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The Yuan Ceramic History Cololection
Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA
Limited E-Book In CD-Rom Edition
Special For Senior Collectors
Copyright @ 2014
I have just read a best info related with the Yuan Ceramic written By Mr Koh,Seaceramic and before I have written about the Yuan Ceramic History Collections.
I hope after read this twoo best articles and added the value of yuan ceramic from auction the collectors will understand about the yuan ceramic,the best ceramic in the world.
DR Iwan suwandy,MHA
During the Yuan period, cizhou, Jun and Longquan wares continued to supply traditional products to large part of the domestic market.
The most important development was the increasing importance of Jingdezhen as a center for porcelain production.
An indication of its importance was the setting up of the official Fuliang porcelain bureau (浮梁瓷局) in A.D 1278 whose functions included supervision and management of porcelain production in Jingdezhen for official use.
Building on the foundation of Qingbai, Jingdezhen also developed the shufu wares. But the most important event was the creation of Yuan blue and white wares and underglaze copper red decoration. The blue and white displaced cizhou iron brown decoration as the main stream underglaze decoration in Ming and Qing Dynasty. This is such a popular product that many people actually equate Chinese ceramics with blue and white.
Yuan court continued the Song policy to encourage overseas ceramics trade. Longquan celadon was enormously popular as can be seen by the large quantity found overseas and in the number of Yuan longquan kilns sites. Jingdezhen Qingbai/shufu and blue and whites were also important export items.
During the Yuan period, Jun ware grew in popularity in Northern China. The number of kilns making Jun wares was enormous covering Henan, Hebei, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia . The vessels consisted of mainly bowl, plates and with small number of jars, censers and vases. Interestingly, no Jun wares was excavated in region south of the Yangzi river.
They were essentially made for use domestically in Northern China. Yuan Jun vessels are typically heavily potted and have unglazed footring and base.
One rare exception of Southern China Jun produced during the period was in Zhejiang Jinhua region. In the Sinan shipwreck, there were some Jun wares which were from Jinhua Tiedian kiln (金华铁店窑).
Dr Iwan Comment
I never seen this type in Indonesia
Cizhou wares continued to enjoy popularity in Northern China and mainly produced for domestic use. However, some were also exported overseas and were excavated in Southeast Asia countries.
The main decorative style was underglaze iron-painted black/brown motif.
Dr Iwan Comment
I have found this type at west borneo Tanjungpura site Ketapang near Pawan River.
Longquan celadon reached the peak of its production during the Yuan dynasty. It is characterised by the production of large vessels such as large plates, guan jars and vases. This is a great achievement as large vessels are not easy to produced successfully. Besides the continued use of curved/impressed motif, molded motif in relief also gained popularity during this period. Some decorative elements such as iron-brown rust colour splashes/spots and biscuit form motif were also popular.
For more on longquan celadon, please read : Longquan wares
Compare with collections
Share by my friend edhie chen at facebook
Dr Iwan Comment
I found this type from west borneo tanjungpura sites,and from sea shipwreck treasure jepara dan Malacca straits
Qingbai and Shufu wares
Qingbai wares continued to be popular during the Yuan dynasty. During this period, some of the Qingbai products were decorated with iron-brown rust splashes/spots.
Yuan Qingbai horse on rider with brown spots
Dr Iwan Comment
I found this type at west borneo but brpken head and leg.
Yuan Qingbai with molded bird motif
Subsequently another form known as Shufu glaze was created. It is thick, opaque and resemble the colour of goose egg. The good ones however could have a sugary white tone. The rough ones usually have a grayish tinge to the glaze. The shufu vessels, consisting of mainly bowls and dishes, were made in Hutian kilns which were located outside Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. Some of the bowls and dishes have moulded relief motif and the chinese two chinese characters shu fu [枢府] meaning “Privy council”. Hence, such glaze type wares were also termed shufu wares. Besides shufu, other characters included “tai xi” [太禧]meaning great happiness and “fu lu” [福禄] meaning good fortune and emolument could be found. However, majority have just either plain or molded relief motif of flowers, dragon or phoenix.
Such vessels are typically more thickly potted and for the bowls/dishes, there is pooling of glaze at the inner and outer mouth rim.
DR Iwan Comment
I found the same type,broken mouth without spout at Aceh near lhoksemawe,dan rhe spout from west borneo near Ketapang tanjung pura sites
The starting date for production of shufu is still uncertain. In the the Sinan wreck of about A.D 1325, there were some shufu wares. Some excavated examples in China with the word “tai xi” were probably made for the the official institution, Taixi Zongyin Yuan [太禧宗禋院] which dealt with religious rites of the imperial court. It was set up in A.D. 1328.
