OCS lecture – November 22 -Yue Ware and Longquan Ware by Lai Suk Yee

For the 24th  OCS Annual general meeting, Ms. Lai Suk Yee gave a lecture on Yue Ware and Longquan Ware : Tributes to Court and Commodities for Export


Yue ware bowl with carved lotus petal motif, 10th century; Diameter 16 cm, base 8.5 cm, height 8 cm

What is the difference between Yue Ware and Longquan Ware?


Lai Suk Yee refered to the Period from Tang to Yuan dynasties, so from 8 to 14th centuries.


  • In the Wuyue kingdom – in the area of Bianjing, Yue Ware were produced in the Yue kilns. There is however a difference for Yue ware  : the green-based coming from  South and the White based Xing Ware from  North.
  • They were replacing bronzes and lacquerware for daily use.
  • Is one better than the other? The writer Lu Yu (733-804) wrote a book on classic tea in 780 and placed Yue Ware higher than Xing Ware.
  • During the Tang and the 5 dynasties period, Wuyue region was at peace so the Yue Ware developped. The emperors, from 893 to 978, were devoted to bouddhism and enjoyed Yue ware with lotus patterns. It influenced other regions, even Corea.

  • Dragons, lotus and phoenics motives were either hand carved or moulded, with a technology transfer from metal to ceramic.


Many shipwrecks were discovered lately with Yue Ware loads. The HK Museum of History organised an exhibition: “Across the Oceans: the Local Connections and Global Dimensions of China’s Maritime Silk Road”, until December 27th, with some items recovered in 1988 in a shipwreck, dating 826. Another shipwreck shows later examples from second half of 10 th century, found in 2005. Those discoveries underline the interest for Yue Ware in Asia and how it provided luxury trade at the time with mass manufactured ceramics.

Across the Oceans : 26/10/2016 – 27/12/2016 Free admission Venue: Special Exhibition Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of History

The secret Ware: What is the Mise Ware?


Mise Ware, meaning secret color, and glass ware from Famen temple were found in the 1980s and show exotic shapes and colors. It seemed the jade like color and texture of MISE Ware are still difficult to explain nowadays. According to the pictures showed, those secret colored wares were looking very much like jades.

Sourhern Song dynasty : Longquan Ware


Longquan ware Saucer dish with slip design of antelope and foliate edge 1279

Moving from North to South, the Song court was missing bronze ritual vessels.New ware were to be produced for domestic market and export, through the silk road. The uprising of Longquan Ware started with shapes inherited from Yue Ware. They put many layers of glaze to imitate the Yue glaze in green jade color. The Longquan established white bodies for mass production and luxury trade. Popular shapes emerged.

Zhu yu , Pingzhou Ketan, 1119 : book on seagoing trade and ships of the period.

With the Yuan, new shapes emerged, for instance with iron spots. It brought merchants great fortunes. It continued to be a great export good until early Qing.


Covered ewer with incised floral design Longquan ware. Ming Dynasty


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