ssssStem cup is the same as stem bowl
that the upper part is bowl-shaped together with a long handle below.
It flourished in Yuan dynasty. But concerning the exact period when
such products were invented, there was no fixed answer. According
to Chendefu, stem bowl, which could not be seen before Yuan dynasty,
was affected by Mongolian culture in characteristics belonged to that
period of time.
ssssIn Ming and Qing dynasty, the production
of stem cup was handed down from one generation to another. According
to Wang Liying's book, there was no stem bowl before Yuan dynasty,
but there were words of "stem bowl" printed in the center
of the bowl which was short. But in Yuan dynasty, stem bowls were
easily seen and decorated by red and egg white glaze.
ssssBut in Tieyuan's Acient Ceramics of
Folk Kiln, stem cups of Tang, Song and Jin dynasty were displayed
one by one. In addition, while visiting Jingdezhen ceramic history
museum, I found that shadowy blue stem cups were displayed as products
of Song dynasty. Before such visit, I once saw a shadowy blue stem
cup which was similar to that made in Jingdezhen. According to this,
stem cups have already existed in Tang and Song dynasty.
ssssNext, the production period, duration
and characteristics of stem cups will be explained as follow:
celadon stem cup, 9.8 centimeter in height
stem cup with dragon design in underglaze red of Yuan dynasty,
fragmentary stem cup in underglaze blue,
stem cup of Qing dynasty, 6.5 centimeter in height
celadon stem cup (picture one): 9.8 cm in height. The rim of its
mouth curls outwards and the middle part is convergent. Its handle
was thin and straight, the bottom shaped like the feet of a horse.
The glaze of its ektexine broke off while the folded area appeared
a little glaze. Inside the cup, thin dark green and yellow glaze
could easily be seen. Such stem cup looked weighty and clumsy.
ssssDuring the period of three kingdoms,
the production of ceramics in south China flourished because of
its advantageous location and social condition. At that time, Xun
yang town was the largest market for ceramic trade. Nowadays, we
can still find various ceramic fragments with gray body, dark yellow
and dark green glaze in this site. In the past, these products were
not paid much attention to while used as plates for cocks. The stem
cup showed in this picture was just found in one's home. It was
in accordance with those remained in this site in body, glaze and
technique. According to this, it was fired in Luohu kiln of Feng
city, which was said to be one of the kilns with the longest firing
duration. Moreover, it had the characteristics of the ceramics in
Sui dynasty. As a result, this one would be the first stem cup exists
ssss2. stem cup with dragon design in
underglaze red of Yuan dynasty (picture two). It is 10.9 centimeter
in height with an outward mouth and a broad midst. Regarding the
handle, the inner part was hollow while the outer part carved with
three bamboo joints. The body was white and the glaze was smooth.
In general, the whole cup was painted three kinds of veins with
copper red pigments. The first part, a dragon was painted outside
the bowl. The dragon had slender shape, a small head, a pig-liked
mouth and a thin neck. His hair waved backwards and the squama shaped
like diagonal panes. Between its head and tail, flame veins were
decorated. The second part, grass veins were drew inside the mouth
of the bowl. The third part was at the bottom of the bowl, it was
decorated with chrysanthemum design in underglaze red.
ssssThe cup manifested the color of
dark red and light red. Inside the cup, there were some regular
bubbles that penetrated the glaze.
stem cup with scroll design in underglaze blue
stem cup in raspberry decoration with liquid gold, 7.5 centimeter
modeled stem cup with design of three fish in underglaze red,
8.2 centimeter in height
ssss3. What showed in picture three was
a fragmentary stem cup in underglaze blue which was 10.5 centimeter
in height. The body was thin, delicate and the glaze was mixed with
white and slight yellow.
ssssConcerning the connection of the bowl
and the stem, there were two different way: one was commonly used
in early products. That was to say the handle should be made hollow
first, and then connected with the bowl. The second way is just the
ssss3. stem cup in underglaze blue of
Ming dynasty (picture four). It was 6.5 centimeter in height with
an outward mouth, a convergent midst and a bugle-shaped handle. The
glaze manifested the color of blue and white. The bowl was decorated
with designs of tower, people, branches and so on. Such stem cups
were of various styles and occupied a large number. But they were
quite different from those of Yuan dynasty in shape, veins and the
connection of bowls and stems.
ssss4.stem cup of Qing dynasty. They were
decorated with blue and white, doucai, eel, plum blossom, etc. The
outward feet were similar to the bowls and they were connected bottom
to bottom so that the handle was very short. In picture five, a stem
cup with scroll design in underglaze blue was showed. It was from
folk kiln of Jingdezhen. This cup was 6.7 centimeter in height with
an outward mouth and a broad midst. The inner part of the feet was
hollow but was fully glazed. The cup was decorated with Ruyi veins,
scroll veins and Jiaoye veins.
ssss5.stem cups of Minguo and Contemporary
age. The stem cups of Minguo all had thick feet, a big bowl together
with an outward mouth.
ssssStem cups are beautiful and used as
wine utensils. Nowadays they are still produced in Jingdezhen and
were commonly used in South China. I once bought several stem cups
as wine utensil and decoration. The cup showed in picture six was
a new product made in Jingdezhen. It was 7.5 centimeter in height
and had a white body. The glaze was smooth and colorful.
ssssThe ceramics have been modeled since
early times. Picture seven shows a modeled stem cup with design of
three fish in underglaze red. It was 8.2 centimeter in height and
was printed "made in Xuande period of Ming dynasty" at the
bottom. During the later period of 1980s, some modeled products made
by small-sized workshop were inferior in quality so that collectors
should be careful.