Hence, they should be made at least after A.D. 1328. A small number of shufu wares continued to be made in the Hongwu period.
The glaze was subsequently further improved and a pleasing sugary white glaze known as Tianbai [甜白] was produced during the Yongle period.
Some shufu wares were decorated with overglaze red/green motif. A very rare type was the embossed effect motif created by trailing the outline of motif with coloured-slip and completed with in-laid gold. Most the the examples in existent are in Shanghai museum. The enamels consisted of red, green, yellow, white, blue and torquose blue colour. Vessels with such unique decorative techniques consisted of bowls, saucers, stem cups/bowls and, yuhuchun vases and censers.
|Yuan overglaze red and green enameled stem cup|
For more on Shufu ware, please read: Shufu (luan bai) wares
Types of Jingdezhen Yuan Underglaze Decorations
In the Sinan cargo, there were a few pieces of qingbai glaze bowl with underglaze iron-brown decoration. The production of this category of decoration was apparently small and did not win many admirers. Cobalt oxide and to a much lesser extent copper oxide were found to be more suitable as medium for underglaze decoration on porcelain wares.
Underglaze blue and white wares
Yuan blue and whites were produced from about A.D 1330. It was earlier thought to be around A.D 1319 (6th year of yuanyou (元祐））based on a pair of vases excavated in Hubei. However, scientific test has confirmed that the colorant used is iron oxide and not cobalt
There are two types of Yuan blue and whites ie the high end type with vibrant blue and those small vessels with greyish tone blue. Those which are found in the Middle East are generally the high-end type. They consisted of large plates, guan jars, rectangular flat vases, meiping/ yuhuchun/ gourd-shape vases and big bowls. The best collections are now in Topkapu Saray in Istanbul Turkey and Ardebil in Iran Bustan in Tehran.
The motif and composition on the pieces was similar to that of the David Vase. It is termed Zhizheng type. The quality is consistently very high and typically with different motifs organised within separate band. For example, the David vase has 8 bands of motifs. The glaze on the vessel is also more transparent with a tinge of blue. It is very different from the Qingbai or shufu glaze found on those small blue and white vessels for the Southeast Asia market.
The varieties of motif are numerous ranging from many different type of flowers and floral scrolls, dragon, phoenix, crane, heron, mandarin duck, fish, mystical animals, Buddhist precious objects, clouds, waves, human and landscape depicting scene from ancient episode from the 3 kingdom and Han Dynasty. Visually the composition looks crowded as if the designer is adverse to leaving empty spaces. But they do not look dis-organised or messy. Another interesting approach is having some of the motifs reserved in a blue background.
Most of the lower quality blue and whites, such as small ewers, small jarlets, cups and bowls with a Qingbai or shufu glaze were exported to Southeast Asia countries such as Philippines and Indonesia. The design is generally simple, consisting of floral motif decorated with grayish local cobalt blue. But there were small quantity of high quality guans, plates and vases with motifs arranged in separate bands as typified by the David vase.
Dr Iwan Comment
I never seen this type in Indonesia
It is generally believed that those high end type of blue and white with vibrant blue used imported cobalt.
Those with greyish tone are decorated with local cobalt. However, recent scientific tests have shown that all the Yuan blue and white used imported cobalt.
The imported cobalt is called sumali [苏麻离青] or suboni [苏渤泥青] blue. Some suggested sources of the imported cobalt are Kashan in Iran or Samarra in Iraq.
Dr Iwan Comment
I have found this type at tanjungpura stie west bponeo and Tuban
Look my collections
Please compare flower decoration left Anamese vs right Yuan -style
Best perfect decoration
Bold dark blue bead jarlet
Best style flower decoration
The earliest known example of Yuan underglaze copper red is probably the dish found in the Sinan shipwreck (A.D. 1325). It has two leaf incised, washed with a lighter copper red and calligraphy written in a thicker copper red pigment. The dish was then covered with a Qingbai glaze and fired. Most of the known examples of the copper red were decorated with motif executed in pencilled style. Majority has the Qingbai type glaze. The red is usually light and grayish to tone, indicating that control over the material is still not perfected.
