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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1115-1234 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stoneware, moulded and glazed

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 41

This bowl is an example of Ding ware, made in the Hebei province of China during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) and Jin dynastsy (1115-1127). Ding wares were of the earliest true porcelains made in China, and the world. The term porcelain is applied to ceramics made from a mixture containing a clay called kaolin and a white stone called petuntse, which was fired at high temperatures. Porcelains differ from other ceramics in their impermeability, whiteness after firing and fine texture.

In 1126 the Hebei province experienced great change as the Northern Song dynasty ended and the Jin dynasty established power. Despite such upheaval, Ding wares continued to be produced after a short interval as an ‘official ware’, meaning it was selected to supply ceramics to the royal household and the most elite officials in China.

From the beginning of the Jin dynasty, the characteristics of Ding wares changed slightly. Instead of the hand-incised decorations which previously adorned its surfaces, its designs began to mimic that of the metal wares of the period through the use of moulded design. This was achieved by shaping the clay over domed moulds, which gave the form of the object and impressed the inside pattern onto the clay in one step. The elaborate scene on this dish, portraying two spotted deer amongst swirling clouds and flowers, would have been slow and expensive to achieve without the precision afforded by the mould technique.

Physical description

Ding ware dish with moulded design of two deer among clouds and flowers.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1115-1234 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Stoneware, moulded and glazed


Diameter: 21.3 cm

Descriptive line

Dish, moulded and glazed stoneware, Ding ware, China, Jin dynasty (1115-1234)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kerr, Rose. Song Dynasty Ceramics. London: V&A Publications, 2004. p. 48, nos. 43 and 43a.




Moulded; Glazed

Subjects depicted

Clouds; Flowers; Deer




East Asia Collection

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