Chinese Northern Song Dynasty Qingbai Porcelain Dish in Kiln Saggar
A rare opportunity to acquire a Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127) kiln saggar still containing its Qingbai porcelain dish, excavated from a kiln site in the Jingdezhen area of Jiangxi province. This is one of a variety of different Qingbai porcelain wares in saggars, mostly bowls and dishes of varying sizes and patterns, that we were very lucky to be able to acquire some time ago and now offer for sale.
Northern Song Dynasty Qingbai porcelain was fired individually in saggars (the fireproof clay case) that were stacked on top of each other in the kiln. Firing in kilns was then, of course, not the exact science that it is now, with today's use of electric and gas-fired kilns. If the temperature became too hot the porcelain items could warp and sag, the glaze may run or even a stack of saggars could shift and possibly collapse, resulting in the porcelain items becoming fused to the saggar in which they were being fired.
These items are invaluable for research purposes as they show us how Song Dynasty ceramics were fired, not only simply placing each item in its saggar, but supporting it within the saggar on a variety of pads. Sometimes porcelain with designs hitherto unknown are also seen.
The appeal of such items is not only to the academically minded, but also to anyone who appreciates the artistic and decorative nature of these wonderful items
This particular saggar contains a very fine porcelain dish, its wall separated into six panels and its rim fashioned in the form of flower petals. It is further decorated with an incised scrolling floral pattern. It is coated in a yellowish-green transparent Qingbai glaze that is crackled in places. Beneath the bowl there will be a firing pad on which it sits. The bowl has lost its shape, undoubtedly from the temperature being too great during firing, and has sagged around the firing pad resulting in the glaze on its underside coming into contact with the saggar and fusing the two together, the same happening with the glaze around part of its rim. In addition, the saggar has fractured on its underside and a part of the wall has become stressed and fallen out.
If such saggars survived a firing, they were used time and time again, their outer walls accumulating a build up of ash glaze from the kiln, as is the case here.
This is a fairly large example, the saggar with a diameter of 19 cm (7.5 inches).
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