Ice and Green Clouds:
Traditions of Chinese Celadon
By: Mino, Yutaka and Katherine R. Tsiang

Green Wares // Song Dynasty

Ice and Green Clouds - Celadon Ice and Green Clouds: Traditions of Chinese Celadon

Catalog of a traveling exhibition with an excellent overview with details of Chinese celadon, its history and technological aspects. Appendix A is an article by Pamela Vandiver and David Kingery, ceramics scientists, entitled Celadon: The Technological Basis of Their Visual Appearances, providing technical aspects of this ware.

Ice and green clouds: traditions of Chinese celadon. By Yutaka Mino and Katherine R. Tsiang. pp. 240, illus. in col. and b. and w., map. Indianapolis, Indianapolis Museum of Art in co-operation with Indiana University Press, 1986.

Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr (June 1987)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0936260173
ISBN-13: 978-0936260174
Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds

April 4th, 2008

Sung Porcelain and Stoneware
By: Basil Gray

Song Dynasty

Sung Porcelain and Stoneware (Faber Monographs on Pottery and Porcelain)

Sung Porcelain and Stoneware, by Basil Gray

Good guide to Chinese porcelain and stoneware of the 10th-13th centuries. Also included are kiln sites, technological aspects, artistic, historic and social context. Recommended reference book.

Hardcover: 205 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber (London: May 1984)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0571130488
ISBN-13: 978-0571130481

April 4th, 2008

Song Dynasty Ceramics

By: Rose Kerr

Song Dynasty

Song Dynasty Ceramics by Rose KerrSong Dynasty Ceramics (Victoria & Albert Museum Far Eastern)

I would say that this is currently the number one book on Song ceramics right now. This volume highlights over 118 objects from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s magnificent collection to discuss China’s great age of ceramic production (1960-1279). The book is illustrated with many of the finest examples of Song ware in the Western world, many of which look astonishingly modern. The text, including research never before published in English, is complemented by newly taken photos.

The V&A’s collection of Song Dynasty ceramics ranges from rare and precious items to many interesting study pieces. In the last twenty years new research in China has led to a great expansion in knowledge about this fascinating ear. Rose Kerr has traveled to China annually and has brought together in this book the fruits of this research, much of it now published in the West for the first time. She uses it to provide context for the remarkable pieces illustrated here, and to bring the subject up-to-date for an English-speaking audience.

Rose Kerr are the former deputy keeper of the Asian department at the V&A Museum and is a much appreciated world authority on Song ceramics.

Format: Hardcover, 128 pages
Published: 2004, United Kingdom, 1st Edition
ISBN: 1851774157

April 2nd, 2008

Qingbai Ware:
Chinese Porcelain of the Song and Yuan Dynasties

By: Rosemary Scott et al. (Ed. Stacey Pierson)

Song Dynasty


From the preface: “Qingbai ware, or Yingqing ware as it is commonly known, is perhaps one of the most under appreciated ceramics in the Chinese ceramic tradition. It is not one of the wu wei ci, or five classic wares of the Song dynasty. It was not made exclusively for imperial use and its decorative styles and techniques were largely borrowed from other wares such as Ding and Yaozhou wares. With the exception of Jingdezhen, where it was primarily made, it also has not drawn much interest from archaeologists. This is unfortunate because, as we will see, qingbai ware is in fact one of the most successful ceramic types produced in China and was emulated at numerous kilns in many different regions. Very high quality qingbai wares were produced in the Song period which are today some of the finest early porcelains produced in China. Qingbai was also the basis from which Jingdezhen blue and white porcelain was developed and as recent research shows, this ware was noted in ancient records and was buried in hoards and tombs of the Song and Yuan dynasties. In fact, it was considered valuable enough when it was first made that several qingbai wares can be found in the original holdings of the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

The history of this ware is fairly straightforward but has not been presented in monograph form in English before. In order to show the complete picture of qingbai production, the history of its manufacture needs to be reconstructed and its forms, decoration and patronage need also to be illustrated. This volume will present these issues along with over 100 colour illustrations of some of the best and most interesting qingbai wares in collections around the world, many of which have not been published before.

