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Song Dynasty? stone ware vase

by Sigurd Villumsen


About 20 years ago my father bought a green stoneware vase, together with a couple of other antiques.

He has been told by one or two collectors of chinese porcelain, that the vase could be a chinese vase from the song dynasti, but that they had never seen a glazing like that.

When i look at christie's or other auction sites i can see that the colour of the vase does in fact look quite typical for the period, but neither the shape nor the texture of the glazing looks like anything i can find.

As i can see from this blog, you have a lot of experience regarding chinese antiques, and i really hope that either you or one of the other readers have some info.

Any inform would greatly be appreciated.

Information about the vase:

I believe that the vase is made from stoneware, but I'm not 100% sure

Height about 21 cm
width about 23 cm

The color is slightly greener than can be seen from the pictures

The condition is quite good, but the glaze is slightly cracked.

Sigurd Villumsen

Comments for Song Dynasty? stone ware vase

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Feb 23, 2011
Uploaded a couple of pictures on Flickr
by: Sigurd VIllumsen

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the fast reply

I have a couple of extra pictures that i have uploaded to flickr.

The pictures arent that good and only somewhat covering the areas you specified, but hopefully they are better than nothing.

I have called my father and asked him to take a couple of extra pictures, but as his digital camera isn't that good I'm not sure if the result will be any better. I will upload the pictures when he has mailed them to me.

The circular thing on the bottom looks as if it comes from the way the vase was manufactured, it does therefore not contain an impression.

As i briefly mentioned in the previous mail, the "repelled coagulated greenish Qingbai glaze" is somewhat greener in real life, so perhaps the color of the bottom is also slightly off, but i cant really say for sure. Perhaps further pictures will verify this.

Thanks for your time and all the info. I'm quite amazed that you can get so much out of a couple of pictures.


Feb 22, 2011
by: peter

Hi Sigurd,
With Chinese ceramics this color would probably be classified as Qingbai, meaning a white or whitish item with a green or blue tint.

The shape resembles Chinese jars, no problem with that, but the glaze is weird.
I don't think this is crackling. For this the glaze (or whatever this is) is much too thick. With crackling the glaze would be splitting/cracking, but with this item it looks more like if a repelling process happened.
I have seen this phenoma occurring with wood finishes. It looks more like a process where a newly applied layer is repelled by the existing layer and coagulates, forming many small "islands". Hope my description of the process is not too far off. :-)

For a Chinese glaze this would be strange. The bottom also looks quite unlike the Song or Yuan bottoms I know. Especially the color doesn't seem right. May I ask what the circular thing in the center of the bottom is? Is there something impressed? Or, is this a mark?

I am not sure if what is called "stoneware" in Europe really exists in Chinese ceramics. It seems that stoneware is only fired once, but virtually all wares of China made in the last thousand years were fired twice or three times.

This one would probably also require at least two firings, so it is unlikely stoneware. If the firing temperature is high, normally the glaze would melt and, if it is very thick even run down, but not coagulate as happened with this item. This could mean the white-green glaze was fired at a relatively low temperature.
Recently I have seen some items which showed a similar coagulation, partially. But, I had the impression that that were intentionally low-fired, trying to make them look old. Could you upload a closeup picture of the bottom, and the mouth, just inside the rim?

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