Title:Celadon Vase, one of a pairArtist:Artist UnknownDate:Sung dynastyCreation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:Gift of Ruth and Bruce DaytonAccession Number:2000.210.1
When North China fell to non-Chinese tribes in 1127, the Sung emperor fled south, establishing his new capital at Hang-chou in Chekiang province. The new locally produced court ware known as kuan or "official" was similar in appearance to the famous ju ware of the Northern Sung court. Kuan wares were fired in reduction, the high iron content of the clay resulting in a characteristic dark brown unglazed foot. The subtle pale blue glaze could be two to four coatings, often making it thicker than the body itself. With time the crackle patterns induced during the cooling process became aesthetically desirable. The kuan kilns produced small, simple shapes from utilitarian brush washers and flower vases to imitations of ancient bronze vessels such as this pair of hu. The crackle patterns worked well with the archaistic forms in evoking a sense of antiquity that appealed greatly to Sung literati and ensuing generations of scholars.