This bowl has a very thin body, which flares widely from a small, shallow ring foot, silver mount on unglazed rim. The interior of the bowl is decorated with an incised design of a pomegranate plant. A creamy white glaze of ivory tone is distinctive of Ding ware.
Ding ware was produced in northern China especially for nobility. Because it has a very thin body and the design preference was for a small foot, this bowl and others like it had to be fired upside down in the kiln. Potters left the rim of the bowl unglazed, so that the bowl did not stick to the supporting surface during firing. The interior of the bowl is decorated with an incised design of a pomegranate plant, a symbol of fertility and plenty.
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
Exhibited in "Flora and Fauna in Chinese Art," April 6, 2002 - December 1, 2002.
The Song dynasty (960–1279) in China was a period when the arts of painting, calligraphy, and ceramics reached extraordinary levels of refinement. One of the most celebrated ceramics of the day, produced under the direct supervision of the imperial court, was Ding ware. A creamy white stoneware made at the Ding kiln in northern China, Ding ware was known for its thin walls and elegantly drawn incised designs, such as this bowl with floral design.
A large storage jar with round shoulder and shorter neck. The body is rather unevenly potted, showing bumps in some parts. The surface texture is uneven with speckles of white particles. Dark green, natural ash glaze drips on one side of the jar from top of the neck to the lower middle of the body. The rim of the neck is partially chipped and cracked. It has no foot.
The jar was probably made to transport and store tea leaves in response to growing popularity of the tea ceremony among merchants and warriors in the sixteenth century. Naturally glazed and imperfected, unpretentious appearance of Shigaraki wares were suited to the tea aesthetic of "wabi-sabi" (genteel frugality and rustiness), the ideal which rooted in Zen Buddhism.