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The Song Ceramic History Collections



Created By

Dr Iwan  Suwandy , MHA

Private Limited E.Book In CD-Rom Edition

Special  for Senior Collectors And Historian

Copyright @ 2014

Sung Dragon Pklate found West Java

(Collection Dr Iwan)



Song Porcelain

The Song Dynasty saw the introduction of many new folk kilns ceramics form and Imperial Court’s involvement in the production of ceramics for the palace use.

Song porcelain ware is an epitome of aesthetic perfection.  Generations of potters have drawn and will continue to draw inspirations from Song ceramics creations.  The elegance of the shape of the vessels achieved was superb.  The aesthetic beauty of jade -like celadon glaze of ru/guan/longquan reached unsurpassed perfection and delicacy.  The icy bluish beauty Qingbai glaze has enchanted generations of porcelain collectors.  The curved/impressed decorations of Ding and Yaozhou wares reigned supreme.

The ingenuity and creativity of the Cizhou and Jizhou potters was also amazing.  They were able to overcome the limitations of poor quality raw material for porcelain making and came out with innovative and aesthetically wonderful products.  The use of white slip to whiten the body and further using it as a decorative element for sgraffiato design was brilliant.  Building on the foundation of the celadon underglaze iron-pigment brown/black decoration of the earlier era, the cizhou kilns fully developed the underglaze iron-pigment motif on white ground.  It became a main-stream product until it was overtaken by blue and white in the Ming dynasty and marginalised in the Qing Dynasty.   The jizhou potters were able to work on a dark and a lighter colour glaze to achieve great products such as the tortoise’s shell/tiger’s fur effect and paper cut motifs.

The potential of the copper oxide was finally realised in the dazzling beauty of rainbow-like purplish/red splashes on blue ground of Jun wares.  The ever inexhaustible potential of iron-pigment for amazing decorative effect was proudly displayed in the form of the temmoku hares’ fur and oil spots.

It was also a period of commercial liberalisation and huge growth in overseas trade which was encouraged by the imperial court as a source of substantial tax revenue.  An important development was the large number of kilns that were set up in the coastal region in Guangdong and Fujian to produce porcelains for the Southeast Asia market.  The coastal kilns made use of their proximity to the port, Guangdong Guangzhou during the Tan/Song period and Fujian Quanzhou during the Southern Song period to produce lower end copies of Yue, Longquan celadon, Jingdezhen Qingbai and Jian temmoku wares to meet overseas demand. For more on Guangdong and Fujian trade ceramics, please read below:

Tang/Song Guangdong trade ceramics

Song/Yuan Fujian trade ceramics

Song Jun, Ru and guan wares

In the area of ceramics production, an important development was the setting up of official kilns to produce ceramics for the Imperial palace.  During the Northern Song period, Jun and Ru wares , both a form of celadon, were produced.

The Jun kilns at Baguadong (°ËØÔ¶´£©and Juntai £¨¾ų̂£©were located in Yu county£¨ÓíÏØ£© in Henan.  The Jun kiln used iron and copper oxides to fire an opacified bluish glaze with red or purplish splashes.  Vessels included flower pots, washers, dishes, censor, bowls, zun and etc.  Some of the flower pots/stands  have number (1-10) carved on their base.  It has been established that the number is an indication of the size.  Some vessels also have inscription such as fenghua (·î»ª£©¡¡and sheng fu¡¡£¨Ê¡·û£©.  [Guan Jun is still a controversial subject with some experts questioning the Northern Song attribution.]

Folk kilns in Henan also produced Jun wares but the number of Song/Jin wares excavated were few.  The best Jun from the folk kiln were produced at Liu Jiamen (Áõ¼ÒÃÅÒ¤£©¡£

Ru wares were produced in Baofeng Qingliangsi £¨±¦·áÇåÁ¹Ë£©¡¡in Henan. They usually have a light sky-blue colour with tiny spur marks on the outer base. Vessel forms consisted of mainly dishes, washers, bowls and some archaic zun vase, lian-form censers and vases. Some vessels also have the inscription fenghua¡¡£¨·î»ª£©.

During the Southern Song Period, two officially operated kilns were built at Xiuneisi and Jiaotanxia with the former in operation first. They consisted of jade-like thick which powdered bluish or yellowish colour tone.  They have iron black body with majority having crackled glaze.  The best have very thick multi-layered glaze and biscuit think body.


For more on the guanwares, please read : Song Guan Wares .


Yue/Longquan greenware (celadon)

During the Northern Song period, Yue ware was still an important greenware. The products of this period is characterised by fine incised motifs covering floral, bird, phoenix, dragon and human motif. A form of more deeply curved combined with incised style of decoration was introduced during the Mid Northern Song Period and continued to be used during the rest of the Northern Song Period.  Yue greenwares essential ceased by early Southern Song period.

Longquan of the Northern Song essentially copied the Yue curved/combed motifs.  Longquan developed its famous powder¡¡green £Û·ÛÇà£Ýnd mei zi qing (plum green) [÷×ÓÇà£Ýglaze towards the end of Southern Song period.  The ware is characterised by multi-layered glaze application with jade like quality. It is arguably the greatest achievement of all green glaze wares.   Longquan potters also produced some guan-type black body wares during the late southern Song period.

The curved/combed motifs longquan motif was widely adopted by the Fujian kilns during the late Northern Song/early Southern Song period.  It was an important export item and was termed Tongan type greenware or Juko (shuko seiji) £ÛÖé¹âÇà´É£Ýgreenware in Japan. Shuko was a Japanese monk who was known for his preference for Tongan type greenware for tea ceremony.

For more on Longquan celadon, please read: Longquan Celadon

For more on Longquan influenced Fujian greenware, please read: Fujian Trade Ceramics

Yaozhou Greenware (Ò«ÖÞÒ¤£©

Yaozhou established itself as the greatest Northern Celadon (greenware) production centre during the Northern Song Period.  The most famous was the Huangbao £¨»Æ±¤£©site at Tongchuan Shanxi (Í­´¨¡¡ÉÂÎ÷£© . But the kiln sites included Chenluzhen¡¡³Â¯Õò£©, Lidipo £¨Á¢µØÆ£©and Shangdian¡¡£¨Éϵ꣩.  Yaozhou greenware was famous for the curved motif with strong 3 dimensional visual effect.  An interesting characteristic of Yaozhou wares is the ginger-yellow scotched marks on the base and at the footring. After Mid Northern Song, elaborate impressed motifs were introduced and gradually became the more dorminent products.  The impressed motifs were varied and consisted of flowers, dragon, phoenix, fish, makara, flying fairies, infants and etc.  Yaozhou greenware continued to be produced during the Jin period and gradually ceased during the Yuan period.  During the Jin period, an important Yue bai £ÛÔ°ףÝ(moon-white) glaze was introduced.

