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At Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong on April 8, 2014, a Ding octagonal bowl with incised decoration of the Northern Song Dynasty appeared for nearly forty years hiding. It appeared in the auction specialized for the antique dealer Goro Sakamoto and was pocketed by a Japanese collector with a high price of HK$144,400 million, which made it reach the highest price of porcelains of Ding kiln.
This rare and well decorated octagonal bowl attracted people’s attention with its exquisite porcelain body, dignified shape, vivid and beautiful incised decoration. Its smooth glazed has a history for one thousand years. This kind of wares are rare to exist and the private collections are also unique, which makes them such precious. As early as 1949, the bowl was collected by a famous collector Alfred and Ivy Clark. It also was exhibited in several important exhibitions. On March 2, 1971, at the Sotheby's auction in London, it was sold for 49,000 pounds--the highest closing price in the auction.
Song Dynasty was the glorious period of China's ceramic development in types, styles and the firing processes. The shape of Song porcelain is various and the glaze is special. Its unique patterns present a kind of calm, elegant, and dignified characters. The ceramic art and aesthetic realm in this period have surpassed the previous time. Meanwhile, it is also very difficult to imitate for the offspring.
Ding kiln is one of the five famous kilns in the Song Dynasty, the kiln site is in the Quyang Jianzi villiage, and East and West Yan villiage, Baoding City, Hebei Province. As the Song Dynasty belongs to Dingzhou, hence it was named. Ding kiln began in the Tang Dynasty and was known in the Northern Song Dynasty and Yuan Dynasty. It is famous for the production of white porcelain. At the same time, it also produces black glaze and sauce glaze. According to the literature, it was recorded as "black Ding ware", "purple Ding ware" and "green Ding ware". Ding kiln has the most kinds of ceramics among the five famous kilns. Although Ding kiln has been used to make porcelain for the royal, the time is very short and the quality goods is not good.
The most common types of China ware appeared in the Song Dynasty are bowls, plates, bottles, saucers, boxes and pillows, with fewer jars and furnaces. The decorative techniques of Ding kiln are based on white glaze incised decoration, white glaze cuttde decoration and white glaze molded decoration. In the early days of the Northern Song Dynasty, the engraving, composition and pattern of the kiln were simplified, and the decoration had the beauty of bas-relief. In the Northern Song Dynasty, the flowers are decorated in a unique style.
Due to its rarity, the porcelain products are the target of many collectors since the Ming Dynasty. Among them, black Ding ware and purple Ding ware also have always been a preference of many collectors. Internationally, Ding ware also has high collection status. In the British Museum, the National Asian Art Museum in Paris, and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Ding wares were collected as gem.
In Japan, Ding ware is regarded as a rare treasure in the Tokyo National Museum. In the spring of 2013, a bowl with incised decoration in the Northern Song Dynasty was bought for $3 in a brocante, but it was sold for a price of RMB 10 million yuan. The octagonal bowl with incised decoration, Ding ware in the Northern Song Dynasty did not on display publicly for nearly forty years and was pocketed by a Japanese collector in 1971.