VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Flanged bowl stand, Ru ware
FE.1-1970
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Ru wares are among the rarest of Chinese porcelains, as they were produced only for about 20 years. They are named after the famous Ru kilns in Henan province, not far from the Northern Song dynasty's imperial capital of Kaifeng. They are known for their pale bluish and greenish turquoise glazes. There is usually some slight, deliberate crackling of the glaze. A shallow cup-shaped stand, with curving sides vertical at the lip, having no base and set on a wide-spreading, tapered, saucer-like ring-flange with concave upper surface, straight-sided beneath and rising from a low spreading foot. The flange has been ground at the rim and the edge bound with a ring of copper. The foot has also been cut down to some extent and the rim is ground flat. The body would appear to be of warm buff colour and is hard enough to possess resonance. The glaze colour, where thick, is almost cerulean, but its effect is modified by dark staining in the broader lines of the crackle. The neatly incised inscription just within the foot is picked out in red pigment.

History of the Object
This immensely rare stand bears the incised inscription Shou Cheng Dian or Hall of Perfect Old Age, found also on a Ding ware dish in Taipei, which some specialists say is the original inventory mark of a Song palace pavilion. Stands of this form were made for use with tea bowls, and it may well have been handled by the Emperor Huizong (reigned 1101-1126), for whose court much Ru ware was produced. This Emperor was a great tea enthusiast, and even wrote a treatise on the subject.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Glazed porcelain 
Measurements
Width 16.5 cm (diameter) Height 5.8cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China; Henan Province 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 12th century ~ AD 12th century 
Creation date
12th Century; early 
Function
Stands of this form were made for use with tea bowls. 
Acquisition
Gift of Sir Harry Garner, KBE. Sir Harry (1892-1977) was a renowned scientist, scholar and collector of East Asian art. This fine bowl stand was the first object acquired by the newly formed Far Eastern Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Victoria and Albert Museum 
Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum 
Credit line
© V&A Images, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 

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