Yaozhou type greenwares were also produced in Henan kilns such as those in  Linru £¨ÁÙÈ꣩£¬Xinan Cheng Guan ((а²³Ç¹ØÒ¤£©¡¡and Baofeng¡¡£¨±¦·á£©.  They are very similar to the Yaozhou production but are generally of poorer quality.

For more on Yaozhou greenware, please read: Yaozhou Celadon


Ding ware (¶¨Ò¤£©

Ding kiln was located in Jiancicun (½§´Å´å£©¡¡in Quyang county¡¡£¨ÇúÑôÏØ£©.  The kiln started production during the Tang period and achieved great fame during the Northern Song and Jin period for its ivory white glaze and finely curved and later even more famous impressed motifs. It was at one point an important tribute ware to the Imperial court during the Northern Song period.

One of the most important contributions of the Ding potters was the invention of the inverted firing Method.  It was subsequently adopted by many kilns including Jingdezhen.¡¡This method enabled more pieces to be fired in the kiln.  It however required the removal of glaze at the rim.

Important Ding type white wares were made in Pingding (ƽ¶¨£©and Jiexiu£¨½éÐÝ£©in shanxi £¨É½Î÷£©¡¡province.

For more on Ding ware, please read: Ding ware


Qingbai (Yingqing) ware

Qingbai meaning bluish white ware, was invented in Jingdezhen during the Northern Song period.  The best Qingbai wares were produced in Hutian kilns (ºþÌïÒ¤£©¡¡near Jingdezhen. The curved motif on Northern Qingbai wares was excellent.  The pooling of the bluish glaze in curved area of the motif enhance and bring out the profile of the motif nicely.  Impressed motifs were popular during the Southern Song and Yuan Period.  The glaze became more whitish during Southern Song and gradually became more opaque¡¡especially in the Yuan Dynasty.

Qingbai wares in British Museum

Qingbai was an enormously popular product and were produced in numerous kilns in Jiangxi in areas around Jingdezhen, Nanfeng and Jizhou and also provinces such as Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong.

Qingbai wares were exported overseas in large volume during the Song/Yuan period.

For more on Qingbai ware, please read: Qingbai (Yingqing) wares


Cizhou ware

Cizhou kilns are located in Guantai £¨Ò‹Ì¨£©and Pengcheng £¨Åí³Ç£©area in Hebei.  Its main products consisted of whiteware, blackware and wares with underglaze iron black/brown decoration on white ground.  The iron pigment painted decoration first appeared in late 3 Kingdom period and some rare examples were made by the Yue kilns.   But it was only during the Song period that it was popularised by the cizhou and cizhou type kilns and was produced even to this day.  The white glaze was able to show off the iron brown decoration distinctively and attractively.

Other famous  decorative types included incised/curved and sgraffito motif.¡¡¡¡

There are numerous other kilns located in Hebei, Henan (some famous ones such as Dangyangyu kiln [ÐÞÎäµ±ÑôÓøÒ¤]£¬Hebiji kiln [ÌÀÒõº×±Ú¼¯Ò¤]£¬pa chu kiln [ÓíÏØ°Ç´åÒ¤]£¬Dengfeng kiln [µÇ·âÒ¤]£©, Shanxi yaozhou kiln¡¡(Ò«ÖÞÒ¤£©, Ningxia Lingwu kiln (ÁéÎäÒ¤£©,Inner Mongolia Chifeng kiln (³à·åÒ¤£©£¬ Shanxi Jie xiu and ping ding kiln (½éÐÝÒ¤£¬Æ½¶¨Ò¤£©, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangxi jizhou kiln£¨¼ªÖÞÒ¤£©and Guandong which produced similar wares.  There are definitely some local stylistic decorative differences and also in terms of shape/form and glaze and paste  appearance.  Yet one can still discern that they are unmistakably cizhou in character especially in terms of the decorative techniques.  Hence, they are widely termed as cizhou type wares.

Dangyangyu kiln (ÐÞÎäµ±ÑôÓøÒ¤)in Henan also produced a famous marbled ware. It is also termed wood grain pattern, pheasant’s wing pattern or feather pattern.  Other Henan kilns producing such product included Qingliangsi in Baofeng £¨±¦·áÇåÁ¹Ë£©and Chengguan in Xinan(а²³Ç¹Ø£©

For more on Cizhou ware, please read: Cizhou wares

Overglaze enamelled Wares

The overglaze enamelled red, green and yellow motif on white glaze ware was an important new decorative type introduced during the Song period.  Most extant pieces were from the Hebei cizhou, Henan pacun (°Ç´åÒ¤£© and Shanxi Changzhi kiln £¨³¤ÖÎÒ¤£©and shandong zibo (×Ͳ©Ò¤£©.  The decoration was drawn on the high fired white glaze vessel.  Upon completion, it went through a second low firing of about 800 degree centigrade to adhere the enamels to the white glaze surface.  The vessels consisted of mainly bowls, dishes and human figurines.  In fact, black enamel was used for the eye brow and eyes of figurines from pacun kiln.

There were further development of overglaze enamelled wares during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty and subsequent became the widely known Ming/Qing wucai .


Black wares

Jian (temmoku/Tianmu) ware

Jian black wares were made in Jian kilns situated in shuiji Jianyang (Ë®¼ª½¨Ñô£©in Fujian province.  Its major products were black glazed tea bowls with purplish black paste.  The most famous type had hare’s furs effect on it.  The hare’s furs are streaks which are either brownish or silvery white in colour.   Some highly priced type have bluish irridescent oil-spots of different sizes and shapes in the glaze.¡¡Those made for the palace had the inscribed chinese characters gongyu (¹©Óù£©or jinzhan £¨½øÕµ£©¡¡mark.

Tea contest was popular during the Song Dynasty.  Jian tea bowls were considered most suitable for such contest as its glossy black surface contrasted well with the white  tea.

During the Song Dynasty, the monasteries in the Tianmu mountains were frequently visit by Japanese monks who took the black tea bowls used in the monasteries with them when they returned home.  Hence black tea bowls came to be known as Tianmu (temmoku) in Japan.

Jian tea bowls were in high demand during the Song Dynasty and numerous kilns in Fujian also produced them to meet the demand.  There were also other kilns in provinces such as Zhejiang, Jizhou and sichuan which produced them.

Such bowls continued to be produced for sometime into the Yuan period.

For more information on Fujian temmoku, please read: Lianjiang shipwreck Fujian temmoku bowls


Jizhou ware

Jizhou kiln is situated in Yonghe £¨ÓÀºÍ£©in Ji’an £¨¼ª°²£©in Jiangxi province.  During the Southern Song period, Jizhou kiln developed a distinctive decorative technique which involved sprinkling a lighter glaze over a darker base glaze to produce the so called the tortoise shell and tiger fur effects.  They may have a dry mouldy mottled quality or could be more transparent and glossy if fired at a higher temperature.  There were many other varieties of  mottled effect.

