Purple-splashed Jun bowls of this classic Northern Song shape are remarkable for their understated elegance, offset by splendid colouration displaying a range of blue and lavender tones. The vibrant colours, glossy glaze and rounded shape on the current bowl successfully create the illusion of a soap bubble, hence their ‘bubble bowl’ name. Rose Kerr in Song Dynasty Ceramics, London, 2004, p. 34, notes that the splashes found on ‘Jun’ wares are made with the application of copper brushwork or washes, which then merge with the bluish ‘Jun’ glazes at full heat. This provides a striking contrast to the thick bright blue glaze beneath, giving each vessel decorated in this manner its unique design.
Compare a splashed bubble bowl in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in the Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (I), Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 225; and another from the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, illustrated in Margaret Medley, The Chinese Potter, Oxford, 1976, fig. 83. Two Jun splashed bubble bowls from the Edward T. Chow collection, amongst the best extant examples, were sold in our London rooms, 16th December 1980, the first, lot 264, sold again in these rooms, 19th May 1987, lot 209, from the T.T. Tsui collection, the second, lot 265, sold in our London rooms, 7th June 2000, lot 93; and a single bowl was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th October 2014, lot 3686.