Two Qingbai porcelain saucers

Two Qingbai porcelain saucers

China, Northern Song dynasty, 960 – 1127

Diameter: 4 1/2 inches, 11.5 cm

Two porcelain saucers in the form of an open chrysanthemum flower, each with a flat base and thinly potted, gently curved sides, which are divided into twelve lobes by raised ribs and by notches on the rim. The edge of the dishes is slightly everted. Both dishes are entirely undecorated and covered in a transparent glaze of pale blue hue, leaving only the base unglazed, showing the fine-grained white porcelain body and characteristic brown firing marks.


Porcelain dishes of this type are associated with the Hutian kilns at Jingdezhen. The qingbai effect, literally bluish-white colour, is the outcome of imitating a jade-like texture. The form was inspired by metal and lacquer wares of the Tang and Song dynasties, [1] and usually have an even number of lobes: six, eight, ten or twelve. A six-petal dish, made in the Hutian kiln, was previously in the Qing Court collection and is now in the Palace Museum, Beijing. [2] A foliate ten-lobed saucer, excavated from a tomb dated to 1090 AD in Pengze county, is in the Jiangxi Provincial Museum. [3] There are several comparable twelve-lobed qingbai dishes of similar size: one in the Victoria and Albert Museum; [4] two in the British Museum; [5] and two in the Kwan collection. [6] A set of four dishes, smaller in size is in the Kai-Yin Lo collection, Hong Kong. [7]

Provenance: private collection, UK

  1. For Tang dynasty metal wares with comparable shapes, see Han, W. and Deydier C, Ancient Chinese Gold, Les Editions d’Art et d’Histoire, Arhis, 2001, no. 670, pp. 351-3 and no. 680, pp. 360-1. For a comparable Song dynasty lacquer dish in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, see Garner, H. Chinese Lacquer, London, 1979, no. 21, p. 52
  2. Li, Huibing ed. Liang Song Ci Qi, vol. II – Gugong bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quanji, Shangwu yinshuguan, Hong Kong, no. 163, p.179
  3. Yang, Houli et al, Dated Qingbai Wares of the Song and Yuan dynasties, Cheng Ling Foundation, Hong Kong 1999, no. 21, p. 49
  4. Pierson, S. ed. Qingbai Ware: Chinese Porcelain of the Song and Yuan Dynasties, Percival David Collection of Art, London, 2002, no. 29, pp. 76
  5. Pierson, S. ed. op.cit. nos.31&32, p.78
  6. Kwan, S. Song Ceramics – from the Kwan Collection, Urban Council, Hong Kong, 1994, no. 102, p. 240
  7. Lo, K-Y. ed., Bright as Silver White as Snow: Chinese White Ceramics from Late Tang to Yuan Dynasty, Hong Kong, Yungmingtang, 1998, plate 37, pp.158-9