Chinese Northern Song Dynasty Qingbai Porcelain Bowl 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 porcelain bowl with a "button" centre and a notched rim. It is further decorated with an incised pattern and 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 wall of the saggar and fusing the two together. There is also a part of another Qingbai porcelain vessel stuck to the underside of the saggar, presumably resulting for some kind of collapse of the column of saggars during firing.
Such saggars were used time and time again, their outer walls accumulating a build up of ash glaze from the kiln, as is the case here. Note also the mark of glaze around the inner wall of this saggar, clearly not from the bowl now inside it, but from a bowl from a previous firing! Note also the build-up of ash glaze to the outer wall of the saggar, such saggars having been used time and time again.
Diameter of saggar 16.5 cm (6.5 inches).
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