Lot 3114
  • 3114


500,000 - 800,000 HKD
bidding is closed


heavily potted standing on a low foot, the deep conical body rising to a shallow concave groove at the mouth, applied in a lustrous black glaze with streaks of brown radiating from the subtly waisted mouth, the dark glaze stopping above the foot to reveal the unglazed dark brown body, the rim bound with metal, together with a black and red tixi lacquer bowl stand, the rounded sides collared with a circular dish, all supported on a hollow splayed foot, deeply carved through thick layers of black and red lacquer with ruyi-head shaped pommels, the layers of red lacquer appearing in two thin lines sandwiched between the layers of lustrous brownish-black tixi

Catalogue Note

Jian tea bowls were renowned for their unique suitability for tea drinking as the fine foam of the whisked powdered tea contrasted attractively against the dark glaze of the vessel. The thickness of the glaze helped keep the beverage warm and protected the hands of the drinker against scalding. Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-25), well known for his love for tea, stated that the black-glazed tea bowls, especially those decorated with 'hare's fur' like the present example, were the most desirable. Together with whipped tea, Song dynasty 'Jian' tea bowls are believed to have arrived in Japan in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) when Zen Buddhism was introduced, and have since then been greatly treasured. See similar bowls of this type, including one from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, included in the Museum's exhibition Hare's Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge FeathersHare's Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge Feathers, Chinese Brown- and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-600, Cambridge, 1995, cat. no. 79; another, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (II), Hong Kong, 1996, no. 204; another bowl with a metal-bound rim in the Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto, illustrated in Chugoku no toji. Temmoku [Chinese ceramics, tenmmoku], Tokyo, 1999, pl. 39; and a fourth in the Meiyintang collection, also with a metal-bound rim, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, vol. 1, 1994, no. 530. 

The tixi lacquer bowl stand further complements the present tea bowl. See a similar bowl stand from the Shoden Eigen-in, Kyoto, included in the exhibition The Colors and Forms of Song and Yuan China: Featuring Lacquerwares, Ceramics, and Metalwares, the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, Tokyo, 2004, cat. no. 61.