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HOME : Chinese Art : Song Dynasty : Pair of Late Southern Song Q
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Pair of Late Southern Song Q - NP.019
Circa: 1200 AD to 1279 AD
Dimensions: 32.5" (82.6cm) high


Additional Information: Also Numbered LA.507 and X.0430

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Description
After the fall of the Tang Dynasty, a period of unrest and war ensued. The foundation of the Northern Song Dynasty in 960 A.D. and the political unification that followed brought these chaotic times to an end. The Song era is considered the third great cultural flourishing of Chinese civilization. Many of the aesthetic elements that now characterize Chinese landscape painting were first developed during the Song age. Traditional texts were reanalyzed and reinterpreted, bringing forth a revival of Confucianism peppered with new ideas. The centralized bureaucratic system of the Song replaced the hereditary aristocratic order that had become entrenched. In 1125 A.D., the Jurchen, a semi-nomadic people from the north, invaded Song China, captured their captial city, and established a dynasty of their own, the Jin, in the north.

The Song court fled south to Hangzhou where they re-established the Southern Song Dynasty that would continue to rule for another 120 years. The Song viewed themselves as the culmination of two thousand years of Chinese culture. It is during the Southern Song period when ceramic production in particular reached the height of elegance and technical perfection. Foreign trade fuelled much of the growth of the Southern Song. The Song court had a voracious appetite for luxury goods imported from abroad, especially spices from the East Indies. However, splinters began to emerge among the various ethnic groups that had been unified under the Tang. As these ethnic rivalries grew, the government became fractured after officials began to oppose each other. Left in this weakened state, the Song Dynasty eventually collapsed after the Mongols invaded and conquered their territory in 1279 A.D.

The Song Dynasty is considered one of the golden ages of Chinese ceramics. During the Song era, pottery was produced en masse for the foreign markets. However, the finest creations were reserved for a native class of highly cultivated aristocrats including the ruling elite, high-ranking government officials, and wealthy merchants. Technical innovations led to breakthroughs in the fields of glazing and firing, culminating in the first true porcelain to be produced in any significant quantity.

Known as QIngbai ware (also called Yingqing ware), this distinctive, blue- glazed, thinly wheel-thrown stoneware with moulded and applied decoration was produced mainly in Jiangxi province at Jingdezhen and in the Hebei province. Qingbai ware continued to be made well into the Ming Dynasty, with Jingdezhen remaining as an important production centre. - (NP.019)

 

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