A Yaozhou moon white bowl

金   耀州窯月白釉盌

The bowl is of open rounded form with finely potted sides of an even thickness maintained all the way up to the rim. A lustrous pale ‘moon white’ glaze is applied inside and out and on the base. The foot is low and of accurately made square cross-section with an unglazed footrim showing the very pale grey ware burnt to a characteristic speckled light brown tone.

An old Asian family collection
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 28th November 2019, lot 304

‘Moon white’ wares are a fascinating category of Yaozhou wares, quite different in appearance to the typical carved wares of the Northern Song dynasty.  It is believed that they were made at the beginning of the Jin period, perhaps soon after the turmoil associated with the taking of north China by the Jurchens in 1126 had died down. It is tempting to see the focus on glaze and form, as opposed to decoration, as a response to the fashion epitomised by Longquan celadon wares and Jun wares, with their simple undecorated shapes and thick lustrous glazes. Even the form of the present bowl is quite Jun-like. This may be, but the Yaozhou kilns were already consummate masters of the plain glaze and simple form before the Northern Song, long before the Longquan and Jun kilns took up the style, so it may have seemed to the Shaanxi potters as a natural reversion to what they themselves had pioneered.

A similar bowl is in the Kwan collection, illustrated in Song Ceramics from the Kwan Collection, no. 91, p. 218.

Dimensions: Diameter: 19 cm, 7 ½ inches

Date: Jin dynasty (1115-1234)

Stock No. 2333

Price: On Request