Saturday, September 29, 2012


The cup and its elaborately worked domed cover, finely chased and repousse worked with Buddhist auspicious symbols; with a splayed lotus form finial and a coral bead knop. Jade cup a later addition.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Rosewood (Hong Mu) table top, gatelegs, lower tray, all skillfully carved in a faux bamboo manner.

Mid-19th Century

Good condition

Height: 29 ", Diameter: 27"

Sunday, September 23, 2012



Massive carved elm wood (keyaki) teapot hangar (daikoku) showing two posts for suspension from the ceiling and a comma-shaped carved niche for suspending the teapot

Edo Period, (19th Century)

Good condition.

Height: 19", Depth: 6.5", Width 17"

Friday, September 21, 2012


Japanese ceramic tea container (chatsubo) decorated in vivid gold, colored enamels and gossu blue, depicting gatherings of people drinking tea. With a Vermeil silver cover.

Signed: Kinseido Hekizan.

Meijii Period, (Circa 1875)

Height: 12", Depth: 10", Width: 10"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012



Chinese export punch pot decorated with sprays of peonies in repeat segments

Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Reign (1662-1722)

Height: 9", Width: 11"

Monday, September 17, 2012


Square, cut-corner body surmounted by a faux bois enamelled high arching handle and decorated in brilliant yellow, red, green, blue and gold overglaze enamels depicting rocks, flowers and butterflies.

Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period (1662-1722)

Height 7.75”

Saturday, September 15, 2012


The Gently Lobed Cup and Lobed Stand Each Form a Delicate Hexagon. The Bluish White Glazed Qingbai Ware.

Northern Song Dynasty
(960-1143 A.D.)

Condition: Good condition, except for the loss of two ornaments at the top ridge.

Condition: Very good
Height: 3.5"
Cup stand diameter: 5"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

White Pottery

White pottery is a kind of pottery whose outside and inside are all white. The greenware is mostly made by hand. It uses porcelain clay or kaolinite, which contain less iron than figuline, and is fired at a temperature of about 1000 ℃. In the late Shang Dynasty (13th century - 11th century BC), the emergence and application of white pottery with carved patterns marked the new achievement in the history of Chinese pottery. The hardness, fire resistance and water-absorbing capacity saw much improvement, so we consider the white pottery the indication of the leap from pottery to China.

A white pottery vase with geometrical patterns of the Shang Dynasty was excavated from the Yin Ruins in Anyang of Henan Province, and it is the representative of white pottery with carved patterns in the Shang Dynasty. It is 20 centimeters tall in total with a caliber of 18.5 centimeters, and was made by imitating the pattern of bronze ware. The body of the vase is spherical, the mouth becomes narrow, and the pitch at the shoulder part is large. The bottom is round with a ring foot. The whole work looks rounded and stately. The body of the vase is covered with patterns. The main patterns in rilievi and the detailed shadings form a florid design. The concave and protuberant, the distant and dense patterns were naturally combined to create a clear gradation.
Now the vase is in the Palace Museum.
Due to the hardness, lustration, and fine craftsmanship, white potteries became the objects used exclusively by slaveholders. In the later period of the Shang Dynasty, white potteries tended to be more and more fussy and refined, so the top-notch white potteries were mostly from this period. After the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century - 771BC), white pottery was in decline due to the emergence of hard pottery with printed patterns and primitive China.

By Explore Cultural China

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Jun Kiln

The Jun kilns were based in Henan Province and had locations throughout its Yu County. As of today, over 100 kiln sites have been discovered. Some of which specially produced porcelain ware for the imperial courts, with a history that dated back to the Tang Dynasty; its most flourishing period was during the Song Dynasty. the unique feature of Jun porcelain lied with its special turbid glaze, which contained low concentrates of copper oxide.

If we consider iron oxide the coloring agents for celadon and black porcelain, then Jun porcelain gained its wonderful hues from copper oxide. Copper turns green in oxidation fire and red instead in reduction atmosphere. Due to the small traces of copper oxide in Jun porcelain glaze, its color was often green infused with violet, as if the rosy clouds during sunset. Even the blue contained in Jun porcelain was different from the usual celadon; it was a blue with a milky tone. The successful creation of Jun porcelain was a great achievement by the craftsmen of the song Dynasty. its mysterious and unpredictable colors have gained the love of the people during its time, making the Jun kilns one of the most famous around.
By using copper oxides as the pigment, the Jun kilns successfully produced copper-red glaze in a reduction fire. This was a breakthrough in the technology of ceramics. Adding copper oxide as coloring agent was a rather difficult task, as the chemical components in the basic glaze, the temperature and atmosphere were all very sensitive factors. Even the smallest bit of deviation from the requirements would have resulted in an undesirable shade of red. 

