White stoneware lobed dish. China, Northern Song dynasty, late 10th - early 11th century

A white stoneware dish, supported on a straight ring foot, the broad rim rising steeply from the convex well and divided into six lobes. The thinly potted stoneware is covered in an ivory tinged glaze that leaves only the inside outer edge of the rim unglazed, where the glaze has been wiped away. Both the base and the foot are covered in glaze. Diameter: 6 3/4 inches, 17 cm. Height: 1 3/4 inches, 4.5 cm. Price on application

Provenance: Private collection, Niigata prefecture, Japan

Notes:  The combination of hard paste, thin potting and ivory tinged glaze suggests that this superbly elegant dish was most probably made in the Ding kilns, situated in present-day Quyang county in Hebei province, south-west of Beijing. The Ding kilns were much favoured by the imperial court from the late 10th century onwards, when they achieved new prominence. Ding ware is justly regarded as one of the classic wares of the Northern Song period and, despite not being translucent, the hard white ware is often classified as porcelain. The interaction between Song dynasty metal and ceramic forms is omnipresent, and this dish is no exception; silver dishes of exactly this form exist. The fact that the rim of this delicately potted dish was wiped clean of glaze indicates that it was fired upside-down; this was usual practice in order to prevent warping in the kiln. A practically identical dish is in the Meiyintang collection.1 Another similar example is in the Barlow collection at the University of Sussex.

1 Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Vol. I, London 1994, no. 347, pp. 198-9
2 Sullivan, M. Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Jades in the Collection of Sir Alan and Lady Barlow, London 1963, pl. 42b

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