Lot 12
  • 12


40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • 8.5 cm, 3 3/8  in.
well potted with deep rounded sides rising to a slightly incurved rim, covered overall in a rich glossy lavender-blue glaze fading to a mushroom tone around the rim, suffused with mottled splashes of deep lavender and blue tone to the interior and exterior, the glaze falling short of the foot revealing the dark brown body


J.J. Lally, New York.
Sotheby's London, 16th May 2012, lot 87.

Catalogue Note

‘Jun’ ware, with its ravishing purple-and-blue colour combination, is one the most daring creations in the history of Chinese ceramics and certainly the most flamboyant of the major wares of the Song dynasty (960-1279). It is exceptional also because its basic, bright sky-blue glaze colour derives not from a pigment but from an optical illusion – indeed not unlike the blue of the sky – as minute spherules of glass in the glaze are scattering blue light. The red derives from a copper-rich pigment applied to the blue glaze, which is difficult to control in the firing and thus particularly unpredictable in its outcome. This chance effect is part of the ware’s attraction, making every piece unique, with individual patterns and tonal variations created as if by nature. ‘Jun’ ware is also unusual among the important Song wares in being thickly potted, thus lending itself to simple shapes. Among the various ‘Jun’ ware bowl shapes, perhaps the most delightful is that of these small bowls, probably used for wine, with their well-rounded, plump and pleasing forms, elegant in profile because of the small foot and in-turned lip, appealing to hold in one’s hands and to drink from.

‘Jun’ wares were produced by many different manufactories in Henan, including the Ru kilns at Qingliangsi in Baofeng, as evidenced by archaeological excavations, see Baofeng Qingliangsi Ruyao/Ru Yao at Qingliangsi in Baofeng, Zhengzhou, 2008, col. pl. 183; and Gugong Bowuyuan cang Zhongguo gudai yaozhi biaoben [Specimens from ancient Chinese kiln sites in the collection of the Palace Museum], vol. 1: Henan juan [Henan volume], Beijing, 2005, passim. The centre of production, where the finest wares were produced, was located in the modern county of Yuxian, in the former region of Junzhou fragments of plain blue and purple-splashed ‘bubble’ bowls excavated there are illustrated ibid., pl. 447.