Black glazed stoneware saucer with milky-blue splashes
A small stoneware shallow saucer of circular form, the low sloping sides terminating in an everted lip with the body supported on short circular foot. The interior and the exterior of the saucer are covered in a thick dark brown glaze with that stops well short of the foot, and the milky-blue splashes are applied around the rim and radiate unto the brown glaze. The unglazed foot and slightly concave base show the fine and smooth greyish-buff stoneware body.
This vibrant ‘splashed’ black glazed saucer, known in Chinese as hua you ci (literally meaning ‘floral glazed ceramics’) is one of the finest examples of its kind. Famously produced in Henan province, notably at the Lushan and Huangdao kilns, the splashed effects were achieved by applying ash-rich mixtures to the raw black-ware glazes before they were fired. It seems possible that this style of wares was inspired by ash-slag dripping from the insides of the wood-fired black ware kilns in the Tang dynasty. The magnificent and striking glaze effect seems to have lead to the development of Henan jun wares – hence, it is also known as Tang jun, the jun ware of the Tang dynasty.  The most famous example of Tang splashed wares is a narrow-waisted barbarian drum in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing.  The museum researcher investigated the Lushan kiln at Henan province in the 1970s and proved the drum was produced by this kiln. A slightly larger three-footed circular plate, closely comparable in the splashed effect on its black glaze and dated to the Tang dynasty, is also in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing.  A large Tang dish with comparable glaze effect, with everted lip and splayed foot, from the Sir Alan and Lady Barlow collection, is now in the British Museum (fig.1).  A further comparable bowl with similar milky-blue splashes on the inside and the upper part of the outside, dated to the Tang dynasty, 8th or 9th century, is in the Meiyintang collection. 
- Wood, N. Chinese Glazes – Their Origins, Chemistry and Recreation, A&C Black, London, 1999, p. 141
- The Palace Museum, Beijing online collection archive, http://www.dpm.org.cn/collection/ceramic/226730.html
- Li, Hue Bin ed. Porcelain of the Jin and Tang Dynasties – The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, The Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 188, p. 203
- Sullivan, M. Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Jades in the Collection of Sir Alan and Lady Barlow, Faber, London, 1963, no. 19a, p. 31; also see the British Museum online collection archive, registration number 1967m1212.2
- Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang collection, Vol. Three (II), Paradou Writing, London, 2006, no. 1375, pp. 366-7