Bowl, stoneware with blue glaze, Jun ware, China, Jin-Yuan dynasty, 13th century. Diameter: 18.5 cm. 46-1883. © V&A Images

This bowl belongs to a type of ceramics known as Jun ware, which was produced in the kilns in Henan province during the Song dynasty (960-1279). The characteristics of Jun ware are a coarse stoneware body and a thickly applied glaze, which through firing became an opalescent blue colour. At the mouth-rim the glaze ran thin, becoming semi-transparent and creating a mushroom colour.

Some types of Chinese ceramics were made exclusively for the imperial household. Jun wares, however, were mostly made for popular use and were not widely collected before the 16th century, when they were first mentioned in scholarly writings. By the Qing dynasty their status had risen. The Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736-95) admired them and used them to decorate his domestic spaces.

Bibliographic References: Kerr, Rose. Song Dynasty Ceramics. London: V&A Publications, 2004. p. 10, no. 2.