aesthetically and technically, the Song dynasty (AD 960-1279)
was the golden age of Chinese culture and especially of high-fired
ceramics. During this age these arts reached their zenith with
no equal in the entire history of China. All techniques attained
a high degree of refinement and new kilns appeared everywhere.
Extremely elegant pieces suffused with a supreme artistic sensibility
were made throughout the land. In contrast to Tang period (AD
618-907), with its cosmopolitan foreign influences, the Song period
focused on a culture proper to the Han people, deepening it to
an extent which had never been hitherto achieved. Tang sansai
ceramics presented a colourful and attractive exterior but were
spiritually confined and meant to be buried in aristocratic tombs,
while Song ceramics in general were not colourful but were much
freer, simple and show more a deeper inner life. Such pieces did
not, of course, simply appear overnight. In order to produce desirable
wares, the Song potters continued to develop the technology of
the Shang dynasty (BC 1600-1100) and devise new methods, creating
elegant wares in response to the critical eye of their patrons.
A plain and unadorned surface reflected the Song pursuit of simple
literary elegance. Their aesthetic was directly inspired by nature.
Nature was regarded as the ideal beauty at that time.