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Decorative Designs in Chinese Art 中国文物的纹饰

Fire Design 火纹
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Song Dynasty

The Song Dynasty (960—1279) was a prosperous period in China during which cities flourished, many inventions where made, such as gunpowder and movable type printing, and porcelain became more widespread. There were many developments in form, glaze techniques, and artistic content. Of the many porcelain factories in China at this time, and the best know were the Five Famous Kilns of the Song Dynasty 宋代五大名窑, which were: Ru Kiln 汝窑 in present day Linru, Henan; Guan Kiln 官窑; Ge Kiln 哥窑; Jun Kiln 钧窑 in present day Yuxian County, Henan; and Ding Kiln 定窑 in present day Quyuan County, Hebei.

Celadon Covered Jar with a Lotus Petal Design
龙泉窑 (960〜1279上海博物馆
Celadon Covered Jar with a Lotus Petal Design
Longquan Kiln, Song (960—1279), Shanghai Museum

Longquan Kiln 龙泉窑 located in present day Longquan, Zhejiang and founded in the Five Dynasties period, is one of the most famous porcelain kilns in China, The kiln is known for the powder-green and plum-green colors obtained by applying multiple layers of glaze. The jar below was produced at Longquan Kiln. Longquan kiln was well known for producing soft colors and forms in a subtle variety of greens and blues. A special alkaline-calcarous glaze was used rather than the standard lime glaze to allow thicker and more even application.

meiping / flower vase
(960〜1279耀州窑 上海博物馆
Celadon meiping vase with carved peony design
Song (960—1279), Yaozhou Kiln, Shanghai Museum

Yaozhou Kiln 耀州窑 was established in Shaanxi in the Tang. It produced black, white, and celadon porcelain. A meiping 梅瓶, such as the one shown above from Yaozhou, is a kind of flower vase with a narrow mouth.

flower vase
北宋(960〜1127耀州窑 上海博物馆
Celadon vase with carved interlaced floral design
Northern Song (960—1127 BCE), Yaozhou Kiln, Shanghai Museum

Natural themes, especially flowers, in porcelain were popular during the Song, such as the lotus petal, peony, lotus bouquet items on this page show.

lotus bouquet design / three lotus design
磁州窑 北宋(960〜1127) 上海博物馆
Porcelain pillow with dark lotus bouquet design on light background
Cizhou Kiln, Northern Song (960—1127), Shanghai Museum

The lotus bouquet design 把莲纹, shown above, is a traditional design that combines lotus flowers, stem, and leaves.

flower vase
(960〜1279上海博物馆
White glazed vase with incised fish and lotus design
Song (960—1279), Shanghai Museum

The Jizhou Kiln 吉州窑 was located in Jiangnan (south of the Yangtze) area. The kiln was well known for producing porcelain with a folk art flavor. The covered jar below is from Jizhou Kiln.

a covered jar
南宋(1127〜1368)吉州窑 上海博物馆
Covered jar with a brown leaf design on white background
Southern Song — Yuan (1127—1368), Jizhou Kiln, Shanghai Museum
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