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 bowl, 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 an unusual high-sided bowl coated in a pale green transparent Qingbai glaze. Although not easy to photograph, the outer wall has an incised leaf pattern around it. Clearly the temperature within the kiln during firing became too high causing the bowl to warp and sag. The bowl sits on top of a firing pad within the saggar, sagging around that pad, the bulge in its centre being from the firing pad beneath it. The glaze around the outer wall of the bowl has fused it to the saggar as has, undoubtedly, the glaze from the underside of the bowl. Note also the build-up of ash glaze around the outer wall of the saggar, possibly accumulated from multiple previous firings (if a saggar survived a firing, it would be used time and time again).
Diameter of saggar 15.5 cm (6 inches).
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