterpiece of famille rose porcelain ware of Yongzheng Period.

Lotus Leaf-Shaped Famille Rose Porcelain Citron Plate, Qianlong Period, Qing Dynasty
Height: 3.8cm
Length: 15.7cm
Width: 10.5cm
The plate is shaped like a lotus leaf, which is partly folded and the stalk is twisted onto the leaf through branches from the reverse side. The edge of the leaf is stuck with lotus flowers in bud and seedpods with movable seeds. And there are legs shaped like river snails and water chestnuts stuck to the bottom, which bears the four-character blue date mark "Qianlong Nian Zhi" (Qianlong Period) in seal script.
What's known as "citron plate" is a small fruit tray placed in an ancient study for holding yellow citrons or fingered citrons, and the sweet smell of the fruit adds a lot of elegant taste to the study. This citron plate is exactly modeled after real items in the nature world in terms of its shape and glaze colors. The plate with lifelike colors and texture fully reflects the high skills of porcelain shaping and firing in the Qing Dynasty.
By Explore Cultural China

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cizhou Kiln Productions

Octagonal porcelain pillow
Song Dynasty
Height: 12cm
Length of the pillow top: 32cm, width: 23cm
Length of the bottom: 31cm, width: 21.5cm
Octagonal, both the top and the bottom having a rim, eight bamboo-node-shaped arrises at the pillar wall, a blowhole at the pillow back, unadorned background without glaze. On the pillow top a plucked peony flower is painted with black pigment against the white background, and the vein of the petal and leaves is also painted. Frames in black pigment are delineated at the border of the pillow top.
The pillow adorned with bamboo nodes was typical of porcelain produced in Cizhou Kiln in the Song Dynasty. The painting on the top is delicate and lifelike; the pillow is a high-grade product of the Cizhou Kiln.

Porcelain pillow with children playing pattern
Song Dynasty
Height: 10.4cm
Length: 29.9cm
Width: 22.5cm
The pillow is in round waist shape, the top being lower in the front and higher at the back. White glazed, the top and side are decorated with kids playing pattern in black pigment. The border of the pillow top is sketched with ruyi-shaped pattern and double raised lines, between which four groups of curled branch patterns are decorated. The side is adorned with simple flower and grass pattern. The theme pattern on the pillow is precisely sketched, delineating two kids playing together. A bird is perching on the head of one kid, who is surprised; the other kid seems quite exciting, and is about to catch the bird.
Though just a few sketches, the picture on the pillow is vivid and lifelike.

Porcelain pillow with bamboo pattern
Song Dynasty
Height: 10.5cm
Length: 28.3cm
Width: 19.8cm
The pillow is long polygonal shaped, with eight sides, and both the top and the bottom have a rim. Both the top and the eight side walls are adorned with black patterns against the white background: the top a grove of bamboos, and the side walls curly grass pattern.
Outline drawing is applied to the pattern on the pillow. The strokes are natural and smooth which vividly presents the straightness and flexibility of the bamboo grove, giving off the effect of traditional Chinese ink paintings. The bottom of the pillow is inscribed with the mark "zhang jia zao" (presumably the maker surnamed Zhang).

By Explore Cultural China

Winter is Coming - Ginger Tisane

 The warmth of summer is slowly fleeing as the September nights and mornings hint at the coming of winter. Ginger tisanes are perfect to pr...