Among the bowls made in the Jianyang kilns in present-day Fujian province, bowls of this dramatic shape and generous proportions are rare. Known as pie, this conical form with lipped rim is discussed by Robert D. Mowry in the catalogue to the exhibition Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 1995, p. 207, where he notes that this shape can be traced to the Tang dynasty (618-907) and was more suited to drinking tea prepared with fruits and spices. Unlike the more commonly known yankou wan, or narrow-mouthed bowls, pie bowls were probably not used for drinking the very popular whipped tea from Fujian, and were therefore made in smaller numbers. During the excavation at Luhuaping in Jianyang, Fujian, only three large pie bowls were recovered, against a total of 980 tea bowls, ibid., p. 217.
A bowl of similar form and proportions in the Tokyo National Museum, is illustrated in Fujiō Kōyama, Tōji taikei: Temmoku [Outlines of ceramics: Temmoku], vol. 38, Tokyo, 1974, pls 99 and 100; another example also in the Tokyo National Museum, is published in Sekai tōji zenshū/ Ceramic Art of the World, vol. 12, Tokyo, 1977, fig. 116; a third from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, was included in Robert D. Mowry, op. cit., cat. no. 80, together with a slightly less flared example from the collection of Mrs Myron S. Falk, Jr, and Mme Ramet, cat. no. 81, also sold at Christie’s New York, 20th September 2001, lot 91.
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