The Jizhou potters also used paper cuttings  for decorations. The openwork stencils of cut paper was positioned on the  dark glaze surface.  A lighter glaze is then sprinkled over the whole surface.  A black design on a lighter colour mottled background is produced when the paper cutting is removed.   Some more commonly found papercut designs include plum blossom, floral spray, dragon, and phoenix.  There are also those with rhomboid patterns and 4 Chinese characters such as fu shou kang ning “¸£ÊÙ¿µŒŽ” ie  fortune, longevity, health and peace  or chang ming fu gui “³¤Ãü¸£¹ó” ie long life and prosperity.

During the late Song period, Jizhou also produced the underglaze iron-brown cizhou type painted motifs vessels.

For more on Jizhou ware, please read: Jizhou wares


Northern China black/brown wares

Northern kilns such as those in Henan and Hebei also produced beautiful oil spots black glaze tea bowl.  The Yaozhou and Ding black and Zijing glaze wares were also high excellent.   Henan kilns also made black wares with iron rust effect design of floral/bird and splashed design.  The black glaze was first applied and then the  design  painted over the glazed surface using iron-rich pigment.  The ware was fired at about 1300 degree centigrade and the iron pigment transformed into haematite crystals which is rust red in colour.


Kudat Song Shipwreck

The wreck was said to be discovered by fisherman on 15 Apr 2003.  However, based on the condition of the wreck, it is obvious that looting of the cargo had already taken place before the official announcement.   Some quantity of the ceramics from this wreck made their way to antique shops in Kota Kinabalu. The Sabah Museum gave Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn Bhd, a salvage company,  a permit to excavate the site. More than 800 ceramic and non-ceramic items were salvaged  from a depth of 400 metres from the Tanjung Simpang Mengayau shore at the northern tip of Borneo, close to Kudat in Sabah.  Simpang Mengayau meaning  ‘lingering junction‘ is where the South China Sea lingers and meets the Sulu Seas.  The treacherous coastline was the cause of many past shipwrecks.



Kudat wreck,  dated to the Song period, is the oldest  shipwreck discovered in Malaysian waters.  Some of the salvaged items are now on display at the Sabah museum.

I visited Sabah Museum in Aug 2011,  According to the museum short introduction of the wreck, the wreck is a Chinese merchant ship which was probably on its way to Brunei which ancient Chinese text recorded that it had diplomatic and trading relationship with China since the Song Dynasty.  The following types of ceramics were found:

  1. a)  Celadon bowls and dishes with carved motif from Tongan (同安)kiln in Fujian Province
  2. b)  Qingbai ewers and cover boxes from Fujian province
  3. c)  Celadon dishes with carved floral motif from Longquan
  4. d)  Kendis and jars from Guangdong province

After examining the ceramics artifacts on display, I am of the view that they are dated to Early Southern Song period.  Some of the Qingbai ewers , cover boxes, Fujian celadon with carved motif and Fujian cizao brown glaze kendis  are similar to those found in the Jepara shipwreck.  The celadon bowls and dishes with carved motif are from Fujian kilns, some could be produced in Tongan (同安) but we cannot preclude the possibility of other coastal kilns.  Kiln sites excavation revealed that kilns in county such as Nanan (南安), Fuqing (福清), Putian (莆田), Anxi (安溪) and  Minhou (闽侯) also produced similar style celadon wares. The dark brown kendis and jars are most likely products of Quanzhou Cizao (泉州磁灶) kiln  .

Ceramics recovered form the Kudat wreck


The ‘mercury jars’, ewers and kendis are most likely products of Cizao kiln in Quanzhou.
Cizao kiln kendis in Jepara wreck

Fujian celadon bowls with carved motif in Kudat wreck

Celadon bowl and dishes with carved motif from Fujian kiln

Qingbai ewers.  Similar ewers were recovered from Jepara wreck

Qingbai ewer from Fujian kiln from Jepara wreck

The large number of Fujian ceramics found in the Jepara, Nanhai 1 and Kudat wreck is testament of the importance of Quanzhou as the main port where goods were assembled and exported through the maritime trade route.   Quanzhou replaced Guangzhou as the most important port during the Southern Song period.  It maintained its prominent role during the Yuan period.  Fujian coastal region just like Guangdong during the Tang/Northern Song period, capitalised on its strategic location and built kilns to produce ceramics which copied the famous kiln such as celadon from Longquan, Qingbai from Jingdezhen and temmoku bowls from Jian kiln.  Such products targeted mainly the consumers from Southeast Asia region. However, some quantity also made their way along the mairtime trade route to places as far as India, middle East and East Africa.


Mr Koh


Sung Ceramic From Auction

Driwan Comment

I found this type ceramic at Jambi,Palembang,west java ,tuban and west Boneo, and Makasar




Huai-jen ware Stoneware with dark-brown glaze. Song Dynasty

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A CIZHOU-TYPE RUSSET-SPLASHED BLACKISH-BROWN-GLAZED BOWL NORTHERN SONG/JIN DYNASTY, 12TH-13TH CENTURY The rounded, conical body is covered on the interior and upper exterior with a lustrous, variegated, blackish-brown glaze that is decorated on the interior with five russet splashes, and on the exterior falls in an irregular line atop a thin brown glaze that ends irregularly above the foot to expose the granular ware that has fired to a buff color. 7 1/8 in. (18.2 cm.) diam.

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A JIZHOU PARTIALLY-GLAZED ‘WILLOW BASKET’ STONEWARE JAR SOUTHERN SONG/YUAN DYNASTY, 13TH-14TH CENTURY The unglazed exterior is finely combed with parallel lines forming concentric semi-circles on two sides and, at their longest, continuing under and across the small flat base. There is a combed band encircling the neck above a row of pointed bosses of white glaze. The rolled rim and interior are covered with a russet-mottled black glaze. 3 5/16 in. (8.4 cm.) across mouth

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Song Dynasty


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Vase with Waves China (Southern Song or Yuan Dynasty) The Cleveland Museum of Art

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kara miller ceramics #plates









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Kendi decorated in underglaze copper red, Jingdezhen, Ming dynasty, Hongwu period (1368-1398). Height: 15.3 cm, Width: 16 cm. C.54-1937. Sir Percival David Gift. © V Images.

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Porcelain flask decorated in underglaze blue with dragon design, China, Ming dynasty, ca. 1400-1430. Height: 13 in, Diameter: 8.5 in. 554-1878. © V Images.

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Vase, porcelain decorated in underglaze blue, China, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng mark and period, 1723-1735. Height: 52 cm. C.286-1910. © V Images.


