The Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD) in China was home to a cultural renaissance, a period during which there was an intellectual and artistic explosion in everything from mathematics, engineering, and economics to philosophy, law, and poetry.
This period also gave birth to some of the most beautiful works of art, especially when it came to innovations in pottery and ceramics. Historians and experts agree that some of the best ceramics originated in what are now known as the “Five Great Kilns”: Ru, Guan, Ge, Jun, and Ding.
Each of these kilns had its own distinctive style, often making use of local clays and materials that were unavailable elsewhere. And today, artisans try to recapture that spirit in the hopes of bringing the magic of those kilns to life for us to see and experience.
So let’s take a look at what makes Jun teaware so exceptional.
In terms of form, Junware tends to be very simple, elegant, and clean in appearance. This is for good reason. By perfecting what are otherwise relatively plain shapes, artists find an ideal blank canvas on which they can showcase splashes of color, bringing a person’s attention to that rather than distracting someone with a chaotic or abstract shape.
At its heart, Jun is a celebration of life through vibrant color and flamboyance. Indeed, perhaps the most fascinating, defining quality of Jun porcelain that attracts all sorts of collectors is the beautiful and dazzling array of colors that any piece features. But what may come as a surprise is that these pieces are actually just a single color before firing.
In fact, all of the colors that you see on the surface of Junware like tea cups, tea bowls, vases—the violets, indigos, scarlets, greens, golds—all of these colors unfold from the firing itself. But this is no easy feat. To pull these colors out, the ceramics have to be fired in just the right way, and this is so difficult that failure rates are as high as 90% or more. For this reason, it is not uncommon for locals to joke that if you want to be poor, you should become a Junware artist.
While Junware is often imitated throughout the world, an authentic piece stands out from the rest when it is handled in person. In large part, this simply has to do with three variables that cannot be controlled away from the home of Junware, Henan Province, without difficulty: the clay, the glaze, and the skill. The clay and glaze have unique chemical compositions that are not easily duplicated, and preparing the glaze as well as firing the wares often require the knowledge afforded by artists well-versed in the long-standing tradition of crafting quality Junware.At MeiMei Fine Teas, we are proud to offer some authentic Jun porcelain from up-and-coming, promising artists as well as seasoned masters, and we are confident that you will be pleased with any of our Jun tea cup or tea bowl offerings. If you do not have any Junware in your collection yet, now is the time to add a piece before you miss out!