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A finely-potted dingyao porcelain dish, with a moulded and auspicious design of a peony at the centre and two phoenixes amidst foliage in the cavetto within a key fret border. The rim is silver. Northern Chinese, Song or Jin dynasty, C11-12. No photograph can communicate the appeal of dingyao which combines both softness and severity. The technique of moulding, which had been used originally of course for bronze-casting and then for the manufacture of mass-produced burial goods, was taken by the dingyao potters and developed for a completely new purpose. It enabled dishes of this sort to be pared down to a previously-unimaginable thinness. Though dingyao clay and firing are generally assumed to produce an opaque body this one is so thin that it actually is translucent. The contrast between the cream porcelain and the tarnished silver of the rim is very pleasing, and was later imitated with glaze in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Diameter: 18.3 cm.
Condition: Excellent; there is a short 1 cm. firing crack partially concealed bt the silver rim; wear to the surace commensurate with its age.