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Cizhou-Vase in Mei-ping-Form. | North China / Province Hebei, Jin-Era 12. century




Cizhou-Vase in Mei-ping-Form. | North China / Province Hebei, Jin-Era 12. century



A rare green ‘jun’ ‘lotus bud’ water pot. Song dynasty. photo Sotheby’s




Jizhou ware porcelain bowl with speckle pattern, Song Dynasty

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Ewer, Northern Song dynasty 11th-12th century; Yaozhou ware. Image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art




Vase (meiping) with inscription ‘Fine wine with delicate aroma’. Yuan-Ming dynasty, 1350-1400. Longquan kilns, south China. Stoneware with olive green (celadon) glaze. Height: 47 cm. FE.34-1972. E. V. Lee Gift. © V Images.

 Jian Temmoku bowls (Jian Zhan)


Jian temmoku bowls were prized by tea connoisseurs during the Song Dynasty.  However, with changes to the tea drinking habits, it lost favour subsequently and awareness and knowledge of its eminent stature was erased from the Chinese memory with the passage of time. During the late Qing/Republican period, there was a revival of interest in these black glaze bowls as one category of antique Chinese ceramics for overseas collectors   Many of the antique ceramics, with some as early as the Neolithic period, were from ancient tombs/graves and kiln sites.  Many of the black glaze bowls that surfaced in the Shanghai and Beijing antique markets were defective bowls from kiln sites.  According to the Jianou chronicles (建欧县志) dated 18th year of Republican era  ie 1929 A.D,antique dealers  paid the villagers to illegally dig up Jian kiln black bowls and transport  them to Shanghai or Japan. 

James Marshall Plumer, an American who served as a custom officer in Fuzhou in Fujian, got wind that the bowls originated from Shuji (水吉) in Jianyang (建阳)in Minbei (Northern Fujian).  He made a trip there in 1935 and collected numerous sherds and kiln furnitures such as clay separator and saggars.  He became a Chinese ceramics scholar and was noted for his study on Jian temmoku bowls.  


Origin of the term Jian Zhan and Temmoku

The term Jian Zhan () first appeared in Japanese written sources during the early 14th century.   Zhan 盏)is a chinese word which means a small bowl during ancient time. Many writings related to Jian zhan mistook it to mean bowls from Jianyang as Shuiji where the kilns were located is now part of Jianyang county. But that only happened during the 20th century.  Prior to that, Shuiji came under the jurisdiction of Jianou (建欧) county.  In 207 A.D of the Eastern Han period, Jianou, known as Jianan (建安), was set up as a county.  It was elevated to prefecture status subsequently and renamed as Jianzhou (建州) in 621 A.D of the Tang era.  Cai Xiang (蔡襄) in his “Record of Tea”, Cha lu (), wrote : “.. The tea bowls made at Jianan have purplish black glaze with hare’s fur pattern. The body is slightly thicker and so retains the heat well.”  Hence, the term Jian Zhan is more likely refer to zhan from Jianan or Jianzhou.   However, in line with the Song convention of naming famous ceramics after the prefecture that they were made, such as Ding or Yue wares, it is most appropriate to understand it as meaning Jianzhou zhan.

Nowadays, it is common to refer to Jian Zhan as Temmoku (Tenmoku) bowls.  According to the Qing chronicle “Da Qing Yi Tong Zhi”  (大清一统志)”, Tianmu mountain (Tenmoku in Japanese), located in present day Zhejiang Linan city (临安市), had many zen sect temples during the Song/Yuan period.  Many Japanese monks went there to study and practice Zen Buddhism.  When returning to Japan, they brought back with them black glaze tea bowls which included those from Jianzhou and other kilns, which they termed Tenmoku bowls (天目碗)ie bowls from Tianmu mountian. Tea drinking is an effective means to stay awake during meditation. 

In the Japanese work (禅林小歌dated 1394 – 1427 A.D, there appeared to be distinction between various types of Jian zhan and other types of tea bowls such as  Fuzhou zhan  (福州) and tenmoku.  However, subsequently the term tenmoku was used loosely to refer to all types of black/brown tea bowls.  

Tianmu mountain in Linan city located west of  Hangzhou

Tea competition and Jian Zhan

Tea from Fujian Fuzhou and Jianzhou were mentioned in Tang Lu Yu’s treatise on tea (陆羽茶经).  By the Northern Song Dynasty, Jianzhou tea, ie Jian cha (建茶) achieved so much fame for its quality that in 977 A.D, Bei Yuan Yu Cha Yuan (北苑御茶园), an officially managed imperial  tea plantation was established in Jianzhou (present day Jianou city).  The tea leaves gone through the process of powdering, steaming and baking. After which, they were packed in cake form before sending to the palace.   

Cai Xiang (1012 – 1048 A.D) ), a native of Xianyou (仙游) in Fujian, was once  in charge and supervised the official Beiyuan tea plantation.  During the stint in Jianzhou, he gained deep knowledge of a leisure activity called tea competition enjoyed by the locals.  He became an ardent convert.  Using his influence as a high ranking court official, he introduced the art of Fujian tea competition to the imperial court.   In his  treatise “Record of Tea”, Cai Xiang ranked  a type of white Jiancha called Dragon Pheonix tea (Longfeng tea 龙凤茶) and Jian purplish black glaze bowl with hare’s fur pattern as the best for tea competition. Through his active promotion, tea competition became a popular and noble activity of the imperial court and the literati class.  This activity gained a further boost during the late Northern Song Emperor Huizong’s reign ( AD 1101-1125).  He was a great connoisseur of the tea culture and displayed his in-depth understanding in a twelve-chapter dissertation “Discussion of Tea in the Daguan period ” (Da Guan cha lun 观茶录 ).  He too advocated Jian hare’s fur tea bowls as the best for tea competition.  The competition was judged based on certain criteria, such as the taste, fragrance, colour of the tea (white superior to yellowish tone).  During the contest,  the tea was whisked to white froth  The tea should stay well-mix and the first to show traces of residue loss was declared the loser. 

Tea competitions became the favourite past time of the rich and poor in many areas in China. Due to popular demand, Jian kilns produced large quantity of tea bowls during the Song period.  For those common folks who could not afford Jian Zhan, they could avail themselves of cheaper version of tea bowls produced in other provinces and numerous other Fujian kilns.  


