"Analysis of 'Gong Yu' on Song Dynasty Jian Ware Cups: Five Perspectives"

Old Jian ware cups with the "gong yu" mark on the bottom are generally considered to have been used as tea wares for the Song Dynasty imperial court, and are highly sought after by collectors of Jian ware.

However, most people wonder what the two characters "gong yu" represent and what makes them special.

Today we will explain from these five aspects:

What is the meaning of the phrase "gong yu" ?

As the name implies, "gong yu"  actually means it is only for the use of the royal court.

The remaining flawed "gong yu"  jianzhan tea bowls were either discarded or ended up in the hands of the public.

Therefore, the reason why the "gong yu"  jianzhan tea bowls that we can see today have very few complete pieces and relatively more fragments is because of this.

What are the characteristics of the "gong yu"  jianzhan tea bowl in terms of its shape?

This type of tea bowl has a certain degree of "similarity" in its obvious features of shape.

Ancient court products were relatively strict, so there were certain requirements and standards. Therefore, the shape of the "gong yu"  jianzhan tea bowl is basically uniform in terms of height, and the differences in appearance and thickness between the bowls are minimal.

The "gong yu" jianzhan tea bowl is thinner than the standard Song dynasty "shukou"  tea bowl.

For those who have the opportunity, they can compare the "gong yu"  jianzhan tea bowl from the Song dynasty with the "shukou" tea bowl and they will find that the wall of the "gong yu" tea bowl is thinner than the standard "shukou" tea bowl at that time.

In fact, the main reason is that the "gong yu"  tea bowl was used in the palace, so naturally there were higher requirements. It not only had to have a beautiful "tu hao"  pattern, but also had to be thinner.

To meet these requirements, the only option was to work on the raw material of the clay body. The "gong yu"  tea bowl used a higher proportion of kaolin than other tea bowls to improve the clay body's resistance to deformation.

What are the differences between the "gong yu"  tea bowl and the "jin zhen"  tea bowl?

In fact, like the "gong yu"  tea bowl, the "jin zhen" tea bowl was also used exclusively by the imperial court. In terms of shape, they are basically the same, with a strong official color.

What font is used for the characters "gong yu" ?

The font used for the inscription of "gong yu"tea bowl is usually regular script, with decisive and powerful knife strokes.

On the other hand, the bottom of the "jin zhen"  tea bowl is mostly stamped with either regular script or clerical script, both of which are more elegant compared to the inscription on "gong yu" tea bowls.

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