Monday, December 18, 2006

Protected Sites:Juntai Jun Kiln Site

The Juntai Jun Kiln Site is located in Yu County of Henan Province.

Jun Kiln was one of the famous Five Kilns of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Discovered in 1951, the site underwent excavations in 1962 and 1973 that identified the area as a kiln site which made pottery for the imperial palace. The site flourished during the reign of Emperor Huizong of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

Jun Kiln spreads over a vast area topping 300,000 square meters with densely distributed kilns. It served as a workshop that was operated by the local government. To date, 11 stoves were unearthed, including workshop sites and ash pits. The stoves were arranged in a line with the workshop at the center, ensuring the whole working procedure ran smoothly. The structure of the stove and baking method facilitated heating control and enabled the temperature to reach 1,200 C.

Potteries from the site come in many varieties, such as Jun porcelain, Ru porcelain, Yingqing porcelain, Tianmu porcelain and others with white backgrounds and black patterns. The wares are bright and elegantly designed, with a smooth glaze.

The glaze color was also varied, including sky-blue, pea-green, pale-blue, mauve, dark-blue and off-white hues. Most of the wares have natural cracks on the surface. Flowerpots come in an array of shapes, including the sunflower, lotus flower, Chinese flowering crabapple, hexagon, square and rectangle. Other items include bowls, pots, stoves and earthen bowls.

Jun Kiln made its debut in the early Northern Song period and flourished in the late Northern Song. It is famous for its bronze-red glaze, which was an innovation of pottery making in ancient China. During the Jin (1115-1234)-Yuan (1271-1368) period, workshops around the country competed to perfect the wares made at the Jun Kiln. The kiln gradually declined after the Yuan Dynasty and stopped making pottery during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It resumed production after the foundation of the new China.

Apart from the Juntai Jun Kiln Site, a number of Jun Kiln sites from the Song Dynasty were discovered in Henan Province, but they were on a much smaller scale and operated by locals.

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