A Jizhou tortoiseshell-glazed teabowl

南宋    吉州窯仿玳瑁釉盞

The bowl is well potted with almost conical sides becoming vertical just below the slightly lipped rim, supported on a low footrim deftly cut from the clay. The interior is applied with a rich brown glaze liberally splashed in ochre with spots and streaks, continuing with rather less density on the exterior. The underside of the foot is unglazed, showing the pale buff ware.

Collection of W. Scott Reid, purchased from Priestley & Ferraro Chinese Art 19th October 2001
Bonhams London, 17th May 2018, lot 26

Priestley & Ferraro, 'Chinese and Korean Ceramics and Works of Art', London, November 2019, cat. no. 14.

The Jizhou potters were among the most innovative, especially with regard to their glazes and glaze decoration. Here the intention is to imitate the patterns found on the highly-prized shell of the hawksbill turtle.  "Tortoiseshell” glazes of this type vary in execution. Some have more translucent splashes, more closely resembling the real shell, but at the price  of increased risk of flaking. The second type, of which the present bowl is a  fine example, has slip added to the splashes, opacifying them but making them more stable and also making the whole more harmonious. For a discussion of Jizhou tortoiseshell glazes, see Robert Mowry, Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathersnos. 90, 91, 92, pp. 229-235.

Dimensions: Diameter: 10.7 cm, 4 ¼ inches

Date: Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), 12th/13th century

Stock No. 2254

Price: On Request