14. A Jizhou “deer spot” pattern teabowl

南宋 吉州鹿斑紋玳瑁釉盞

The bowl is well potted with almost conical sides becoming vertical just below the rim, supported on a low footrim deftly cut from the clay. The interior has a rich brown-black glaze onto which has been painted, in a lighter colour tinged with blue, six tiers of small spots encircling the well. The flat circular centre of the bowl is decorated in a similar manner with two concentric circles of spots, around a single central spot. The exterior is more randomly decorated with specks and splashes suggesting tortoiseshell. The underside of the base is unglazed, showing the buff ware with some reddish adhesions.  This rare pattern is also known in Chinese as 滿天星 man tian xing, literally “a skyful of stars”, though the arrangement into  rows seems better described by the term 鹿斑紋lu ban wen, “deer spot  pattern”. Either way it is an unusually painstaking technique and one which must have been admired as it appears also sometimes on fine vases of  meiping shape.

For an example of a similar teabowl with a brief discussion of the pattern, likening it to certain textile patterns, see Chan Feng Yu Ru Yun, Song Yuan shidai de Jizhou yao ciqi, “Zen Taste and Confucian Flavour. Song and Yuan Period Jizhou Ceramics”, illus. 136, p. 219 and discussed p. 218.

Dimensions: Diameter: 11 cm, 4⅜ inches

Date: Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

Price: On Request