Origin, dating and characteristics of Jian Zhan

Shuiji, a market town in present day Jianyang,was the location where the ancient Jian kilns were found.  Since 1960, 4 official archaeological excavations, ie in 1960, 1977, 1990 and 1991,  were carried out in Shuiji.  Kilns were discovered in small villages in:

  • Luhuaping (芦花坪) – celadon and black glaze sherds
  • Niupilun (牛皮仑)–   celadon and black glaze sherds
  • Daluhoumen (大路后) –  black glaze, small quantity celadon and blue and white sherds
  • Yuangtoukeng(源头坑) – black glaze sherds 
  • Anweishan (庵尾山) –  celadon and black glaze sherds
  • Shuiweilan (水尾) – black glaze sherds
  • Yingzhanggan (营长乾– black glaze and qingbai sherds
  • Qililan (七里) .– black glaze sherds


Based on archaelogical evidence, small scale celadon wares were produced during late Tang/5 Dynasty period in kilns located at sites such as  Luhuaping (芦花坪), Niupilun (牛皮仑) and Anweishan (庵尾山).  The wares consisting of bowls, plates, jars, ewers, cover boxes and etc.  The vessels which are generally rough and stylistically similar to the celebrated yue wares. The glaze is generally uneven and the lower portion of the external wall of the vessel is unglaze. The vessels were fired with protection of saggars.

By late 5 Dynasty/Early Northern Song, the Jian potters started to produce two types of shallow bowls with slightly in-curving rim.   The lower external wall and foot is unglaze.  The glaze is thin and black/dark brown in colour. The bowl is quite thinly potted with a slight protrusion on the inner base.  Below the rim, the wall is of relatively even thickness.  The paste is greyish or greyish brown.  Such bowls were recovered from the kiln in Anweishan (庵尾山).  The bowl was fired upright in a saggar.

Precursor of the typical Jian wares

Tao Gu (陶穀) (903 – 970 A.D) in his work Qingyilu (清异) wrote that among the tea bowls made in Min (Fujian), there are those decorated with partridge-feather mottles.  His work has often been quoted to back the dating of Jian tea bowls to 5 Dynasty/early Northern Song period.   It gives the impression that by late 5 Dynasty/early Northern Song, Jian potters were already producing the celebrated Jian zhan.  However, based on archaeological evidence, the bowls of late 5 Dynasty/Early Song period are generally rough as compared with the mature products of mid Northern Song onward.  Extant tea bowls with partridge-feather mottles are found in bowls which were stylistically  produced at least from mid Northern Song period onward.  In fact, the authenticity of Qingyilu is now being questioned by some Chinese scholars.  Some suggested that it was a fictitious work of late Northern Song period.

Based on the archaeological findings, the typical Jian tea bowls were produced from the Mid Northern Song (perhaps from 2nd quarter of 11th century) to late Southern Song period. Jian kilns also produced small quantity of  black glaze cups, bowl-shaped lamps and bo-shaoed bowls. There are at least 8 different types of tea bowls in 3 sizes that were produced during the duration.  

From the bowls recovered from the kilns, it is clear that type 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 8 were found in large quantity.  Type 1 with a conical form and an indent near the rim is the most classical form which is usually associated with the celebrated Jian Zhan.  Based on Jian bowls recovered from graves, this form became the dominant form from the late Northern Song period onward.  In fact this served as a prototype which was widely copied by potters from other kilns. Compared with those from other kilns, the typical Jian bowl has a thicker and lustrous glaze.  The paste is usually purplish black and more dense.  (It should be noted some especially the small size bowls have greyish or redish brown paste.  This is because they were placed in locations  which received uneven or lower heat while firing in the kiln). The unglaze lower portion is carefully finished.  It appears smooth and usually do not show shaving marks when trimming the external wall.  The wall of the bowl thickens as it descends towards the foot. The base is thick and the square cut foot is neat and the outer base sits within a shallow inner footring.   

Some examples of Jian tea bowls

For tea  bowls sent as tribute to the palace, there are at least a portion which is marked with Gongyu (供御) ie tribute or Jinzhan (进盏) meaning to present bowl.  The characters are either incised or impressed.  They were found in the kilns dated mid Northern Song to Southern Song. 


Besides Gongyu and Jinzhan mark, there are also others incised with chinese characters of surname/name of the potter/or kiln owner or Chinese character/chinese numeral which could indicate location which item was to be place in the kiln.


Bowls with glaze decorated with hare’s fur marking or  partridge feather mottles were highly prized by the Song tea culture connoisseurs.  Many Song literati made reference to them in their poems and commentary. Hare’s fur markings are silvery or rustic streaks which are found on the interior and exterior wall of the lustrous black glaze bowl.  According to Nigel Wood in his book “Chinese Glazes”, once the glaze melted, a layer of thin iron-rich droplets coalesced to form a thin layer within the glaze.  Some of the iron-rich droplets were brought ot the surface by bubbles and run down the sides of the bowl under the influence of gravity.  The iron oxide in these streaks crystalised out into silvery tone if under reduction or rustic tone if under oxidisation atmosphere.  

Hare’s fur bowl with rustic streaks
Hare’s fur sherd  with silvery streaks 


As regard Partridge feather’ glaze,  in the past there were debate on whether the markings actually refers to fine markings on the back of the partridge or large light-coloured spots on its breast.  Most argued that it cannot be the fine markings on the back as some other types of bird  also have similar marking.  On the other hand, large light-coloured spots is unique to a type of partridge in Fujian.  This is now the more widely accepted meaning for partridge feather mottles.  In 1988 a  shard with 66 carefully placed white glaze spots was excavated from the Shuiweilan (水尾)  kiln.  The base has a incised gong yu mark  suggesting that it was originally intended for tribute.  This is now acknowledged as partridge feather glaze. It make sense of a Northern Song poet’s description of a Jian bowl having markings that appear ‘like melting snow on dark water.

A Fujian partridge with white spots on the breast Jian sherd with white spots and gongyu mark

In the Japanese collections, there are some Jian Zhan with silvery or rustic oil-spots (termed Yuteki in Japanese). In DaDe Temple, Kyoto in Japan there is a Jian Zhan with oil-spots.   The silvery oil-spots are large, the result of several oil-spots congealed into bigger spots during firing.  Indeed, they resemble the partridge spots.  Those with smaller oil-spots are also classified as partridge feather type although strictly speaking the similarity is less convincing.




Oil spots Tenmoku in Japanese collection. The spots are smaller as compared with that from Dade temple


Oil spots tenmoku bowls are scarce.  According to Nigel Wood : “It happened occasionally that kiln temperatures began to fall while the glazes were still boiling, thereby fixing the iron-rich spots before they could run down into streaks. … The effect was copied in north China during the the Song and Jin period,  using a more reliable technique that involved the application of an iron-rich (and perhaps magnetite-based) slip beneath an ordinary black temmoku glaze. The success of this approach has meant that northern oil spot temmokus are less uncommon than the jian originals.”    His comments is important and rectify the erroneous explanations in some past published text that Jian hare’s fur and oil spots glaze involves the application of an iron-rich slip.

