A Jizhou tortoiseshell glazed teabowl

南宋   吉州玳瑁紋茶盌

The bowl is well potted with almost conical flared sides, slightly contracted below the out-turned lip. It is applied inside and out with a rich dark brown glaze attractively splashed and speckled in opaque buff. The glaze stops just short of the low footrim, with the unglazed base showing the buff-coloured ware.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 5th November 1996, lot 735
James E. Breece III Collection
Christie’s New York, 18th September 2003, lot 253
Peter Scheinman (1932-2017) Collection, New York
Christie’s New York, 14-15th September 2017, lot 1142

Bowls decorated with this visually intriguing glaze were made at the Yonghe kilns, near Ji’an in Jiangxi, a place known as Jizhou during the Song dynasty. Within the broad glaze type known as “tortoiseshell” glaze there are several variants. In the case of the present bowl, it is possible that a small amount of slip has been added to the paste of ash and water used to induce the tortoiseshell effect, giving the splashes an opaque appearance and fusing them more successfully with the background glaze than was the case with the more translucent amber-type splashes which tended to flake. For a fuller discussion of the topic, relating to a meiping bottle decorated in this manner, see Robert D. Mowry, Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge Feathersno.91, p. p. 232-4.

Dimensions: Diameter: 12.8 cm, 5 inches

Date: Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

Stock No. 2221

Price: On Request