Essays have been contributed from both doctoral students of Chinese ceramics as well as established specialists in the field. Summaries of these essays as well as the catalogue entries have also been provided in Chinese. For reasons of space, this catalogue concentrates on Qingbai ware for the Chinese domestic market and on examples made at Jingdezhen. It is hoped that this catalogue will inspire further research on export wares and the products of other kilns.”

Hardcover with slipcase, 9″ X 12″, 255 pages
130 catalogue entries with complete descriptions, photos of makers marks and full page color photographs

Author: Rosemary Scott, Amy Barnes, Estelle Nikles, Catherine Teo, Edited by Stacey Pierson
Publisher: Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art (2002)
ISBN-10: 072860339X
ISBN-13: 978-0728603394
Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds

March 29th, 2008

Sung Ceramic Designs by Jan Wirgin

Song Dynasty

Sung Ceramic Designs

This is one of my personal favorites and as I see it an indispensable companion for any collector of Song dynasty ceramics. The main reason is one that maybe was not that much of an issue at the time back in the late 1970s when Jan Wirgin was working with this, his doctoral thesis, namely the effort that went into selecting the items that were to be discussed.

Even today more than 30 years later nobody have seriously questioned the authenticity of any of the pieces that went into this book and I find it very refreshing to look through it. It has been reprinted in a second edition but the pictures, all black and white, did not come out as good in the later edition as in the first. This is not a very expensive book so try to find the first edition but if not, also the later are ok.

March 28th, 2008

Chinese Ceramics: Selected Articles from Orientations, 1982-2003

Imperial Chinese Porcelain // Ming Porcelain // Song Dynasty


This substantial compilation of illustrated articles from ‘Orientations’ makes available new perspectives and the results of specialist research on many aspects of the history, design and production of Chinese ceramics.

This book just ought to be one of the best buys ever when it comes to substance. One slight drawback is that the book as such is compiled from a series of interesting articles.

Even if they so to speak covers the history of Chinese Ceramics, as a book, it lacks focus. But besides that, as a night table book, or the perfect reference look-up book if you are lucky enough to hit home on one of the topics covered. Very good.

Nobody hesitates about that this book is worth buying. Actually you should have subscribed to Orientation during 1982-2003 in the first place but if you didn’t; here’s a very good selection of the best of the best.

Format: Paperback, 430 pages
Published: 2004, Hong Kong, 2nd Edition
ISBN: 9627951325

March 28th, 2008

Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feather:
Chinese Brown- and Black-glazed Ceramics, 400-1400
By: Robert D. Mowry

Song Dynasty


This volume is the catalog of the first exhibition to feature this type of ware which was first made in the Han (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), reached the golden age during the Song, Jin, and Yuan periods (10th-13th centuries). The title of the book derives from the names of markings on these wares. In the West, it is called temmoku. The catalogue is of the 1996 exhibition of Chinese Brown- and Black-glazed Ceramics 400-1400 CE, but the essays, photographs and notes on the 112 artifacts exhibited will be of lasting interest. There is specialist essays on glazed ceramics, on the Jian tea ware imported into Japan, and on technical considerations in ceramic creation. With illustrated descriptions and provenance notes on the 112 artifacts exhibited. With map, chronology and bibliography.

“This groundbreaking catalogue is the first of its kind to examine the exquisite Chinese brown- and black-glazed wares (including those commonly known as “Temmoku”), tracing their evolution and development from the fifth to the fifteenth century. Illustrated with fine and important pieces from famous museum and private collections, it includes excellent essays and definitive entries by Robert D. Mowry, with contributions on specific historical and technical aspects by Eugene Farrell and Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere. Reviewed by many experts, this book has become a standard textbook for students of Chinese ceramics and an essential reference for collectors, scholars, and other interested readers.”

Highly recommended.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Art Museums, 1996.
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
Published: 1997, USA, 1st Edition
ISBN: 0916724883

March 27th, 2008

Bright as Silver, White as Snow:
Chinese White Ceramics from Late Tang to Yuan Dynasty

By: Lo Kai-Yin (Ed.)

