rare Chinese Ru ware piece discovered

Interview with dr. Eva Ströber, conservator Asian ceramics of Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics about a discovery in 2014 of a rare piece of Ru porcelain in the museum’s collection. This particular Ru ware piece is one of the 79 known Ru wares in the world. In 2012 a similar Ru ware piece was sold by Sotheby’s for 26,7 million Dollar!

Ru ware

Like Ding ware, Ru (Wade–Giles : ju) was produced in North China for imperial use. The Ru kilns were near the Northern Song capital at Kaifeng. In similar fashion to Longquan celadons, Ru pieces have small amounts of iron oxide in their glaze that oxidize and turn greenish when fired in a reducing atmosphere. Ru wares range in colour—from nearly white to a deep robin’s egg—and often are covered with reddish-brown crackles. The crackles, or “crazing“, are caused when the glaze cools and contracts faster than the body, thus having to stretch and ultimately to split. The art historian James Watt comments that the Song dynasty was the first period that viewed crazing as a merit rather than a defect. Moreover, as time went on, the bodies got thinner and thinner, while glazes got thicker, until by the end of the Southern Song the ‘green-glaze’ was thicker than the body, making it extremely ‘fleshy’ rather than ‘bony,’ to use the traditional analogy. Too, the glaze tends to drip and pool slightly, leaving it thinner at the top, where the clay peeps through.

Ru Ware Bowl Stand, detail of crazing; V&A FE.1-1970 

As with Ding ware, the Song imperial court lost access to the Ru kilns after it fled Kaifeng when the Jin invaded, and settled at Lin’an in Hangzhou, towards the south. There the Emperor Gaozong founded the Guan yao (‘official kilns’) right outside the new capital in order to produce imitations of Ru ware. However, posterity has remembered Ru ware as something unmatched by later attempts; Master Gao says, “Compared with Guan yao, the above were of finer substance and more brilliant luster.”

{source: Wikipedia}

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