Jian Ware

The art of Jian ware

Jian Ware, also known as Chien Ware, consists of simple forms made of stoneware, with the effects of the glazes being the main focus. During the Chinese Song Dynasty, it they achieved a high prestige, especially among Buddhist monks and later in Japan.

While the art of Jian ware ceased in China, it continued in Japan. Interest in the history and cultural heritage of China was not revived until the 1990s. At the Jiyufang Laolong location in a village near the city of Shuiji not far from Wuyishan, Master Xiong Zhonggui was able to resume the production of Jian Zhan with original clay after studying with Japanese maskers. In the meantime, products in the typical Jian style are manufactured at many locations in China.

The goods are produced using iron-rich clays and fired in an oxidizing atmosphere at temperatures of 1300 degrees Celsius. For the glaze, clay is used that has been provided with wood ash. At high temperatures, the melted glaze separates and the typical patterns are created. When Jian ware is tilted to be fired, drops run down the side, which collects the liquid glaze that is retained after firing.

One example of a Song Jian tea bowl of the Yuteki Tenmoku type shows how valuable antique Jian goods can be. On September 15, 2016, this bowl, which had long been part of the collection of the Japanese Kuroda family, was auctioned for more than 11 million US dollars.