East Asia, China, Longquan, Song Dynasty, ca. 1127 to 1279 CE. A trio of lovely bowls made in the Chinese Imperial state-owned and operated kilns for ancient trade and domestic use. Two are celadon green, with sgraffito floral motifs around their shallow interiors; the other is glazed with a creamy white color and has no other decoration. The two celadon green bowls are both from shipwrecks and feature fantastic encrustations of barnacles and shells. Bowls like these were some of China's most important exports during the Song period, and were widely imitated in Korea and Japan. These objects were fired in "dragon kilns", long brick tunnels that rose up a slope, to provide slow and even heating. Archaeologists estimate that up to 25,000 vessels would be made at once in the largest of these kilns! The market for bowls like these were the scholar-gentleman class, sometimes known as the literati; these were made for everyday use, religious ceremonies (placing offerings on altars, for example), and sometimes were buried with their owners. Size: 7.25" W x 2.3" H (18.4 cm x 5.8 cm)
Provenance: ex-private van Dies estate collection, Maui, Hawaii, USA, acquired before 2000
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