A Sky Blue-glazed JUN Foliate Cup Stand

Northern Song Dynasty

  • Medium:Porcelain
  • Year:Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127)
  • Size:Height 5.90 cm, Rim Diameter 7.50 cm, Diameter 15.20 cm, Foot Diameter 6.00 cm


It is a three-part structure: the bowl-cup is set on the top, the tray is stacked in the middle, and the foot ring is at the bottom, as a whole with a hollow chamber. The bowl-cup is with a round opening and a globular belly, being attached to the tray; the saucer tray is shaped in six-petal lotus blossom, slightly tilted upwards and is supported on a splayed foot ring. It is covered overall in bright and elegant sky blue glaze, partially with “earthworm trail marks”, leaving its ocher biscuit exposed at the foot bottom. The veins and contour of petals undulate elegantly, holding glaze of varied thickness, so as to present a bizarre colour gradation, with a subtle purple tint.

The cup stand, also known as tea saucer, with its prototype seen among YUE wares in the Southern Dynasties. According to Collected Works in Leisure Time by LI, Kuangyi in the Tang Dynasty, “the tea saucer, firstly developed by the daughter of CUI Ning, the chancellor of State Shu, is used as a sleeve to insulate the heat; the tray serves as a handle; and the foot ring is to enhance the stability. After the form of the cup stand is determined, they apply wax onto the middle of the tray to get the shape and size of the cup; then they make the cup stand and the cup out of lacquer, and present the set to the chancellor who is much surprised by the ware; due to its convenience, since on, everyone starts to use cup stand. In later generations, it goes through multiple adaptations and adjustments, to have hundreds of variations.”

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