Song Dynasty // Tang Figures

whiteceramics2.jpgBright as Silver, White as Snow

Kai-Yin Lo Collection of Chinese ceramics

This book accompanied the exhibition of the Kai-Yin Lo Collection of Chinese ceramics at the Denver Art Museum from October 1, 1998 – September 30, 1999, featuring white and Qingbai wares from the Tang to the Yuan dynasty.

The catalog includes essays on such topics as life in the Song dynasty, white wares of north and south China, the development of white and Qingbai wares, material culture in the northern Song, and pictorial perspectives on Hangzhou during the Song accompany the detailed color photographs and descriptions of the pieces in this collection.

As usual with catalog’s they offer fairly good value for money. There is a lot to read since the first 80 pages are essays by eminent scholars like Regina Krahl, Li Zhiyan, Roderick Whitfield and Sören Edgren. The plate section that begins at page 85 is particularly strong with regards to Qingbai while the presentation of earlier wares doesn’t really cuts it. The strength is the essays and the presentation of Song dynasty Qingbai where illustrations of the bases are included. I would give this book an overall four stars for the essays and Qingbai presentation. When it comes to how necessary it is to have this book, I think it comes somewhere in the middle of the field.

Maps, a chronology and bibliography included.
Format: Paperback, 208 pages
Published: 1998, Hong Kong, 1st Edition
ISBN: 9789627502395

Authors: Regina Krahl, Li Zhiyan, Roderick Whitfield and Sören Edgren.
Publisher: Art Media Resources
Format: Paperback, 208 pages

March 27th, 2008

Song Ceramics from the Kwan Collection
By: Simon Kwan

Song Dynasty

Song Ceramics From the Kwan Collection

This is a catalogue from an exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1994. If there is one book that I would not want to be without when it would come to identifying Song ceramics, this would be one of them. The choise would stand between this, Jan Virgins Song Ceramics, or the Mary Tregear’s similarly named Song Ceramics below.

If it is not in any of these three books, it is probably not Song. One important feature that sets this book aside from most other is that the base and footrim on all pieces are all illustrated. The difference between them is otherwise that this is a recently brought together top quality collection; good, but not as intersting as for example the Carl Kempe collection, now in Ulricehamn, Sweden. Jan Virgin’s book is actually his doctoral thesis and is specialiced on decorations, and is fantastic in its scope of illustrating richly varied – genuine – pieces. Mary Tregears book is interesting, since it illustrates – in color – lots of common and comparably easily to find Song and Yuan “trade” ceramics.

Hardcover: 455 pages
Publisher: Hong Kong Urban Council; 1st edition (1994)
Language: Chinese with foreword and captions in English
ISBN-10: 962215123X
ISBN-13: 978-9622151239

March 27th, 2008

Green Wares from Zhejiang
By: Peng Shifan (ed.)

Green Wares // Song Dynasty // Tang Figures


This book is not only about Song pottery but it is so good and so important concerning the history of Song ceramics, I want it high up on this list anyway. It is a cataloge from an exhibition jointly presented by the Fung Ping Shan Museum and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum on greenwares from Zhejiang and goes to prove that the name “Celadon” needs to be reconsidered and that “Green wares” are much more than that.

Published by Fung Ping Shan Museum, The University of Hong Kong 1993.
Interesting, modern and inexpensive.

March 27th, 2008

Song Ceramics

By: Lu Yaw, Feng Xianming and Mary Tregear

Song Dynasty // Yuan Dynasty

Well illustrated in color and a concise

This is an excellent reference book to get a fair understanding of all those Song and Yuan dynasty green wares.

It deals mostly with common Song dynasty export wares. Well illustrated in color and a concise summary of some very informed opinions. Some information is improved upon today but I still don’t want to be without this book.

Published by Southeast Asian Ceramic Society 1983 in a limited edition of 2000 copies, it might be a bit difficult to find but if you stumble over a copy I think you will find it useful. There are better books today but it still a good compliment or an OK beginning if you don’t want to goo too deep into the details.

