Chinese Jun ware (鈞窯) is a type celadon that uses straw ash in the glaze bestowing its unique blue glaze suffused with white. The ware was created at the Jun kilns at Baguadong and Juntai in Yu County in Henan during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126) or earlier and continued for 500 years till mid-Ming dynasty. The Chinese character for Jun became incorporated in local place names only as late as 1368. There is no mention of the kilns of Jun ware in written sources from the Song to Yuan dynasties. A black ware with spots was produced at the Xiaobai Valley in the Tang Dynasty and can be considered the precursor of Jun ware. The kiln sites of both wares were geographically near one another as well. The Jun kilns used copper and iron oxides to fire a bluish glaze including blue-gray, sky-blue, moon-white, red and purple, and with purple or crimson splashes. Varying the temperature of the kilns changed color tints, a technique known as yaobian. The foot of the later period ware is usually unglazed and brown; the rim of bowls can also be brown or greenish where the glaze is thinner. Song period examples display a careful finishing with glaze inside the foot. Naturally Song shapes are crisp and thinner than later Jin and Yuan examples. There is a great variety of shapes such as bowls, dishes and flowerpots. Narcissus bowls were often numbered. Other extant examples of Jun ware display inscriptions on their bases that resemble other palace wares of the period. The numbers from one to ten are perhaps indications of size. The ware experiences a fall in quality into the Jin period. Later, in the Yuan, Jun ware production spread to other kiln sites in Northern provinces, although Yuxian County was the prime area for Jun ware production. Other folk kilns in Henan (esp. Liujianmen kiln) produced Jun ware but excavated Song/Jin Jun ware are rare. Investigations of Jun ware kiln sites began in 1951 under Chen Wanli of the Palace Museum. A hundred kiln sites were subsequently discovered. A major report appeared in the journal Historical Relic in 1964.

Northern Song

“This is an example of a very finely potted and exceptionally splashed large 19.1cm Jun bowl with gently rounded sides curving up from the straight foot to a slightly inturned rim, covered overall in a lavender-blue glaze thinning to a greyish-olive colour at the rim and brilliantly splashed on the interior cavetto with three large splashes varying from raspberry-red to a deeper plum-purple, the exterior with four splashes of similar vividness, three larger ones of a similar raspberry-red and a smaller one of a deeper purple streaked with blue, the glaze suffused with fine crazing and large characteristic bubbles, the neatly cut unglazed footring revealing the greyish buff ware”  The bowl sold for 173,600 GBP in 2004 at a Sotheby auction in London.

courtesy: Sotheby's

A good purple-splashed Song Jun bubble bowl sold at Sotheby’s in London as Lot 55 (Sale L06212) in Nov ’08 for 366,400 GBP (est 40,000-60,000). The 9cm bowl “covered overall in a lavender-blue glaze thinning to a buff tone at the rim and brilliantly decorated on the interior with splashes varying in tone from deep magenta to mauve, the exterior similarly decorated, the neatly cut unglazed footring revealling the dark purplish-brown body”:

courtesy: Sotheby's

A small 8.8cm Jun bowl sold at Sotheby’s for 39,650 GBP. “the rounded sides rising steeply from a splayed foot to a slightly incurved rim, all under a pale bluish-grey glaze thinning to a grey-brown colour around the rim and stopping unevenly above the foot” The bowl is in very good condition with the exception of an 8 x 2mm., line of glaze discolouration just below the rim on the interior, light glaze crackle and a pin-hole glaze pull to the centre of the interior.

courtesy: Sotheby's

This following one sold at Sotheby’s New York as lot 303 at Sale N08659 in Sep 2010 for usd 122,500 (est 100,000-200,000). This 8.5cm bowl was “well potted, with steeply rounded sides on a neatly finished foot incurved towards the rim, the interior applied with a finely bubbled milky-blue glaze, vividly splashed in lavender-blue shading to purplish-red in five swirls, the exterior with a striking crescent-shaped splash amidst shadowy streaks, pooling above the foot to reveal the chocolate color ware, draining to a buff at the rim”:

Courtesy: Sotheby's

 