Another distinguishing feature of Jun porcelain glaze would be the pattern referred to as “earthworm crawling in the mud” 蚯蚓走泥纹. It appeared as if the trails left in the soil by earthworms. This was a result of the glaze being particularly thick in Jun ware. When in the process of baking, under low temperature, the glaze began to chap. When the temperature was raised, glaze that had not congealed flowed back into the crackled creases. Just as the crackle glaze, this defect in firing technology turned into a kind of rich and unique decorative language. There is a saying that no two pieces of Jun porcelain are identical, which means that even porcelain born of the same kiln are somewhat different, as most of the coloring is done through a natural process; people have little control over the glaze color. However, this type of natural formation was the highest ideal in aesthetics at the time.
Jun porcelain vessels such as flower pots, cauldrons, writing-brush washbasins and more; all modeled after ancient bronze vessels used for rituals. 

Thus Jun porcelain appeared detail. There were similarities between Jun porcelain and those of the Imperial, Ru and other kilns of the same time period, because they were all intended for serving the courts. Flowers and floral patterns were the fashionable form of decoration for porcelain at this time. However, Jun porcelain used not patterned decorations but the vessels themselves came in the shapes of flowers. Commonly seen were toilet cases, flowerpots, flat bowls and writing-brush washbasins in the shape of Chinese crabapple flowers; flowerpots and pot bases in the shape of lotuses; as well as pot bases made to resemble sunflowers. It was a truly unique feature of the Jun Kilns.
source: Chinese Ceramics, published by China International Press

By Explore Cultural China

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tea Bowl - Jian Ware

Song dynasty, 960-1279; Jian ware
Fujian Province, China
Stoneware with hare's-fur glaze
Diam. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
The Jian ware temmoku tea bowls of Fujian Province have long been appreciated in Japan; indeed, the term temmoku itself is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese Tianmu Shan, a mountain where, according to tradition, Japanese Buddhist priests visited a Buddhist temple and acquired some of these bowls to take back to Japan. The Jian tea bowls are fairly uniform in potting, with dark, coarse-grained stoneware bodies and lustrous bluish black or brownish black glazes that generally are shot through with brownish streaks likened to "hare's fur." Occasionally, as in this fine bowl, the glaze exhibits a multicolor surface iridescence as light plays across it.

By Explore Cultural China

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mixed-Glaze Bowl with Lid Covered with Lotus Patterns against Gold Background

Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Reign
On this bowl, mixed glaze flower patterns are applied over the gold background. The flowers look more sumptuous and gorgeous against gold.

By Explore Cultural China

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jian Kiln

The Jianyang Kiln 建阳窑 , also known as the Jian Kiln 建窑 , was a famous kiln in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and was located in Jianyang of East China's Fujian Province. The kiln was known for its production of the famous black porcelain, which was first made during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), flourished in the Song Dynasty, especially during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), and declined by the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The black porcelain of Jian ware had a purplish black paste and a thick lustrous black glaze. A silver gloss showing through the black glaze resembled rabbit hair, partridge feathers, or oil spots.
Small "rabbit-hair" cups were the most popular items of Jian ware and were preferred for the tea-tasting contests prevalent in the Song Dynasty.

Recommended Website:
Jianyang Museum
By Explore Cultural China

Monday, September 3, 2012

Longquan Kilns

The porcelain of Longquan ware represented a great school of southern celadon that arose in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It was manufactured in fairly vast areas in the southwestern part of East China's Zhejiang Province. The sites of former celadon kilns and workshops are found throughout the counties of Lishui, Suichang, Yuehe, Qingtian, and Longquan on the upper Oujiang River, with Longquan as the production center. There were also many kiln sites in Pucheng along the Songxi River in the northern part of East China's Fujian Province.

Since Longquan County was under the administration of Chuzhou, some records referred to Longquan kilns as Chuzhou kilns, and Longquan celadon as Chu ware. The region was rich in materials for porcelain manufacture: good-quality porcelain clay; purplish gold earth containing metal ore for preparing glaze ingredients; inexhaustible pine firewood; and plenty of water from the many rivers.
Despite mountainous barriers, the Oujiang River was navigable throughout the year, crossing Lishui and Qingtian to Wenzhou and Yongjia to reach the sea. Longquan celadon made rapid progress in the Song Dynasty due to its close contacts with commercial cities and towns as well as with foreign trade. It had a good market in different parts of China and dozens of other countries and regions.

