Bowl with moulded design of a duck in a lotus pond, Yaozhou ware, China, Northern Song dynasty (960-1127)

Bowl with moulded design of a duck in a lotus pond, Yaozhou ware, China, Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). Stoneware. Diameter: 11.2 cm. Museum no. C.624-1918. Given by Aubrey Le Blond [2009] © V&A Images

These bowls are examples of the Yaozhou wares typical of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). While the wares produced at the Yaozhou kiln complex enjoyed popularity from the end of the Tang dynasty (618-906) through to the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), these bowls exhibit the olive green glaze and dense surface designs common to the Yaozhou wares of the Northern Song period.

Moulded designs were an important feature of Youzhou ware. The dish in the centre is an example of the this technique, which made detailed designs much more efficient to produce. The process began with a master dish, which would have been carved by hand and fired. A mould was then made of the dish and fired, creating a convex ‘hump-mould’. Multiple dishes could then be made by forming clay to this mould and pressing the walls to the appropriate thickness. The celadon glaze was then applied to the dish, pooling in the crevices and laying thinly on raised areas. Through firing, the pooled areas grew darker in colour and the thinly glazed areas more transparent, creating the illusion of light and shadows in the surface design.

This bowl was found in Korea.

Bibliographic ReferencesKerr, Rose. Song Dynasty Ceramics. London: V&A Publications, 2004. p. 56, nos. 51 and 51a.