A large 22.5cm Song Jun bowl sold as lot 518 in New York (Sale N08299) for usd 22,800. “The steep rounded sides of this bowl is of almost conical form, covered overall with a brilliant sky-blue glaze, thinning at the rims to a pale mushroom tone, stopping at the splayed foot revealing the body burnt russet-orange in the firing”

Courtesy: Sotheby's

An unusual and generally good conditioned 18.5cm Green Jun sold at Sotheby’s London Sale :L08213  for 6,250 GBP (est was 300-400!) in 2008. “The thickly-potted deep rounded sides rising from a short straight foot to a slightly incurved rim, covered overall in a thick greyish-green glaze suffused with a matrix of golden-brown crackles”。This bowl has some slight manufacturing inconsistencies, below the rim to the interior, there is a 1cm diameter shallow recess to the body which is covered in glaze. There is a small glaze pool and a ‘stone’ to the centre of the interior. There is a number of small circular glaze pools to the exterior. There is crackle to the interior and exterior of the glaze.

Courtesy: Sotheby's

A restored purple splashed 8.8cm Jun bubble bowl sold at Sotheyby’s New York (Sale N08659 lot 308) for usd 62,500 in 2010. “It has steeply rounded sides and contracted rim, springing from a neatly finished foot of wedge-shaped section, covered on the exterior with a pale-blue glaze and vividly decorated with several ‘fish-like’ splashes in lavender-blue, the interior liberally splashed with irregular blushes of magenta and lavender, drained at the rim to a deep buff and pooling short of the foot, later applied with Japanese gold lacquer restoration”:

Courtesy: Sotheby's

“This exhibited 14.3cm N Song bowl with deep rounded sides, covered inside and out with a thick glaze of milky, pale bluish-turquoise color thinning to mushroom at the rim and ending in a line on the neatly cut foot, the glaze applied in a thin wash on the base, and the unglazed foot rim burnt brown in the firing”… “well-proportioned bowl with its thick, lavender-blue glaze typifies the elegant simplicity of Northern Song Jun ware. A slightly larger Jun bowl with similar proportions, formerly in the collection of Oscar Raphael and now in the British Museum, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World’s Great Collections, vol. 5, Tokyo, 1981, no. 102. A very similar Jun bowl, but with violet splashes on the exterior, is illustrated by Y. Mino and J. Robinson, Beauty and Tranquility: The Eli Lilly Collection of Chinese Art, Indianapolis, 1983, cover and pl. 83. Other related Jun bowls include an example in the Kwan Collection, illustrated in Song Ceramics from the Kwan Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1994, pp. 112-13, no. 38, and in the Meiyintang Collection, illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, p. 221, no. 386″:

More Song bowls from Chinese auction sites:

Song / Jin bowls

This 8.6cm bowl with provenance originally auctioned at Christie’s 1983, recently sold at Christie’s New York in 2011 for $104,500.”opaque glaze of pale milky blue tone thinning to mushroom color at the rim and enhanced with dark purple splashes on the interior and exterior, with a small splash of pale blue glaze on the interior of the small unglazed foot” … “well-proportioned bowl with its thick, lavender-blue glaze typifies the elegant simplicity of Jun wares. Control of both temperature and duration of firing was crucial to both the color and texture of Jun glazes, and had to be finely judged by the kiln master. A similarly glazed bowl of the exact same size in the collection of the Percival David Foundation is illustrated by Stacey Pierson in Song Ceramics: Objects of Admiration, London, 2003, p. 61, pl.”

courtesy: Christie's

18.3cm Jin Jun sold for ¥2,240 at 北京翰海 in 2008

 

A rare and large 20.3cm Jun bowl of the Jin dynasty, auctioned at Christie’s 2009.

