A White-glazed DING Alms Bowl with Incised Lotus Flowers

Northern Song Dynasty

  • Medium:Porcelain
  • Year:Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127)
  • Size:Height 12.50 cm, Rim Diameter 25.40 cm, Foot Diameter 11.50 cm


Potted with a flared opening and a fuller body slightly tapered at the bottom, a flat base supported on a short foot ring, the interior of the alms bowl is incised with floral patterns with petals spreading out, branches and leaves interlocking with each other. According to Encyclopaedia on Ancient Matters by ZHANG, Hua in the Western Jin Dynasty, “the wild lily, with a pleasing taste, can relieve one from the sorrow, hence the name forgetsorrow grass.” It has been used to express mother’s love and longing for her travelling son since the Tang Dynasty. It is fully applied with white glaze; the opening rim is wrapped by a silver coat.

In LU You’s Study Notes by LU, You in the Southern Song Dynasty, it says that: “in the Northern Song Dynasty, DING wares were not allowed in the courtyard; the royal family chose to use RU wares over DING wares due to its un-glazed coarse rim.” And the “un-glazed coarse rim” was resulted by the unique inverted piling method while being baked in the kiln DING. So DING ware are commonly seen wrapped with gold, silver, or copper coat along the opening rim to hide its coarse texture of the biscuit and also to achieve a beautiful contrast with its white glaze.

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