Dish in imitation of Ding ware, moulded and glazed stoneware, Huozhou ware, Shanxi province, China, Jin-Yuan dynasty, 1200-1368.  Diameter: 15.9 cm. CIRC.154-1935. Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee © V&A Images

Ding ware was a highly sought-after style of porcelain made in the Ding kilns of the Hebei province, reaching their height of popularity during the Northern Song (960-1127) and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties. Ding wares were of the earliest true porcelains made in China, and were known for their bright white bodies, impermeability and fine texture.

Ding wares were produced as ‘official wares’ for use at court, and were highly esteemed throughout China. This popularity meant that many kilns across China produced wares in imitation, including this dish. It successfully imitates the Ding ware characteristics of a white colour with a moulded design at the centre, but reveals itself as an imitation at the base, where one can see that its body is actually a buff colour and required a white slip under the glaze to achieve the whiteness that is characteristic of Ding ware. It is likely that this dish was actually made at the Houzhou kilns in the Shanxi province of China.

Bibliographic References: Kerr, Rose. Song Dynasty Ceramics. London: V&A Publications, 2004. p. 50, nos. 45 and 45a.