A rare green Jun bowl of the Jin dynasty - Christie's 2009

A good condition Song/Jin bowl sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2011 for usd 35,000 (est 30,000). “The gently rounded sides supported on a short splayed foot, applied overall with a rich soft blue glaze falling unevenly over the unglazed foot and thinning to a paler tone at the rim”  There is a small burst air bubble on the inner edge of the rim. The glaze on the interior has occasional brownish spots in the glaze and a darker blue line in the glaze in the base:

Courtesy: Sotheby's

Courtesy: Sotheby's

 

2 Song/Jin bowls + a Jun dish were sold in 2007 at Sotheby’s for usd 7,200.  “The first of deep rounded form, covered in an intense sky-blue glaze thinning at the rims to a light mushroom tone, the glaze suffused overall with a fine network of crackles; the second smaller bowl applied with a bright pale lavender-blue glaze stopping short of the splayed foot to reveal the buff ware”:

Courtesy: Sotheby's

 

With rounded sides covered inside and out with a milky blue glaze thinning to mushroom at the rim (sold with a Jun dish) at Christie’s New York ’10. Sold for $6,250 (incl. dish):

Yuan

3 Yuan Jun bowls at Sotheby’s New York in Mar ’11 sold for usd 16,250. The conical bowls of varying sizes up to 20cm, “covered in a milky-blue bubble-suffused glaze thinning to a paler tone at the rim and ending above the unglazed foot, with purple and crimson splashes to the interior, the smallest bowl with purple craquelure” (The left hand bowl has been broken into two pieces and restored back together. The restoration along the break is discolored to a yellowish green and visible in the catalogue photograph. The middle bowl has got very heavy crackling to the glaze on one side. The crackles go through the body as cracks in at least three places. These have been filled and one has been previously riveted on the exterior. There are two minor filled cracks on the opposite side. The right hand bowl is in good condition):

Courtesy: Sotheby's

Courtesy: Sotheby's

20.7cm Yuan Jun bowl offered at 上海晟安 in 2010 with estimate of ¥30,000.

元 钧窑 点兰釉红斑尖底碗

22cm Yuan Jun bowl auctioned in Shanghai 2010, est. Rmb 360,000 – 420,000.

元代风格 此碗敞口、弧腹、圈足,造型周整,胎骨坚密,釉面温润,碗内一点钧红装饰,使器物倍增美感。

18cm Yuan Jun bowl auctioned 天津瀚雅 2010 estimate Rmb 4000-6000

敞口,深腹,圈足外撇。内外施青釉至胫部,足部无釉,泛火石红,釉色为天青色并有深色线状、点状斑纹。为元代时期钧窑产品。

20.3cm Yuan Jun bowl. 2010 Auction estimate as above.

(有冲) 敞口,深腹,圈足外撇。内外施青釉至胫部,足部无釉,泛火石红,釉色为天青色并有深色线状、点状斑纹。为元代时期钧窑产品。

A 15.6cm Yuan Jun bowl auctioned 中嘉国际 with estimate of rmb 20,000 in 2009:

碗形规整,有深度,釉色深稳,外壁施半截釉,为元代特征。足部修胎干净,反映出时代气息

A cracked and restored very pale and very large Jun bowl (ex- JT Tai & Co) from late Song/early Yuan period sold for usd 8,750 at Sotheby’s in 2011. It is “deeply potted with fluted sides and foliate rim, raised on a short slightly splayed foot, applied inside and out with a rich, slightly crackled pale blue glaze ending just above the foot burnt orange during the firing. There are some strong crackling to the interior and exterior and some of the crackle lines extend through both sides of the bowl as cracks”. There are several circular pits on the glaze on the interior and exterior. There are several chips to the edge of the foot rim. There is a 3/4 in. area of restoration to the rim edge.

Large very pale blue Jun bowl. Courtesy: Sotheby's

Courtesy: Sotheby's

Courtesy: Sotheby's

 

Ming

An 18.1cm Jun type bowl from the Ming dynasty, ex- St. Louis Art Museum, sold at Christie’s 2005 for $1,560.

Post-Ming

An 18th/19th century Jun style bowl auctioned at Christie’s New York Mar 2008 for $1,875. “The deep rounded sides molded as five petals rising from the conforming foot to the rim, covered inside and out with a soft slightly lavender- blue glaze pooling in a circle to a dark blue in the bottom of the interior and thinning on the interior ribs to a mushroom color, the bottom of the foot with a clear dressing showing the dark brown ware
4 3/8 in. (11 cm.) across”:

courtesy: Christie's