Archaeological workers investigating Longquan celadon producing areas discovered the sites of 300-plus porcelain kilns and workshops. The center of ancient Longquan porcelain was around Dayao in Liutian Town, where the workers made scientific excavations at selected spots. During the Song Dynasty, the "dragon" kilns, 50 to 80 meters long, yielded close to 10,000 bowls and other vessels at one firing.
Liutian Town reportedly had 72 kilns in full-time operation, indicating a flourishing porcelain trade. Unearthed were simple and crude rectangular workshops, large and small brick-covered grounds for washing raw materials, and many hard stone pestles (club-shaped instrument) and iron implements for pounding china stone, as well as rectangular earthen ovens. In addition, the remains of potters' huts were found in the living quarters.

The finds at the excavations show that manufacture of Longquan ware celadon started on a small scale in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). The vessel shapes and glaze colors at this initial stage show this celadon followed the tradition of the Yue ware celadon in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907-960).
Influenced by Yue celadon technology, Longquan celadon developed in the Northern Song Dynasty. The representative works at the time were double-handled ewers (large wide-mouthed water jugs) with covers, ewers with multiple spouts, vases with blossoms, and bowls, all bearing stamps indicating their manufacture in 1080. Longquan celadon excelled after the Southern Song Dynasty.
Longquan ware was also called Di (younger brother) ware. It was said that two brothers, the elder named Zhang Sheng the First, and the younger Zhang Sheng the Second, were skilled at porcelain making, with their wares being greatly acclaimed among the people.
Southern Song Dynasty
Height: 31cm
Mouth diameter: 10cm
Foot diameter: 11.3cm
Inner contracted mouth, long and slim neck, sloping shoulder, flat, round and drooping belly, splayed ring foot, three raised strings on the neck and four in the mid-belly. Glaze is applied to both inner and outer surfaces. The base is white, and the ring foot takes on kiln red color. The celadon glaze applied to the vase looks green and translucent like jade. In particular, the raised part of the seven strings where the celadon glaze is thinly applied reveals its white base, forming a white line which is commonly called "chujin" (literally, showing veins). It is supposed to show the whiteness of the clay, setting off the beauty of the celadon glaze.
The celadon vase with raised string design represents the porcelain firing level of the Longquan Kiln at its prime time in the Southern Song Dynasty

The Annals of Chuzhou Prefecture states: "Zhang Sheng the Second directed Liutian kiln. We do not know when he lived. All vessels from Zhang Sheng the Second's kiln were remarkably blue and transparent, without blemish and like fine jade. A single vase or bowl often cost more than ten taels (approximately 12 ounces) of silver."
Of Chinese southern celadon, Southern Song Longquan ware boasted the best craftsmanship. Blue-green glaze was of many varieties, the best being kingfisher green, powder blue, and plum green. The paste was white with a blue tinge, fine, compact, and durable. The main vessel shapes were bowls, plates, shallow basins, vases, jars, and alms bowls.

Yuan Dynasty
Height: 25cm
Mouth diameter: 4.5cm
Foot diameter: 8.3cm
Straight mouth growing gradually broader downward, round belly contracted downward, ring foot slightly splayed. There is a curved long spout at one side of the pot, and a curved handle right opposite it. A flat lid with round knob is on the top. The design is graceful: the spout and the handle are arranged harmoniously, and so do the lid and the mouth. The pot is slim in the upper part and plump in the lower part, and the lines are smooth. Celadon glaze is applied to the whole pot, with the mouth and the foot revealing the base. The evenly-applied glaze is lustrous, plain, smooth and elegant.
By Explore Cultural China

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Xing Kiln

As one of the most famous kilns in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Xing Kiln 邢窑 was best known for its production of white porcelain. It was recorded that the kiln's was located in Neiqiu of North China's Hebei Province, which belonged to the Xing Prefecture during the Tang Dynasty, hence its name. The products of the Xing Kiln were on the list of tributes to the Imperial Courts.

Contemporary written records of that time show that "white porcelain from Xing Kiln is as white as silver and snow." Xing porcelain was known for its delicate and pure texture as well as its extreme hardness. Even today, when the ware is struck, it gives out a metallic sound.

The Xing porcelains were first produced at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, and flourished and gained tremendous fame across the world during the mid-Tang Dynasty. At the juncture of the Tang Dynasty and the Five Dynasties (907-960), the kiln gradually declined as Ding Kiln ware began to emerge.

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...