Jian Zhan, also known as Tian Mu, or Tenmoku was the first kiln and firing style designed specifically for tea. The dark glazes were meant to show off the green and white froth of whisked matcha during Wuyishan tea competitions in the Song Dynasty. While the art of firing true Jian Zhan had been lost since the Song Dynasty, Master Xiong and his family have devoted their lives to reviving it. In addition to their Song Dynasty perfect replica wood fired kiln, they have begun experiments using eh exact same clay, trough aged, and the same natural glazes of Shui Ji, the birthplace of Jian Zhan, but firing in precise electric kilns. This gaiwan is the result of this innovation. Their work has the advantage of using the original materials of the Song, giving it a step up on Japanese Tenmoku. They also have the advantage of decades of research on Song Dynasty firing techniques.
This gaiwan is particularly exciting because it is made from ancient materials in a revived Song dynasty glaze and firing style, but instead of adhering to Song dynasty form, the Xiong family is applying the beauty of the past to an implement as modern as the gaiwan, a much newer addition to tea ceremony. A handmade piece like this is a chance to be part of a moment in history when an art form thought to be lost is being revived in the very village where it began.