A porcelain-bodied brown hare’s-fur glazed teabowl

南宋 褐釉兔毫紋白胎白沿茶盞

The bowl is superbly potted, with conical sides rising steeply to the  fingergroove encircled rim, supported on a low slightly splayed foot. The  interior is applied with a dark-brown glaze shot through with radiating fur-like markings in a slightly lighter colour, repeated on the exterior. The rim itself is covered with a thickly-applied glaze of qingbai type, meeting the brown glaze on the inside in a neat line, but bleeding into the brown glaze on the exterior. The brown glaze stops short of the base, revealing the porcellanous body. The foot with broad slightly cambered footrim, also unglazed, is neatly carved out of the body clay, showing some chatter marks.

Collection of Ronald W. Longsdorf
Christie’s New York, 22nd March 2019, lot 1745

J.J. Lally & Co., Song Dynasty Ceramics: The Ronald W. Longsdorf Collection (New York, 2013), no. 56

The structure of this unusual bowl is clearly modelled on that of the classic yankou (“contracted rim”) Jianyao teabowl, having the same stoutly potted body for heat retention, the finger-groove for ease of holding, and the integral foot carved from the body, but the porcellanous white body clearly indicates a different kiln of origin. In the discussion of the bowl in the catalogue by J.J. Lally & Co., it is suggested that the Dehua kilns, like the Jianyao kilns also in Fujian province, are a likely candidate. Here, two other possibilities are offered: that it is from the Nanfeng kilns in Jiangxi, most famous for making teabowls decorated with the moon and a branch of prunus; or that it is from the Ganzhou kilns, also in Jiangxi, more famous for measuring cups resembling wicker scoops. Both kilns employed the combination of brown and qingbai-type glazes, and both had access to raw materials for making a fine porcellanous body, as used by the contemporary nearby porcelain-making kilns at Jingdezhen.

Dimensions: Diameter: 12.2 cm, 4 ¾ inches

Date: Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

Stock No. 2309

Price: On Request