There are 4 extremely rare tenmoku bowls with yohen glaze in the Japanese collections.   The term Yohen means dazzling and brilliant kiln transmutation.  The  clusters of brown-colored spots of various sizes are either surrounded by light blue or deep blue or golden iridescent film. 

In the past, no known example of Yohen was found outside Japan.  Few years ago, a broken piece was found in Hangzhou in a location near the imperial palace.


Yohen temmoku found in Hangzhou

By the late Southern Song period, Jian potters also manufactured qingbai wares with carved or impressed motif.  One of the kiln at Yingzhanggan (营长乾) has a layer of qingbai sherds above Jian zhan sherds layer.  This indicated that Jian kiln was facing stiff competition from Jingdezhen which produced Qingbai wares.  The decline popularity of Jian Zhan could also be linked to the decline in popularity of tea competition. To ensure their survival, some kilns were forced to branch out and  produce the increasingly more popular Qingbai wares.  Latest by early Yuan period, Jian kilns ceased production.


 Temmoku bowls from other Fujian kilns

To meet the hugh domestic and overseas demand for temmoku bowls, they were also produced in large quantity in other kilns in Fujian, mainly in Jianyan (建阳), Wuyishan (武夷山), Songxi (松溪), Guangze (), Jianou (建瓯), Pucheng (蒲城), Nanping (南平) , Changting (长汀), Fuqing (), Minhou (闽侯) and Ningde (宁德).  Most of the sites produced a mix of celadon, qingbai and black wares.  For temmoku bowls, the dominant form produced were similar or variants of the Jian conical bowl with the indent near the rim.  

Among the sites, those at Wuyishan Yulinting (武夷山遇林亭), Nanping Chayang (南平茶洋)  and Fuzhou Dongzhang (福州东张) were large in scale and were found in overseas  especially Japan.  

Wuyishan Yulinting (武夷山遇林亭) produced an interesting form with decoration in gold.  In most instances, the decorations have faded and only traces could be seen.  The motif includes dragon phoenix, crane, pine, bamboo, prunus, flowers and orchid.   There were also those with auspicious wordings or landscape.  In some past ceramics publications, such bowls have been erroneously attributed to Jian kiln. Bowls from this kiln have mainly  greyish to greyish white paste.

A bowl with traces of gold decoration of auspicious phrase “寿山福海” connoting longevity

The medium size temmoku bowls from Nanping Chayang (南平茶洋) is distinguishable by a thin horizontal ridge where the foot meet the wall.  This feature appears to be unique to this kiln. The shaving marks are usually clearly seen on the unglaze lower external wall.  

A medium size (12 cm dia. ) bowl from Nanping Chayang kiln

In the 1980s, local residents recovered a large number of small Temmoku tea bowls from a wreck at Bai Jiao (白礁) in Fujian Lianjiang Dinghai (连江定海).  The Fujian ceramic experts observed that many of the bowls were similar to those produced at Fuqing Dongzhang (请东张) and Minhou Nanyu (闽侯南屿) and dated them to Southern Song period. Dong Zhang kiln complex was large and comparable in size to that at the Jian complex.  They produced large quantities of temmoku and celadon bowls.  In the Japanese work (禅林小歌dated 1394 – 1427 A.D, a type of tea bowl  called Fuzhou zhan (福州) was mentioned.  During the Song/Yuan period, Fuqing and Minhou came under the jurisdiction of Fuzhou.  Hence, Fuzhou zhan most probably included tea bowls produced in those two counties.  In ancient sites in Japan Fukuoka and Kamakura, there were numerous similar type of tea bowls recovered and were dated to mid 12th to first half of 13th century.  Many Dongzhang bowls were also recovered from ancients sites in the coastal Fujian region.   

After studying the large number of small tea bowls from the Lianjiang wreck in my collection, it is hard to confirm with certainty the actual kiln of production. Those from Dongzhang, Minhou Nanyu (闽侯南屿) and Ningde Feiluan (宁德飞鸾) appear similar.  They share the characteristics of having a casual finishing with poorly formed foot and shaving marks.  The profile of the conical bowl with the indent at the rim could vary to a large degree.  The lower wall could descent more gradually or steeply to the foot.  The glaze is more thinly applied and large number show a thinner layer of glaze especially at the lower wall near the foot.  Some of the bowls also have bluish white or rustic hare’s fur markings but are not well-defined and clear compared to those from the Jian Kiln.  The colour of the glaze ranges from black, black with rustic patches, brown, tea-dust or rustic .

Examples from Lianjiang wreck showing the different profile of the conical bowls

Examples from Lianjiang wreck.  Below one shows traces of hare’s fur markings


Some examples of temmoku bowls from the  Min Hou, Fuqing and Ningfei kilns are shown below.



Written by : NK Koh 



Compare with yuan celadon at the next page

Dr Iwan Comment

I upload this CD-Rom after I found some Song ware from West Java.

To more now I upload the info from my other research

The Chinese ancestor Song

Read and Look at the next page

If the collectors want to get this CD-Rom

Please contact me via email

donnot forget to upload you ID copy and the home address

this important to protect from

internet hijact.

Emperor china during

. 960 AD to 1279 AD Song and Liao and Jin Dynasty Emperors

Emperor Song Taizu Emperor Song Taizong Emperor Song Huizong Emperor Song Gaozong



China was unified again by
the Song Dynasty

(960 – 1279).

The Song dynasty produced a complex series of coins. Song emperors used many reign titles and different calligraphy styles were used in the coins.

This is a guide to the coins of

the Northern Sung Dynasty

(AD 960 to 1126),

the coin uncommkon and rare.

Dr Iwan Notes

The Nothern Song found many than the Southern Song Coins


The Sung Dynasty, established in AD 960,

saw relative stability in China, although conflict with the Tartars and Mongols continued. In AD 1127 the northern provinces were lost to them


the capital had to be moved from

K’ai-feng Fu (Pien-liang) in the north


Lin-an Fu (Hangchou) in the south.

We now refer to the period before the move as the Northern Sung and after the move as Southern Sung.

This is a complex series, with nine Emperors using dozens of reign titles and many inscription and calligraphy variations which defined dates and mints. If the variations were catalogued, they would number in the thousands. Unfortunately the key to understanding them no longer exists..

Song Dynasty,

Is Many Armor Leaves (Iron Sheet) One Kind Of Iron Armor Which Connects With The Rawhide Or The Armor Nail Becomes. It Protects The Whole Body Nearly, For China Ancient Armor’s Apex.


