A CHINESE JIAN 'HARE'S FUR' TEA BOWL
The deep rounded sides rising from a short straight foot to a lipped rim. The bowl is covered overall in a black glaze falling short of the foot to reveal the brown-black body. The interior has beautiful silver glaze streaks.
The current bowl has a very attractive black glaze with silver and brown streaks. The bowl's appearance is somewhere between 'silver hare's fur'. Black-glazed bowls such as the present example became increasingly popular as they showed off the frothy white tea to enhance the experience. A thick glaze joining the body clay appeared near the base, traceable gold sparkling dust, glaze age crackles visually seen, and dull thump sound when tapped.
Tea parties became the vogue and tea contests were often held at one of the many teahouses. Connoisseurs prided themselves on their ability to prepare tea, and contests were devised for the preparation of so-called whipped tea, which was whisked to produce a white froth on the top. Since the winner was the person whose froth lasted the longest, having a bowl whose color showed the froth to advantage was soon regarded as desirable. Black tea bowls became fashionable and were made at a number of kilns in north and south China, including the Jian kilns of Fujian.
In his Cha lu (Record of Tea) Cai Xiang noted that: "The froth of the tea is seen most clearly in a tea bowl with black glaze. The tea bowls made at Jian'an have purplish black glaze with hare's fur pattern. The body is slightly thicker and so retains the heat well. It is EXCELLENT."
Tea drinking was also popular at court and the Northern Song Emperor Huizong (r. AD 1101-1125) was a great devotee of tea drinking and wrote a twelve-chapter dissertation Da Guan cha lun (Discussion of Tea in the Daguan period). He, too, admired Jian hare's fur tea bowls and stated: "The black hued tea bowls are to be preferred. Those with the distinctive hare's fur glaze are the best."
Dimensions: 2-3/4" H x 4-5/8" Dia.