Qingbai ware (青白瓷), also known as Yingqing ware (影青瓷) as it is commonly known, is considered one of the most under appreciated ceramics in the Chinese ceramic tradition (1). It is not one of the five classic wares of the Song dynasty, it was not made exclusively for imperial use and its decorative styles and techniques were largely borrowed from other wares such as Ding and Yaozhou wares.  Perhaps because these are usually mass produced daily utensils (bowls, saucers) and many were exported, the qingbai wares have not attracted the attention of antiquarians and academics as much as other Song Yuan wares.  Most were plain, but in the later periods, some are decorated with impressed or carved features (usually flowers).

This example for my personal collection is a finely potted Southern Song qingbai thinly bowl richly decorated in the interior with impress mold of six panels of censors and vases of flowering plants (Lotus, Chrysanthenum, Peony, Prunus …). Vases of flowering plants is not a common theme in Song ceramic decoration (ref). The center roundel with Prunus, all below a border of key frets. The outside of the bowl is plain and glazed leaving only the rim unglazed (many such unglazed rims of similar bowls were bound with metal such as silver, copper or lead, but this one apparently has not been as there would otherwise be a band of staining around the rim). The glaze and the body of the bowl likely have been fired together upside down (“fushao”), in a saggar in a large wood-burning dragon-kiln typical of southern kilns in the period. In near perfect condition with just a tiny flake chip to rim, otherwise without crack and free from restoration.  The glaze is slightly degraded.  Recovered from beach area of central Sulawesi. Diameter 18cm, Height 6cm. Acquired from dealer 1.11 (009).

On 3.20.11, I saw the almost exact same 18.4 cm bowl at Christie’s (Sale 2516, Lot 1127; New York) with the same six alternating panels of flower-filled jardinieres and vases surrounding a central roundel depicting a perched bird.  This bowl is better impressed than mine because I suppose mine was submerged under the sand in Sulawesi but Gordon’s has a distracting centimeter crack right in the middle of the roundel.  The value of this bowl together with a cylindrical 20 cm granary model and a 9 cm qingbai censer was $4000-6000 (sold $3750)  :

Refer also to a very similar 18 cm qingbai bowl with interior flower molding below a band of key-fret and a central roundel with phoenix, unglazed at the rim which sold at Christie’s South Kensington Sale 5497 lot 514 on May 14 2010 for 3,000 GBP :

A Song interior molded qingbai bowl sold at Christie’s 2010

1) Pierson, S (ed). Qingbai Ware: Chinese Porcelain of the Song and Yuan Dynasties, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art (2002). 

A second unusual 19.5cm  four lobed (usually six, seven, eight, or multi-lobed) qingbai shallow bowl was acquired in early ’11.  It is decorated with a carved flower motif in the interior arising to a four lobed rim. It is unglazed at the foot and in good condition with a faint hairline at the rim, no chip, no restoration. Acquired 01.11 (069)

鉴定宋代青白瓷,辨窑口是最重要的问题。现已发现浙江、湖南、湖北、广西、安徽、广东、福建、江西等8个省30余处窑址均烧青白瓷,其中许多精品,与景德镇青白瓷不相上下,实难辨别。如安徽出土的注碗、注壶, 究竟是景德镇窑还是安徽的繁昌窑产品,至今在学术界仍有不同看法。南丰窑产品也与景德镇窑相似,只有垫饼支烧痕与景德镇窑的黄、黑褐色斑痕不同,颜色明显 浅淡,而酱口碗也是南丰窑独有。广西藤县窑的产品质量也不错,但底足未见支烧痕。福建地区青白瓷造型与景德镇窑有差异,垫圈支烧盘子是其特色。其他青白瓷 也各自有独特之处。

看底足。从传世器物和标本看,宋代青白瓷基本上采用芒口覆烧、涩圈叠烧和垫饼置烧三种方法,当代仿品均采用之。前两种因为芒口和涩圈都有露胎,只要掌握好前 述看胎质的知识,是不难识别的。而垫饼置烧,有不少人却真伪不辨。需要注意的是,真品的垫饼痕呈淡淡的土黄色或褐黄色,且深浅不一,而仿品实际上并非用垫 饼置烧,而是在匣钵中(有的甚至不用匣钵,直接在气窑中裸烧)烧出成瓷后,再人工采用釉料、颜料以及杂料做出饼痕,这种“饼痕”颜色为黄黑色或酱色,特别 的深,甚至高出器底,与真品饼痕自然渗出吸附明显不相同。有的更简单,用淡淡的黄色浆水或黄泥涂满器底,以“丑”遮“俊”。还要注意的是,有些有圈足的器 物,足根无釉,器底满釉却有饼痕;有的既有饼痕,又有支钉痕,根本不符窑艺,仿制者一知半解,“狗尾续貂”,自露马脚。宋时瓷土采用碓、碾粉碎,人工淘炼,坯土不可能十分精细。很多器物的露胎处(尤其是器底)会有颗粒状土渣。垫圈含铁量高,底部有明显的垫圈痕迹和类似“火石红”的颜色,并因烧制温度高,有黑褐色黏渣,黏沙跳起黏住底足