Northern Song Dynasty



Emperor Taizu – Song Dynasty


[] Emperor Taizu [Tai-tsu] , the first emperor


[]Emperor Taizong



[]Emperor Zhengzong

[] Emperor Renzong







Due to many North and south Sung Coins found in Indonesia were the history fact that North Sung Empire had many trading to the Indonesian kingdom starting from the later srivijaya and the kingdom after that after the Sung empewor had helped srivijaya and another kingdom from the Tamil Indian chola king occupation Indonesia, and all the Indonesian Kingdom sent tribute to Sung empires that is why the north sung cash coin were upload completey for  better wto  learn  with more detailed information





At the standard in use since the T’ang, the Northern Sung monetary system was based on full weight bronze 1 cash averaging 3.5 grams, 2 cash averaging 7 grams cast sporadically after AD 1093, and on a few occasions, usually during times of war, bronze 3 and 10 cash fiduciary coins cast to the 2 and 3 cash standard. In addition to bronze coins, fiduciary iron coins were also cast through much of this period.

AD 960 to 1041.

The only bronze northern song coins were full-weight 1 cash.










The Sanghyang Tapak or also called Jayabhupati inscription, dated 952 saka (1030 CE). Displayed at National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta.


Discovered in Pancalikan, Bantar Muncang, Cibadak, Sukabumi, West Java.




The inscription was edicted by Jayabhupati, king of Sunda kingdom

that declared forbidden (conservation?) lands east of Sanghyang Tapak, that forbade people from catching fish in the river and wetlands in this area.






AD 1041.

Fiduciary 3 cash (S-505) of about 7 grams and 29 mm. This was the earliest North Sung issue higher than a 1 cash. As a fiduciary issue it proved unpopular and subject to counterfeiting and

 in AD 1059

was devalued to 2 cash, consistent with the weight.


Out of this defeat, however, emerged the reign of Airlangga, founder of Java’s first empire.

Reputedly the son of a Balinese king and a Javanese princess, he was able to bring east and central Java, as well as Bali, under a relatively united regime, though this probably meant that he was able to keep up a sustained intimidation of regional lords, rather than that he ruled closely.

 His capital was at Kahuripan in the lower reaches of the Brantas and his seaport, Hujung Galah, was probably close to the site of modern Surabaya.

On his deathbed in 1049,


between his two sons, one taking the lower reaches of the Brantas as ruler of a kingdom known as Janggala, the other establishing a new capital in Panjalu (later Kediri) and ruling a kingdom called Daha. Hardly any information on either kingdom has survived, but two hundred years later, when records are once more available, the division was still politically significant.

By the early 13th century, Kediri had conquered Janggala, but in 1222, Kediri itself was overthrown by a usurper, Ken Angrok, who established his capital at Singhasari. Singhasari’s greatest ruler was Kertanegara, who presided over a time of rapid development in Javanese culture


AD 1070.

Fiduciary bronze 10 cash (S-538) of 7.2 grams and 30 mm were issued to raise funds for the Western Wars. As with the earlier fiduciary issues, these were unpopular and subject to counterfeiting and were devalued to 2 cash at the war’s end. Iron 10 cash were also issued at this time.



AD 1093.

Full-weight 2 cash of about 7.0 grams and 29 mm. (S-575) were introduced as a regular part of the currency, but only issued sporadically.

AD 1102.

Fiduciary 10 cash (S-621) were cast in an attempt to introduce them as a regular part of the coinage. At about 11 grams and 31 mm these contained 3 cash worth of metal and were devalued to value 3 cash in AD 1111.

AD 1107.

A full weight 10 cash was issued (S-630) at about 27 grams and 50 mm, but was withdrawn within a year. These appear to have been hoarded, and used as a cheap source of metal for counterfeiting the fiduciary 10 cash issues still circulating from the issue of AD 1102.




The earliest northern Song iron coins

consisted of non-fiduciary 1/10 cash. Schjoth (page 28) records: “In the 2nd year of Ching-te (AD 1005) large iron coins were cast in the two localities of Chia-ting Fu and Chiung-chou in Szechuan, value one copper cash or ten small iron cash. These all circulated jointly and gave much satisfaction.”

The large iron coins, of bronze 1 cash value, seem to be S-472 (10.83 grams, 35 mm). We believe

the “small iron cash”

valued at 1/10th of a copper cash are the well known iron issues of bronze cash size and weight which start with the T’ai-p’ing (S-462) issues of AD 976-984. This would explain a passage where Schjoth records Mr. Hu, in AD 978, paid for copying some sacred classics with

120 strings of iron money. Recording payment specifically in iron money would not be necessary unless iron and copper cash were valued differently. This establishes iron at about 1/10th the value of copper, a figure very important to understanding other iron issues. The larger iron coin (S-472), at about 11 grams, was fiduciary with only about 0.3 cash worth of iron.

A careful analysis of the coins, as well as the literary evidence, suggests the following sequence:

AD 978. Non-fiduciary 1/10 cash iron coins are first cast. It is possible that earlier specimens may one day come to light.

AD 990. Non-fiduciary 1/10 cash iron coins cease to be cast, but continue to circulate until at least AD 1005.

AD 1004 (possibly a little earlier). Fiduciary iron 1 cash ware introduced (S-472) at 11 grams, 35 mm and issued sporadically throughout the Northern Sung period but at ever-reducing weights and sizes.

AD 1017. The standard for iron 1 cash is reduced to about 7 grams, 28 mm (S-483).

AD 1023. The size of iron 1 cash is reduced to about 25 mm, but the weight remains at about 7.0 grams (S-487).

AD 1070. Fiduciary iron 10 cash (S-542a) of 35 mm and variable weight between 7.5 and 11 grams are issued to finance the Western Wars. At the end of the war these are devalued to 2 cash.

AD 1093. Iron 2 cash (S-580) introduced at the same standard as the 10 cash of AD 1070, but prove an unsuccessful experiment and by the end of AD 1094 are trading at scrap iron prices (about 0.4 cash).

AD 1101. The weights of iron 1 cash become variable (S-615) averaging about 5.75 grams but specimens between 3.5 and 7 grams are encountered. The size remains consistent at about 25 mm.

AD 1111. Iron 2 cash (29 mm, 7-10 grams) (S-643) and 3 cash (32 mm, 9-11 grams) are cast but again faile to be accepted.




When we were first writing this site, the issuing and later devaluations of fiduciary coins appeared somewhat random, but it quickly became obvious this was not the case.

All of the iron coins, with the exception of the early 1/10 cash issues were fiduciary. Fiduciary 1 cash iron coins were accepted throughout this period, but all attempts at higher denominations were rejected.

It appears that almost all fiduciary bronze coins, and most fiduciary iron over 1 cash, were only cast during times of war or other emergencies and afterwards the bronze coins were devalued to denominations consistent with their size and weight, while iron coins were demonetized and withdrawn from circulation.

Fiduciary bronze was always cast to standards consistent with lower denominations, allowing them to be devalued later and still fit into the pre-existing coinage system. This shows planning, suggesting they were cast with the full intent of a future devaluation. (The same is not true of fiduciary iron coins).




