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Guide to Early Chinese Ceramics

Chün Ware
11th-15th centuries

Chün ware was produced during Sung (960 - 1279) at Yu-hsien country in Honan province. The thick, velvety glaze appears in light blue, lavender blue, light green and blue with purple splashes. The key ingredient in Chün glaze is copper oxide fired in a reduction kiln. Most Chün shapes are simple and self-contained. Their aesthetic appeal is rooted in their rich, deep, opalescent glazes.

These dark bodied stonewares were produced at several kiln complexes in Honan province including Lin-ju and the characters of their bodies and glazes vary considerably. The best early examples of Chün have fine-grained, light grey bodies with graceful shapes and delicate blue glazes. By late Northern Sung and onward, splashes of crimson or purple color were deliberately induced with the addition of copper-rich compounds to the glaze. While the Northern Sung emperor Hui Tsung (r. 1100-25) ordered vast amounts of this attractive stoneware, it was not an official court ware.


Double Gourd-shaped Ewer

Lidded Jar
Lidded Jar


Narcissus Bowl
Narcissus Bowl