Tea Bowl with “Hare’s-Fur” Glaze

Period: Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

Date: 12th century

Culture: China

Medium: Stoneware with iron glaze (Jian ware)

Dimensions: H. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); Diam. 5 in. (12.7 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891

Accession Number: 91.1.226


The Jian ware temmoku tea bowls of Fujian Province have long been appreciated in Japan; indeed, the term temmoku itself is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese Tianmu Shan, a mountain where, according to tradition, Japanese Buddhist priests visited a Buddhist temple and acquired some of these bowls to take back to Japan. The Jian tea bowls are fairly uniform in potting, with dark, coarse-grained stoneware bodies and lustrous bluish black or brownish black glazes that generally are shot through with brownish streaks likened to "hare's fur." Occasionally, as in this fine bowl, the glaze exhibits a multicolor surface iridescence as light plays across it.