Jianzhan is a black-glazed porcelain made by the Jian kiln during the Song dynasty, and it is known as a famous kiln that only produced one type of ware. Jianzhan became popular throughout the country during the Song dynasty due to its special tea culture, and today it is also highly sought after by tea lovers and collectors. So what are the characteristics that a Jianzhan must have?
- Iron clay body.
The raw material for Jianzhan's clay body is the local clay of Shuiji. The color of the Jianzhan's clay body must typically be a green brick color, representing its high iron content, and the texture must be rough with an ancient taste.
The green brick color of the iron clay body is a prerequisite for the traditional firing of Jianzhan. During the firing process of Jianzhan, the clay body also undergoes kiln transformation. If it is not an iron clay body, it will affect the quality of Jianzhan and make it difficult to achieve a high-quality product.
- Kiln transformation black glaze.
The kiln transformation black glaze is the lifeblood of Jianzhan. The iron crystal glaze is subjected to strong reduction and oxidation reactions by oxygen and carbon monoxide at high temperatures of around 1300℃, resulting in the magical iron crystal spots on the black glaze surface of Jianzhan. As the saying goes, "one color when entering the kiln, and a thousand colors when leaving." The high temperature and reactions inside the kiln create the stunning appearance of Jianzhan when it is taken out of the kiln. What's even more valuable is that there are no two identical Jianzhan cups.
- Limited materials.
The rich clay resources favored the Jian kiln, and the credit for Jianzhan's ability to transform into various shapes must be attributed to the materials. The iron clay body of Jianzhan is made from the iron-rich clay near the Shuiji local Song dynasty Jian kiln site.
The glaze water is made from raw glaze minerals and plant ash. A purely natural formula can also create a myriad of colors on the glaze surface of Jianzhan.
The materials used for Jianzhan are limited, and other black-glazed kilns in other regions use different materials, but none of them can achieve the same special effects as the hare's fur, oil spots, and transmutation effects obtained by the Jian kiln.
A Jianzhan must possess these characteristics: iron clay body, magical iron crystal spots, and directional materials, in order to be born in the blazing kiln fire and shine with bright light.