ISBN 9971837269

CLASSIC – A bit dated but straightforward guide to typical South East Asian market Song and Yuan trade ceramics

March 27th, 2008

Ancient Chinese Tea Wares.
Hong Kong Museum of Art

Song Dynasty

Ancient Chinese Tea Wares = Zhongguo gudai cha ju zhan.

This is a catalog from an exhibition of tea wares jointly presented by the Urban Council, Hong Kong and the National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing. Besides illustrating 100 items connected to the drinking of tea it also explains the use of tea utensils and also details the development in the Chinese tradition of tea. From the Jin dynasty and up until the late Qing dynasty.

It is a good reference for Song pottery and the catalog also presents pieces from Ming and the Qing dynasties in porcelain, pewter and Yixing pottery. Undoubtedly this is for the tea specialist but the selection of items is interesting and illustrates pieces that maybe in a different context would have failed to attract much attention. There are better book on Song ceramics, but for tea drinking paraphernalia through the centuries, there are few better books.

240 pages, 100 illustrated items, full color.
Publisher: Hong Kong: The Urban Council of Hong Kong, 1994
ISBN-10: 9622151272
ISBN-13: 978-9622151277

March 26th, 2008

Dated Qingbai Wares
of the Song and Yuan Dynasties
By: Peng Shifan (ed.)

Song Dynasty // Yuan Dynasty

Dated Qingbai Wares of the Song and Yuan Dynasties

A book on one hundred Qingbai pieces excavated in Jiangxi province, China, from dated or datable locations spanning from AD986 to 1348. If you are interested in Qingbai it doesn’t get more interesting then this. Interesting, modern and inexpensive. Text in English and Chinese. Hong Kong 1998. Paperback.

ISBN 962-7502-45-6

Region: China
Format: Paperback, 112 pages
Published: 1998, Hong Kong, 1st Edition
ISBN: 9627502456

March 26th, 2008

Celadon Blues:
Recreate Ancient Chinese Celadon Glazes

By: Robert Tichane

Glaze and Pottery Technique // Song Dynasty

celadonblues.jpgCeladon Blues

This is a quite interesting author in the field of ancient Chinese pottery and porcelain since he is not an arts historian but a potter. I first noticed him through a book he wrote on a visit he once did to Jingdezhen, just to study Chinese pottery. Now that is dedication.

This is another book by him I just figured I wanted to mention to the real hardcore Song pottery collectors, because here Robert Tichane sets out to recreate all these famous glazes – and if you skip the instructions on how to actually do that, the book itself really explains what distinguishes the famous wares and glazes like Celadon, Jun, Yue, Temmuko etc. and how a really successful copy could look like. If you happen to be a potter, this is probably even more interesting. I however found it this book quite interesting if not of vital importance.

The beautiful, subtle, and visually varied glaze effects of celadons can be achieved with the guidance of this terrific study from noted chemist and potter Robert Tichane, who has done years of research to dissect ancient Chinese glazes and re-create them with modern materials. The results of thousands of tests of this notoriously fussy glaze will guide potters of all skill levels to achieve a variety of colorations, from sky blue to green to gray, from dramatic to understated.

This books is currently available at Amazon for $9 which means there are no excuse from adding it to your library.

March 26th, 2008

Chinese ceramics in the Baur Collection
By: John Ayers

Imperial Chinese Porcelain // Monochromes // Song Dynasty

Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection


“One of the finest private collections of Asian art in the West”

Alfred Baur (1865-1951) gave his collection to the foundation which bears his name shortly before he died, in 1951. He began collecting in about 1907 and continued right up until his death with creating one of the finest private collections of Asian art in the West. Little was known of the breadth and quality of his collection until his original four volume catalog of the Baur collection of Chinese ceramics was published. Those volumes have been long out of print and are much sought after.


Much as I would prefer the complete original set of Collections Baur, 1968-1984 in eleven volumes, or just the four volumes that containes the cermics, I think this more affordable set of two books gives good value for the money.

Its a compact but beautiful two volume set in a beautiful slip case. It is well produced and contains new photographs and new text by John Ayers.

CLASSIC – A Catalog of one of the finest private collections of Asian art in the West

March 26th, 2008