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Three famous products for building kilns: Yaobian, Youdi, and Tuhao

Jianyao’s “Yao Bian San Jue” and “Ya Yao Bian”

When it comes to tea utensils in the Song Dynasty, it is necessary to mention the construction of kilns; When it comes to building kilns, it is necessary to mention the “Three Wonders of Yaobian Tianmu”. These three rare treasures from building kilns are rare to see. Currently, in vast China, none of the complete artifacts have been passed down. The only precious piece of porcelain appeared on the construction site in Hangzhou, and it is said that the small half of the leftover bowl is also worth 300000 yuan. It is a rare item that is difficult to buy with money, and the preciousness of a complete utensil can be imagined. At present, the “Yao Bian Tian Mu San Jue” has been declared a “national treasure” by the Japanese government, and is respectively collected in Tokyo’s Jingjia Hall, Kyoto’s Ode Temple’s Ryukuro Academy, and Osaka’s Fujita Art Museum.


This type of Yao Bian Tianmu can emit colorful and exquisite gems with changes in light. The Japanese describe this bowl as “the universe within the bowl”, which means that the entire starry sky can be seen in a bowl, with unpredictable changes and sparkling starlight, extremely dazzling and beautiful. Although there are various imitations of this type of Yao Bian Tianmu both domestically and internationally, they all differ from the original work. There is also a relatively special type of “quasi obsidian transformation” or “sub obsidian transformation”, which is currently only seen in one case.

Jianyao “Oil Dropping Tianmu”


Yao Bian “is rare, and another type of oil droplet has a slightly larger amount in the world, with only over ten complete pieces. It is almost rare in China and is also an extremely outstanding work. Currently, the oil droplets are mainly collected in Japan, such as the Kyushu National Museum, Tokyo National Art Museum, Osaka Municipal Toyo Ceramic Art Museum, Genzu Art Museum, Tokugawa Art Museum, Matsuhiro Naoko, and other public and private collections, all of which are extremely beautiful. Among them, the oil drip cups at the Toyo Ceramic Art Museum have been designated as Japan’s “national treasure”, and most of the others have also been announced as “important cultural assets”. When it comes to the origin of such oil droplets, it is actually because the glaze contains a large amount of iron element. During the high-temperature firing process in the kiln, the oxide of this type of iron precipitates on the surface of the glaze, and then forms various circular crystal spots during the cooling process. According to the different colors, “gold oil droplets” and “silver oil droplets” can be subdivided. Among them, the silver white oil droplets are more beautiful. Oil drop artifacts were often imitated in other kilns during the Song Dynasty, such as hundreds of kilns in Henan, Hebei, Shanxi, and other places, but their quality was not as good as that of built kilns.

Jianyao Rabbit Hair Pot

Emperor Huizong of Song Dynasty stated in his “Grand View of Tea Theory” that “the color of the cup is precious green and black, and the one with the highest quality of jade hair is the one”, referring to the rabbit hair cup used in the construction of kilns; Cai Xiang also wrote a poem in “Tea Record” that reads “Rabbit hair is purple and fresh, crab eyes are boiled in a clear spring”; Su Shi’s “Old Dragon Troupe, True Phoenix Marrow, The General Comes to Rabbit Hair Candle” also expresses his special love for rabbit hair. Most of these types of lanterns are labeled with “Jin Yu” or “Gong Zhan”, which were actually “tribute” at that time and were called “tribute kilns”. Their status can be comparable to Ding kilns, only lower than “Ru, Guan, Ge, Jun”.


The Jianyao Rabbit Hair Pot is particularly highly praised by emperors and upper class literati, perhaps taking advantage of its large quantity and texture. After all, “Yao Bian” and “oil droplets” are rare. It is estimated that they only appear in tens of thousands of lamps, and there may be long-term oxidation resulting in the appearance of capsule and precious light. The production site may not have such a sense of light and shadow changes. And rabbit hair is a mass-produced variety in the construction of kilns, which is convenient for completing tribute tasks; Secondly, this kind of dynamic organization also has a sense of reflection and movement, with vitality and unique charm. Overall, during the Song Dynasty, the first tea pot belonged to Jianyao.

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