Northern Sung coins present a complex series of inscription variations which, while easily catalogued, are poorly understood. Date and mint codes are probably hidden in these variations, but it is possible we will never understand them.



Schjoth’s introduction to Northern Sung coinage (page 27) says: “As regards the style of writing, the coins in the ‘seal’ writing come first, followed by those in the clerkly or orthodox writing, and ultimately finishing up with the ‘running’ hand, or ‘grass-character’ style of writing.”

By using “or” he is saying “clerkly” and “orthodox” are one script style, “running hand” and “grass-character” are a second. Seal script is the third style. A quick examination of the coins shows his statement of only three styles of calligraphy are correct.


  • “SEAL” –

Zhong he tong bao@

a very formal style of writing. Rounded characters with a fixed form and all details of each character included. The differences between coins are minor. There is no real Western equivalent, but type set block capital letters come closest.


  • “ORTHODOX” –

Chong he tong bao

Ta ting tung pao

also referred to as “clerkly”. Angular characters with a generally square or rectangular appearance in which most details are made up of distinct either straight or slightly curved stokes. The general layout of a character is fixed, but small details can be left out. From coin to coin there can be significant differences. The closest Western equivalent is handwritten small-case printing.


  • “GRASS” –

Chung hua yung bao@

Yuan feng tong bao@

Compare the same coin in seal script


Northern Song ZhiDao YuanBao Grass script US $6.00@





Compare with the very rare

Li script

Jing Kang Tong Bao



Northern Song dynasty, 960-1127,

Jing Kang Tong Bao, 1126, iron 1 cash, H16.518, S-669, Li script, aVF $180.00 sold 7/4/2011


also referred to as “running hand”. Flowing characters on which several details of a character can be represented by a single wavy or jagged line. A form of shorthand in which a character can show major differences from coin to coin. This is distinctly like Western handwriting (as opposed to hand printing).

Confusion throughout the general listings, such as for S-633-637 (page 33) where he states the type exists in both “clerkly” and “orthodox” script leads us to believe Schjoth did not write this part of the catalogue. It must have been written by someone working from his rough notes in which must the terms have been used interchangeably.

We relied on Schjoth’s drawings and descriptions to determine the calligraphy style of most issues, but the drawings are not always accurate. Some of the drawings show coins with a mix of orthodox and grass characters, in which cases we list the coin by the style of the 12 o’clock character. If actual specimens confirm this mixing of types, we will comment on them later.



In his introduction to the Northern Sung coinage, Schjoth (page 27) writes “It will be noted that the Yuan-paos, implying the ‘opening’ or ‘beginning’ currency are placed before the T’ung-paos, implying the principle of the ‘flowing’ currency.”

A simple examination of the coins shows no such relationship exists. There is also a third ending,”Chung-pao”, which Schjoth has ignored in this passage. We have noted the following pattern in the use of these endings:

AD 960 to 989 –

all coins use “T’UNG PAO”.

AD 990 to 1007 –

all coins use “YUAN-PAO”.

AD 1008-1016 –

both “T’UNG PAO” and “YUAN-PAO” during the same reign title.




AD 1041 –

Chung ning chung pao

a third ending of “CHUNG-PAO” was introduced.

AD 1017-1041 –

only one ending was used during any reign title, but it could be either “T’UNG PAO”, “YUAN-PAO” or (after AD 1041) “CHUNG-PAO.

AD 1053-1126 –

no evident pattern. Anywhere from one to three endings used in any reign title. In the cases where only one was used, it could be any of the three.

At this time we cannot comment of the significance of these endings, but there must be one. Coins of some reign titles are very rare and it is possible new types may turn up which will help establish a more significant pattern.




Northern Sung coins occur with inscriptions reading either



Tai ping tung bao




Grass script Northern Song Dynasty, Sheng Song Yuan Bao 1101-1106A.D.

1cash “Knotted Sheng” – Price 55 USD



Other example

Seal script Yua yao yuan bao@

Orthodox script Tong Seng Yuan bao

Both orientations occur throughout and some issues can be found either way. We have not yet been able to determine any significance of these two orientations.







over 35
968-975 KAI-PAO Sung yuan tong bao 3.2 grams
976-984 T’AI-P’ING@ 








3.1 grams@
990-994 SHUN-HUA@ 


3.2 grams
995-998 CHIH-TAO yuan pao@ 









3.5 grams
998-1004 HSIEN-P’ING Yuan Pao @ 3.6 grams
1004-1007 CHING-TE yuan pao@ 3.5 grams
1008-1016 HSIANG-FU  






3.7 grams
1017-1021 T’IEN-SHI @ 3.2 grams
1023-1031 T’IEN-SHENG@ 3.7 grams
1032-1033 MING-TAO@ 3.9 grams
1034-1037 CHING-YU@ 3.7 grams
1038-1039 PAO-YUANhuang yu tong pao @ 


3.6 grams
1040 K’ANG-TING 3.3 grams
1041-1048 CH’ING-LI 3.3 grams 7.2 grams
1049-1053 HUANG-YU 2.7 grams
1054-1055 CHIH-HO@ 3.7 grams
1056-1063 CHIA-YU yun pao 3.5 grams
1064-1067 CHIH-P’ING yuan pao@ 3.6 grams
1068-1077 HSI-NING@ 3.5 grams@ 7.2 grams@
1078-1085 YUAN-FENG@ 3.3 grams@ 7.0 grams
1086-1093 YUAN-YU@ 3.2 grams 7.8 grams
1094-1097 SHAO-SHENG@ 3.7 grams 7.0 grams
1098-1100 YUAN-FU@ 1.7 grams 3.2 grams 7.4 grams
1101 CHIEN-CHUNGShen shung yuan pau 2.0 grams 3.6 grams@ 6.5 grams
1102-1106 CH’UNG-NING@ 2.7 grams 10.3 grams
1107-1110 TA KUAN@ 3.85 grams ?? grams 23.5 grams
1111-1117 CHENG-HO@ 3.3 grams2 7.2 grams
1118 CHUNG-HO 4.9 grams
1119-1125 HSUAN-HO 3.4 grams 6.1 grams 6.7 grams@
1126 CHING-K’ANG 7.3 grams







The Yuan (元)government

 inherited the ‘maritime custom system’,

so the individual state could trade with the custom officers at the major ports of China.

At the beginning of the Ming(明) Dynasty,

 the first emperor Hongwudi (洪武帝) resumed the tributary system.

Then so-called ’San-fo-chi’ appeared to the Ming court.

This San-fo-chi came from Palembang.

At that time Palembang was a vassal state of Java (the Majapahit kingdom) and Java killed the envoy from the Ming court at Palembang.

Hongwudi realized that he was cheated by the rulers of Palembang and accepted the situation.This ‘faked San-fo-chi

The end

Copyright @ 2014

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