About Jun Kiln
▼ About Jun Kiln
Jun Kiln is one of the five famous kilns in Song Dynasty, together with Ru, Ding, Guan, Ge, known as “the five famous kilns” in Song Dynasty. The origin area of Jun porcelain was in Shenhou Town of Yuzhou city, Henan province. Rising from fancy glaze fired by Zhao’s kiln in Tang Dynasty, Jun porcelain of Liu’s kiln achieved success in the early Northern Song. In the late Northern Song Dynasty, the official Jun kiln was set up at ancient Juntai, near the northern door of Yuzhou city. Since Jun porcelain had reputation all around the world, it was imitated everywhere. Therefore, a large Jun kiln system was formed with Yuzhou city as the center.
Began in Tang Dynasty, most of porcelains at that time were pots, plates and bowls. The brown glaze, with irregular colorful spots, such as bluish white, milky white and sky blue, seemed elegant and glossy. The fancy glaze porcelain originated from Tang Dynasty took advantage of the glaze flow, presenting the fambe-like artistic charm, fully and delightfully, bold and vigorous, full of wit and humor, chop and change, opening a way for the subsequent variegation of Jun glaze.
During the Northern Song Dynasty, the stable social conditions provided advantages for the prosperous development of ceramic art. After a long-term exploration, the fambe techniques of fancy glaze porcelain became mature gradually. The flowery glaze color under natural fambe was crystal and clear, surpassing the fancy glaze porcelain in Tang Dynasty. The splendid beauty of fambe glaze shocked the court and the commonalty and it was beloved by refined scholars and nobilities. Finally, it received attention of the court in the beginning year of Emperor Huizong of Song Dynasty. Emperor Huizong ordered to set up an official kiln near Juntai of Yuzhou city to fire tributary porcelain for the royal palace, which offered a good opportunity for the all-round development of Jun porcelain art.
The official Jun kiln in Northern Song Dynasty created brilliant Jun porcelain art, however, it was also the start of Jun porcelain art going toward decline. In the end of Northern Song, Jingkang Event occurred, Zhaogou （the tenth emperor of Song Dynasty） fled to south and set up Southern Song Dynasty. The Northern Song Dynasty was ruined. The north of Yangtze River was ruled by Jin Dynasty, and the official Jun kiln completely vanished. Craftsmen fled or died in the war, the history of official Jun kiln in Song Dynasty came to an end. The fall of Northern and Southern Dynasties and the shutoff of official Jun kiln made Jun porcelain suffer a heavy loss. Craftsmen fled in the war and they brought the Jun porcelain techniques to all parts of the country.
After the unification of Yuan Dynasty, it provided corresponding conditions for the survival of Jun porcelain. The fambe art of Jun porcelain was able to continue and spread the country. An enormous Jun kiln system was formed. Jun porcelains in Yuan Dynasty were usually coarse, with heavy body, thick and uneven glaze. The glaze was dim and with many pinholes and the glaze accumulated like candle dripping. Either the shape or the glaze color could not compare with official Jun kiln or even folk kilns of Song Dynasty. There was no comparison between them. Some influential kilns appeared during Jun porcelain imitation process. From Yuan Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, these large scale imitation activities had never ceased.
In the Ming Dynasty, firing of domestic porcelains was recovered gradually for living needs, but Jun porcelain as decoration porcelain was died.
The fambe art of Jun porcelain lied in creation of copper-red glaze, which can show vividly the flow trails of glaze under high temperature and form magnificent colored glaze with special aesthetic sense and artistic sentiment. Blue likes sky, bluish white resembles fine jade; the purple glaze seems like fully ripe grapes or blossom roses; the red glaze is like blossom peony or scarlet begonia; the blue and purple glaze resembles purple waves in the blue sea, gorgeous and colorful; the purple and red glaze seems like bright and smooth agate, thick and intense.
For the reason of glaze thickness and firing temperature, Jun porcelain will grow various flow lines during its firing process. These flow patterns enhance the decorative effect of glaze, some popular of them are earthworms run in mud pattern, ice crack pattern, cuscuta pattern, etc.
Earthworms run in mud pattern is a kind of natural fambe pattern. A series of irregular patterns emerged in the glaze layer of Jun porcelain, resembling the trace of earthworms running in mud, winding and zigzagging. It’s very interesting.
Ice crack pattern is the irregular ice-like cracks on the glaze surface. The crack of glaze surface is the fatal flaw of domestic porcelains. However, it’s a kind of artistic beauty in artistic porcelains. The glaze surface crack of Jun porcelain makes the utensils full of classic elegance and more interesting.
▼ Shape Arts
The traditional shapes of Jun porcelain are mainly plate, bowl, furnace, flowerpot, and they pursue the artistic style of dignified and natural. Base on the inheritance of traditional techniques, the modern Jun porcelain makes a bold reform. It adds modern aesthetic elements into Jun porcelain and opens up a new performance area for Jun porcelain art. The Jun porcelain shapes have several categories, including traditional utensils, characters, animals and heterotype category. The modern Jun porcelains have thousands of product types and hundreds of shape series, including utensil series, animal series, character series, stationery series, tea set series, birds series, utility series, and etc.
▼ Artistic Value
Since the Tang Dynasty of China, the Royal Palaces in all ages had reserved Jun porcelains as national treasure handed down from ancient ages. Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty prohibited Jun porcelains as the burial objects, so few tombs unearthed Jun porcelain treasures. Jun porcelains have the connotation of “Treasures handed down bless the offspring prosperity”. Where there are famous museums in the world there are Jun porcelain treasures from Shenhou town of China. In China, there are the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Palace Museum in Taipei and etc. And in America alone, there are the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, the Art Institute of Chicago, all of them have China Jun porcelain treasures.
Especially since the Song Dynasty, Jun porcelains have been set for the royal treasures, they can only be used by royal families and are not allowed to be preserved by folks. Therefore, Jun porcelains enjoy the reputation of “Gold may be precious, but Jun porcelain is priceless”. There are also some proverbs about the value of Jun porcelain, such as “Even if in possession of a large fortune, it can not equal to a piece of Jun porcelain” and “The man must not boast himself as the rich if he possesses no Jun porcelain”. With the extremely high ornamental value, Jun porcelain was pursued by Chinese descendants from generation to generation.