This piece of Dingware was manufactured in Dingzhou, Hebei Province at the height of the Northern Song Dynasty. Dingzhou was a ceramic capital of the Northern Song dynasty, and Dingware was highly prized for its elegance. Before the Song Dynasty Imperial court fled south, Dingware was the tableware for aristocratic families and the Imperial court. Dingware relied heavily on form and simple glazing rather than ostentatious decoration for its appeal. Dingware was often produced repetitively via molds due to high demand. The mold often had designs incised into them, such as the elegant flower and phoenix design of this bowl. The designs could also be further carved out by a skilled artisan once the molding process was complete. Dingware remains known for its use of ivory colored slips with clear glazes, considered finer than later green or yellow celadon glazes. In the stacking process of firing Dingware, the rims of the pieces had to be left unfired, and often the rims were capped with a band of a precious metal such as silver or gold. The thin walls and elegant curves of this bowl as well as the ethereal glazing are what prompt many scholars to consider Dingware the finest ceramic of the Song Dynasty.
-Constantine Botimer, Class of 2019