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Subject:The Ol' Auction Rooms: Two Tenmoku
Posted By: JLim Sun, Oct 08, 2017 IP:

Hi all

Two more pieces from the sale of 8 October 2017 which I failed to win, despite making an attempt. They eventually sold for $340 and $300 respectively.

The objects were sold as Song Dynasty Tenmoku Ware (aka Temmoku Ware aka Jian Ware aka Tianmu Ware) tea cups.

Now, as you can tell from my name I am of Hokkienese (aka Fujianese aka Fukienese) origin, on both sides of my family, and I have always wanted to get one of the legendary Tenmoku tea cups of the Song Dynasty. However, it is notoriously difficult or impossible to date these objects, and if I had won either of these pieces it would have been a gamble.

There are only two ways I know of to determine that a Tenmoku teacup is genuine Song dynasty; the shape and the foot. The shapes of these two cups impresses me; however, the foot is a different story.

I was slightly worried by the fact that the feet on both these cups is much paler and sandier than I would have expected. Tenmoku cups are famous for having a "purple" ceramic foot. I will note that the second cup depicted below does have a darker foot; many other Tenmokus sold on the day were even paler and had the wrong shape besides.

Anyway, does anyone have an opinion? Are these Song Dynasty Tenmoku cups made by my ancestors, or are they more modern than that?

Kind regards

Subject:Re: The Ol' Auction Rooms: Two Tenmoku
Posted By: Michael O Thu, Oct 19, 2017

Hi JLim, as I share your affinity for jianyao tea bowls, I have collected a few pieces over the years, including this new piece which I got for $5. I bought it to study and also to use for my Chinese tea. I think this new cup was made either in Jianyang or Taiwan but I am not sure.

As for my other bowls, I do not know if any of them are really old, from the Song period or were made yesterday but made to look old. I will seek your views and advice later when I post them.

Thanks.... from a fellow Hokkien. | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |