The aesthetic and introspective atmosphere of both the Northern and Southern Sung (1127-1279) dynasties is reflected in the quiet elegance of the classic forms and pure glazes that defined this golden age of ceramic production.
The greyish-bodied porcelaneous stonewares of the T'ung-ch'uan district in Shansi province were generically known as Yao-chou northern celadon. These vessels were usually decorated with bold designs under thin, translucent, deep olive green glazes. The decoration may be incised, as the case is here, mold-impressed, combed or applied relief. The glaze, which derives its color from iron, accumulates in the recessed areas intensifying the tone and emphasizing the pattern.
This bowl is freely carved on the interior with a design of three large peony blossoms with combed detailing on the petals and leaves.