ABOUT JIAN ZHAN
“Jian Zhan pottery is made in Shui Ji, Jian Yang, an ancient art dating back to the Han dynasty, also known as Jian Yao. It is the most famous of the eight great pottery schools of the Song Dynasty.
While Jian Zhan was fired as early as the Han dynasty, it became an imperial tribute art in the Song, offered to the emperor.
Because Jian Zhan is incredibly difficult to produce, and very few pieces fire successfully to finish, it is an incredibly costly and laborious art. Tribute quality pieces were picked from countless firings and countless individual pieces. Jian Zhan became known as “min yao, guan yong” the labor of the people, the pleasure of the court.
Song Huizong, emperor of the Northern Song elaborates on Jian Zhan in his treatise on tea Da Guan Tu Lun: “Jian Zhan is a prized midnight blue, woven with lines of jade.”
In the Song dynasty tea competitions, Jian Zhan was the most suitable preparation vessel, and with the imperial endorsement, every Song scholarly aristocrat would part with huge sums to acquire the finest pieces. Cultured Song poets praised the refined enjoyment of Jian Zhan. During this golden age, Jian Zhan was brought to Japan where it became known as Tenmokku, a Japanese national treasure.
Jian Zhan is fire and earth, united with perfect skill, a high art in the world of pottery.”
– Lin Xi
Jianyang Jianan Taishou Jianlou Research Institute