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Asian Art

Tea Bowl with “Hare’s Fur” Design

12th–13th century

Stoneware with iron-oxide glaze (Jian ware)

2 7/8 × 4 3/4 in. (7.3 × 12.07 cm)
Wayland Wells Williams, B.A. 1910, Collection, Gift of Mrs. Frances Wayland Williams
1947.78
The iridescent surface of this tea bowl and its silvery pattern, which is known as “hare’s fur,” resulted from the crystallization of the iron in the glaze during firing. Tea bowls made at Jian, as well as farther north in the Jizhou kilns, played a significant role in global ceramic history. Buddhist monks who traveled to China to study and practice brought tea bowls from these kilns back to Japan, where they became part of the tea ceremony and were often reinterpreted by Japanese potters. Known as tenmoku in the Japanese tradition, these Chinese tea bowls—and their Japanese counterparts—appeared in Europe in the late nineteenth century, where their shapes and designs were incorporated into the burgeoning studio potter movement.
Geography: 
China
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)
Classification: 
Containers - Ceramics
Provenance: 

Wayland Wells Williams (1888–1945) Collection, New Haven, Conn.; Frances Wayland Williams; gift in 1947 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1970), 154, no. 304, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.