Copper red is volatile and unstable during firing. If too thinly applied, it may volatilise and lose its red colour. If too thickly applied, it becomes unsightly darkish in tone. There are a number of extant copper red vessels with impressed or incised motif. The copper red was either washed over the motif or the motif reserved with red background. They may be examples of early experimentation with copper red.
|Yuan copper red ewer with floral motif recovered from the sea in Indonesia|
Yuan copper red ewer with fish recovered from Indonesia Trowulan
There were also some vessels decorated with underglaze blue and copper red. A good example is the below guan in the David Percival Foundaton. It has added decorative elements of trailed slip beaded lines and moulded decorative element luted and looks like open work in relief. This style of decoration was popular during the Yuan period and found on many Qingbai guan jar and yu hu chun vases. The Qingbai glaze on such vessels appear more opaque and could sometime be confused with shufu glaze.
Dr Iwan Comment
I found this type in broken and not complete part
Look my collections
The beast and the beauty,s red flower body decorations
Best dark red body decoration
Dark brown red bold body decoration (anamese?)
Darkred splash body decoration
Simple perfect red decoration
simple decoration with bright red colour
Underglaze Copper Red ware
Monochrome Blue wares
Monochrome blue glaze was successfully produced during the Yuan period. There a a beautiful sapphire colour tone. There were some examples of wine cup, saucer and vessel yi found in Hebei baoding. There were traces of gold decoration on the vessels.
Updated by NK Koh (14 Dec 2009)
Dr Iwan Comment
I have never seen this type in indonesia
Yuan Blue and white
On 12 Jul 2005, a Yuan blue and white jar depicting scene from an episode during the Warring states was sold by Christies for a record sum of US$27.7 million for Chinese work of art.
Yuan jar sold by Christies for record sum of US$27.7 million
This is indeed a dramatic change of fortune for Yuan Blue and white wares considering that little was known about them prior to A.D 1950. Before A.D 1950 RL Hobson had in A.D 1929 highlighted a pair of Yuan vases in the Percival David Foundation in his writings. But it did not raise much interest. The pioneering work in the identification of Yuan blue and white was done in A.D 1952 by Dr John Pope. He identified a group of Yuan blue and white in the Istanbul Topkapi Museum and the Iran Ardebil Shrine which possesses motifs which are stylistically similar to those on the pair of David Vases. The pair of vases was a donation to the temple by a devotee named Zhang Wenjin （张文进）seeking blessings for his family. This is mentioned in the inscription on the neck of the vases. It also has a date Zhi Zheng （至正）11th year, ie A.D 1351. Blue and white wares which are stylistically similar to the David vases are termed Zhi Zheng type.
The pair of vases was last placed in the Bejing Zhihua (智化）Temple but smuggled out of China in 1929 to Europe by a overseas chinese. It subsequently ended up in the possession of Sir Percival David.
Subsequently, a pair of qingbai glaze pagoda-shaped vases with simple floral scrolls dated to Yuanyou (元祐） 6th year (A.D. 1319) was excavated in Hubei. It was initially thought to be decorated with a grayish cobalt blue. As the execution of the motif looks experimental and lacks the sophistication and maturity of the Zhi Zheng type blue and white, the Chinese experts viewed them as early Yuan Blue and white and termed them Yuanyou type. However, scientific test in Mar 2009 by the Shanghai Museum on one of the vases confirmed that the colorant used is iron oxide and not cobalt.
|The Yuan You vase datd 1319 A.D in Hubei Museum. Initially thought to be decorated with cobalt. Decorated with iron oxide pigment.|
|David vase dated 1359 A.D|
Kiln and Production Commencement Date
Although the colorant of the pagoda shaped vase dated A.D 1310 is not cobalt, the motifs (such as the peony, the plantain leaves and collar-shaped cloud on the shoulder of the vase) and multi-layered composition showed stylistic similarity with the subsequent blue and white. So, when did the Jingdezhen potters started using cobalt for decoration?
Some of the early Chinese writings related to ceramics may shed some lights. In Jiangqi’s (蒋祈）writings Taoji (陶记） widely regarded as written between A.D 1322 – 1325, there was no mention of blue and white. However，Wang Da Yuan (汪大渊）, in his work Dao Yi Zhi lue (岛夷志略）which recorded his observations during his trips to Southeast Asia between A.D 1330 to 1339, he mentioned a group of exported porcelain termed Qingbai hua ci (青白花瓷). This could be literally interpreted as motif in blue and white. It is more likely a reference to Blue and white and not qingbai wares.
So far, no Yuan blue and white from shipwreck or excavation has a dating earlier than A.D 1330. In the Sinan shipwreck dated about A.D 1325, there were some shufu, iron-oxide decorated wares and a plate decorated with copper red calligraphy from Jingdezhen. But no blue and white was found.
