Probably from the Jianci village kilns, Hebei Province, China
Porcelain; Diam. 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Samuel T. Peters, 1926 (26.292.98)
The highly aesthetic, placid, and introspective atmosphere of both the Northern and Southern Song dynasties is reflected in the quiet elegance of ceramics in the classic court taste. Forms are simple and basically uncomplicated, while designs, when used, seldom intrude but are content to be investigated at the viewer's leisure. There is literary evidence that the white porcelains known as Ding ware were among those supplied to the Northern Song court, and the beauty of this basin illustrates why Ding porcelains would have enjoyed imperial favor. Delicately potted and enrobed in a mellow ivory-white glaze, it has a free-flowing, finely carved design of lotus and sagittaria sprays that epitomizes the Song penchant for unobtrusive decoration. Ding wares were usually fired on their unglazed mouth rims, probably to prevent warping, and the rims were very often capped with metal, as in this example.