Jian stoneware bowl with ‘hare’s fur’ glaze
A small stoneware bowl, the steeply sloping sides rising from a short foot with recessed base and curving inwards slightly at the rim. The bowl is covered in several layers of brown and black glazes. The glossy streaked glaze covers the interior of the bowl and extends over the rim, stopping in an uneven line just short of the foot, where it shows characteristic teardrops. A dense pattern of russet ‘hare’s fur’ streaks extends from the rim towards the interior and exterior of the bowl. The unglazed part of the bowl shows the dense, fine-grained purple-coloured stoneware body.
This well potted and glazed small stoneware bowl is a fine example of jian ware. The shape, dark stoneware body and black glaze with ‘hare’s fur’ markings are typical features of the Jian kiln products in northern Fujian province. Due to its small size it was probably used originally for drinking wine. A very similar jian stoneware bowl of comparable size, decoration and shape is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing. Two other jian bowls, closely comparable both in size and in glaze, dated to the Northern Song dynasty (960 – 1127), are in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.3 Three larger jian bowls with ‘hare’s fur’ glaze are respectively in the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, and in the Muwen Tang collection.
Collection of Prof. Michael Besser, London
- Kwan, S., Song Ceramics- The Muwen Tang Collection series, Vol. 11, Hong Kong, 2012, p. 494
- Li, Huibing ed., Liang Song Ci Qi, vol.II- Gugong bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quaji, Shangwu yinshuguan, Hong Kong, no. 203, p. 221
- Kerr, R. Song Dynasty Ceramics, V&A Publications, London, 2004, nos. 117 & 117a, p. 115
- Mowry, R. D. Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers, Chinese Brown- and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-1400, Cambridge, Mass. 1995, no. 79, pp. 213-5
- Kwan, S. op. cit. nos. 211 & 212, pp. 488-491