Do you know how amazing Jianzhan is?
As a beginner in Jianzhan, I don't understand anything. Why do so many people like and collect Jianzhan? What makes Jianzhan so special?
- Even emperors were crazy about Jianzhan.
The famous literary emperor of the Song Dynasty, Huizong Zhao Ji (1082-1135), was fond of Jianzhan. He produced numerous works throughout his life and wrote about Jianzhan in his book "Da Guan Cha Lun": "The Jianzhan is blue-black in color, with jade-colored hairs in straight lines." He did not mention any other famous kilns in the Song Dynasty besides Jianzhan.
The book "Da Guan Cha Lun" has been quoted by tea lovers throughout history, not only greatly promoting the development of tea culture, but also having a monarch personally endorse Jianzhan, which greatly increased Jianzhan's popularity and reputation.
- Like leaves, each Jianzhan is a unique piece.
Whether a Jianzhan can become a finished product ultimately depends on fate. People in Fujian often say that fate accounts for 30%, while hard work accounts for 70%. For Jianzhan, all the pre-firing production processes, such as material selection, washing, molding, and glazing, are the result of human effort. However, whether a product can be produced or a satisfactory product can be produced depends on fate during the firing process. This process cannot be directly controlled by humans. Masters can only indirectly control the atmosphere and firing temperature inside the kiln by controlling the temperature of the kiln. The result is often unpredictable and full of unknown and mystery. Even if all the pre-firing processes are done to the best, the firing result cannot be guaranteed. Sometimes the result may not be satisfactory because of a slight difference in firing temperature, or even the whole kiln of Jianzhan may be ruined. It is really not an easy task. Fate accounts for 30%, while the will of heaven accounts for the rest. Each Jianzhan embodies the hard work of the craftsperson and should be cherished.
Even if made by the same craftsperson, each Jianzhan will never be exactly the same as the others. Upon closer inspection, the patterns and thickness of each Jianzhan will have their own unique differences. Because Jianzhan is full of randomness and uncertainty, each one is a unique and unrepeatable work of art.
- Jianzhan played a crucial role in Japanese tea ceremony.
The ceramic industry in the Song Dynasty of China was extremely developed, and maritime transport and trade were also exceptionally prosperous, providing necessary conditions for the spread of Jianzhan. After being introduced to Japan, Jianzhan's exquisite and practical nature was loved by the Japanese and was widely used in the tea ceremony. In Japan, Jianzhan is not just a handicraft, but also plays a crucial role in the development of Japanese tea ceremony as a tea utensil with the connotation of Zen tea culture.
Currently, among the 14 officially recognized national treasure ceramic artifacts in Japan, 8 of them are porcelain from China, and all 8 of them are Song Dynasty Jianzhan, including 8 pieces with Yaobian effect and 1 piece with oil droplets.
- Jianzhan of the Song Dynasty surprisingly contained hard porcelain material.
In modern society where magnetic cards are widely used, demagnetization can cause trouble by rendering the card unable to read information. Most materials are difficult to avoid the annoyance of demagnetization. However, such a rare material has been discovered by scientists in the silver oil droplets of Song Dynasty cultural relic "Jianzhan" specimens. Among them exists a rare high-purity hard magnet material - epsilon-Fe2O3, which is extremely difficult to be demagnetized and may have exciting prospects in high-density data storage. This material can not only be applied to general magnetic cards but also be helpful in fields such as computers, storage media, and high-speed wireless communication.
- The "Yao Bian" kiln has become an unsolved mystery in the ceramic world.
The most precious type of Jianzhan is the "Yao Bian" kiln, which is extremely rare. Take the Japanese national treasure "Yao Bian Tenmoku" as an example. Its characteristic pattern is that speckles of different sizes are distributed like a cluster in the black glaze, and under natural light, these speckles are surrounded by shimmering light in colors such as red, green, and blue. The firing technique of Yao Bian kilns remains a mystery to this day.
- Longyao kiln, which could be called the world's best.
During the Song Dynasty, the scale of Jianzhan production was very large, and the longest Longyao kiln in the Jianyao area was 135.6 meters long and 1-2.35 meters wide. Built on a mountain, there was a height difference of 28.65 meters between the head and tail, making it the world's longest kiln. Each firing could accommodate up to 100,000 pieces! Due to the excessively long kiln, the firing temperature was not uniform, resulting in a large number of defective products, but also gave birth to some stunning masterpieces.