Kiln sites producing Yuan blue and white have been found in several sites in Jingdezhen and Hutian. In Hutian, kiln sites located south of the river Nan were found to specialise in the production of large vessels, such as large plates, jars and vases, with mulit-layered motifs which were mainly found in Middle East collections. Kiln sites located north of the river were found to produce those small vessels such as jarlet, bowls and dishes with simple motif, which were commonly found in Philippines and Indonesia. The stratification of the kiln site, located South of the river Nan, showed the blue and white layer above the layer of shufu glaze vessels. Although the actual date of production of the blue and white could not be ascertained, they definitely made their appearance later than the shufu glaze vessels.
In Jingdezhen, the site at Luoma Qiao (落马桥) were found to produce a large variety of vessels form such as including plates, cups, vases, jars and figurines. There were also vessels such as jar, Yuhuchun vase decorated with underglaze copper red motifs. A fragment of small bowl with overglaze red/green motif was also recovered.
Fragments recovered from Jingdezhen Luoma Qiao
The site at Longzhu Ge (龙珠阁) specialised in producing vessels for the palace. Dragons decorated on the jars were found to have 5 claws which was only permitted for imperial use. Some of the vessels were glazed in blue or turquoise and decorated with gold motif. In Yuan Dianzhang (元典章), it was decreed that the use of gold gild was prohibited by common folks.
Jar with 5 claws dragon from Longzhu Ge kiln site
From published sources, so far the earliest blue and white was a sherd with cobalt blue inscription and a date yuantong (元统）3rd year (A.D 1335) mentioned. It was excavated in Jingdezhen Daijia nong (景德镇戴家弄）. There were quite a number of sherds with inscription indicating cyclical or Zhizheng date excavated in Jingdezhen. All are dated to the A.D 1340s.
The Xuzhan Tang Museum (徐展堂艺术馆）has a big Yuan blue and white zhizheng type charger with vegetal and floral motif organised around several circular bands. There is a faint ink inscription which when under ultra-violet light, the characters zhizheng 4th year (至正四年）ie A.D 1343 could be seen.
Hence, so far far evidence indicates that production of Yuan blue and white most probably started around A.D 1330.
Types of blue and white
The typical high quality Yuan blue and whites are in the form of large plates, guan jars, Rectangular flat vases, meiping/yuhuchun/gourd-shape vases and big bowls. The best collections are now in Topkapu Saray in Istanbul Turkey and Ardebil in Iran Bustan in Tehran. The motif and composition on the pieces was similar to that of the David Vase. It is termed Zhizheng type. The quality is consistently very high and typically with different motifs organised within separate band. For example, the David vase has 8 bands of motifs. The glaze on the vessel is also more transparent with a tinge of blue. It is very different from the Qingbai or shufu glaze found on those small blue and white vessels for the Southeast Asia market.
The varieties of motif are numerous ranging from many different type of flowers and floral scrolls, dragon, phoenix, crane, heron, mandarin duck, fish, mystical animals, Buddhist precious objects, clouds, waves, human and landscape depicting scene from ancient episode from the 3 kingdom and Han Dynasty. The use of bands to organise motifs is not new and can been seen in earlier period such as those on Song Cizhou wares. What is interesting and striking is the way the potter squeezed so many varied motifs into one composition on the vessel. Visually it looks crowded as if the designer is adverse to leaving empty spaces. However, they are well-organised and do not appear messy. Another interesting approach is having some of the motifs reserved in a blue background. One distinctive and refreshing element also worth noting is having motifs within cloud collars. The early Yuan You 6th year vase mentioned earlier also has cloud collars on the shoulder. But no motif was drawn within and it is obvious that despite the use of band to separate different motif, the whole composition is sparse and not crowded as in the Zhizheng type.
Big Plates in Beijing palace Museum
Ewer in Beijing palace Museum
Big Jar in Beijing palace Museum
|Human motif vase in the Hubei Museum|
Fragment of big bowl from Trowulan in Indonesia
Besides the above high quality types, many small ewers, small jarlets, cups and bowls with a Qingbai or shufu glaze were excavated in Southeast Asia countries such as Philippines and Indonesia . The design was generally simple, consisting of floral /cloud motif decorated with greyish cobalt blue executed in calligraphic style.
Such items were produced in Hutian kiln located South of River Nan
In Jingdezhen, a number of stem cups with simple human figures/floral motif were excavated.
|Yuan blue and white stem cups|
The blue and white exported to Middle East were generally of high quality. However, it is a mis-conception that those exported to Southeast Asian countries are low quality blue and whites. Excavations in Trowulan (in Java), the former capital of the Majapahit empire in Indonesia showed that quite a number (including vases and big jars) were of high quality.
