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Jun Kiln

Jun kilns, with the main kiln site located in Yuxian County of Central China's Henan Province, constituted a famous school of porcelain manufacture that flourished in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Various duplicates of the famous Jun ware appeared throughout different dynasties.

The best (and also largest in scale) porcelain vessels were unearthed from the Bagua Cave kiln site. Kiln sites were fairly dense in the vicinity of Shenhou, while various places in Yuxian County produced numerous ceramic products.

Jun ware porcelain kiln sites have been discovered in Jiaxian, Dengfeng, Xinan, Tangyin, and Anyang in Henan Province, while some of the porcelain-producing areas in North China's Hebei and Shanxi provinces also manufactured Jun ware porcelain.

Sites of large-scale porcelain kilns were excavated at Bagua Cave in Yuxian County. The unearthed products and bronze coins inscribed with the reigns of emperors have shown that after a long development in the mid Northern Song period, Jun ware reached a production peak in the late Northern Song Dynasty, when excellent quality ware was produced, though this quality was maintained for but a relatively short period.

After the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) conquered the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), the manufacture of Jun ware continued in and around Henan. Wars became less frequent after the Dading reign (1184) in the Jin Dynasty and society was fairly stable, enabling the economy to recover to some degree from the ravages of war. This development included Jun ware, whose production expanded up until the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

Jun ware was outstanding for the firing of its copper-red glaze, which contained large amounts of copper oxides. Fired with reduction (cooler) flame, the copper in the glaze became colloid (semi fluid) particles at high temperatures, and an iridescent (unstably bright) red furnace-transmutation color (color changed by furnace heat) appeared on the glaze surface.

Jun ware came in a big variety of glaze colors, such as sky-blue and moon-white interspersed with rose purple. With a thick lustrous glaze and ritualistic in shape, it is a gem in Song art porcelain history.

In the late Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Huizong ordered Jun and other kilns to make flower pots and other porcelain vessels for the imperial court; complete sets of these in varying sizes and shapes, with serial numbers inscribed on the bottom, have been unearthed at the Bagua Cave kiln site in Yuxian County.

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