Diameter: 7 1/2 inches, 19 cm


Qingbai porcelain notched bowl

China, Northern Song dynasty, early 12th century

A qingbai porcelain bowl of deep conical shape, the thinly potted, steeply curved sides rising from a high foot and terminating in a rim that is divided into six lobes by shallow notches.  The interior has a carefully executed carved and combed design of three scrolling floral sprays with small leaves and branches.  The bowl is covered in a transparent glaze of pale blue hue that pools to a darker blue in the recesses. Only the recessed base is unglazed, showing the fine-grained white porcelain body, which is partly burnt red, and has characteristic black firing marks.

The conical shape of this bowl and its particularly crisp decoration are unusual features.  Bowls of this type are thought to have been produced at Nanfeng, one of the most important Song dynasty kilns in Jingdezhen.[1]  The shape and decoration of this bowl closely compares to an example recovered from a tomb dateable to 1109 AD in Jinxi county, Jiangxi province.[2]  A similar bowl from the Qing Court Collection is in the Palace Museum, Beijing[3] and another example is in the collection of Robert Barron.[4]

Ben Janssens Oriental Art, February 2008
Private Collection, UK

1    Rotondo-McCord, L.: Heaven and Earth Seen Within – Song Ceramics from the Robert Barron Collection, New Orleans Museum of Art, 2000, page 120
2    Peng, Shifan ed.: Dated Qingbai Wares of the Song and Yuan dynasties Ching Leng Foundation, Hong Kong 1998, no. 21, page 49
3    Palace Museum Beijing: Complete Collection of Treasures Vol. 33, no. 181
4    Rotondo-McCord, L.: op. cit. no. 45, pp.120-1