Yuhuchun vases found in Trowulan
Type of Cobalt Used
Visually, it appears that two types of cobalt are used for Yuan blue and white. The typical high quality type has a strong and vibrant shade of blue. The blue on the small pieces appears greyish in tone. Generally, it is believed that the former was decorated with imported cobalt and the latter local cobalt. The below photos gives an idea of how local and imported cobalt is thought to appear visually.
Scientific analysis shows that the local cobalt is high on magnesium and low of iron oxide. The imported cobalt is the reverse, ie. high on iron oxide and low on magnesium. The high magnesium is believed to render the grayish tone to motif drawn using local cobalt.
However, recent scientific tests have consistently revealed that the cobalt used on those Yuan blue and white which appear greyish in colour tone is also imported cobalt. It seems that other factors such as the firing temperature, the atmosphere and quality of the cobalt may have contributed to the greyish tone.
The chinese called the imported cobalt sumali [苏麻离青] or suboni [苏渤泥青] blue. Some suggested sources of the imported cobalt are Kashan in Iran or Samarra in Iraq.
Underglaze blue and copper red
There were also some vessels decorated with underglaze blue and copper red. A good example is the below guan in the David Percival Foundaton. It has added decorative elements of trailed slip beaded lines and moulded decorative element luted and looks like open work in relief. This style of decoration was popular during the Yuan period and found on many Qingbai guan jar and yu hu chun vases.
Written by : NK Koh (15 Dec 2009), updated 18 Feb 2012
Lecture: Opening the Microscopic World of Porcelain: Trace Model Research and Authentication of Yuan Underglaze Blue
Based upon the first two books in the Ceramics Trace Model Study Series, Survey of Ceramics Trace Model Study and Trace Model Research and Authentication: Yuan Dynasty Underglaze Blue Porcelain, this lecture looks into the application of microscopic research within Chinese Ceramics.
Using 500x digital magnification, the research team at Guangzhou Oriental Museum has put forth a new scientific field of research that focuses on the quantitative change and passage of time principles that govern the weathering of ancient ceramics. With sample selection extending from Jingdezhen to Inner Mongolia within China, and from Iran to the U.S. internationally, they have pulled together a sizeable database of ceramic trace samples that are used as the comparative DNA in scientific research and authentication of Chinese Porcelain.
The speaker, Matthew Bunney, Deputy Director of the Guangzhou Oriental Museum, has led a four year focus on the discovery and analyses of Yuan Dynasty Underglaze Blue Porcelain traces. He also pioneered a new technique of three-dimensional micro-imaging which opened a new world of ceramic observation and understanding, and is working to improve the field of ceramic authentication. Come and enjoy an evening of discovery and education on this interesting new field of scientific research, and be part of the first public audience in Asia to see the Microscopic World of Chinese Ceramics opened for all to enjoy.
Dr Iwan Comment
I found this type at west borneo,tuban,and shi[wreck Malacca straight
;ook my collections
”The Rare Yuan Snake Ceramic”
Very rare Yuan Snake
Rare Yuan Snake
emblem of medicine
Emblem of Evil
Yuan Snake ceramic
”The Rare Yuan Cock Ceramic”
Yuan Cock Mhammedan blue
Rare Yuan cock cup
Rare Yuan Cock ceramic
Hallo collectors,thankyou for click UCN today
RCD and UCN special show this day.
RARE YUAN QING PAI CERAMIC
Dr Iwan Comment
I found this type from shipwreck Malacca straights
Without even bothering with whether the rpice is fair or too good to be true or the qualities of glaze and footring, the design of this is incorrect of rthe period.
The central flower is lost in the roundel and the edge with the two peach (?) forms at 12 and 6 o’clock on the circle are not cohesive with each other or the rather spotty design of incised markings which look more like and attempt to populate with Ming clouds than the aesthetic of longquan celadon.
THe barb of the foliate edging is flat and flabby. Here is a fragmentary example of what this aspires to.
Anthony M. Lee
Asian Art Research
It has all the features of a late Yuan celadon small dish. The ring of oxidized (Burnt Red) iron, from impurities within the paste,the effect caused through a reduction atmosphere, is a known mark of authentication, as well as the overall shape and design. I would declare it a genuine example, and a good one.
Thanks for sharing Frank.
A Longquan celadon censer, any opinion regarding the date would be highly appreciated.