ANCIENT CHINESE BLACK TEMMOKU GLAZE

The realm of making Temmoku black glazed tea/rice bowls started in the 1200's ad and lasted to 1600's ad. At the north east part of China location the kiln and factory made Temmoku glazed tea and rice bowls by the millions because white tea (we call green tea) was extremely popular. Tea leaves picked in the spring was mild flavor and small, dried and kept as a leaf becoming the most expensive tea leaf making white tea. The summer leaves larger and stronger flavor became the common green tea. The picked leaf was dried, cut into small pieces, and when used was whipped into the hot water. The foam and surface was pale green and often called white tea. The white tea showed up better in a dark tea bowl. Thus the Temmoku brown tea and rice bowls were extremely popular. In the 1600's ad, some British visitors noted all the leaves on the fall tea bushes were not used thus the Chinese roasted and/or fermented the fall leaves used to make "black" tea. The roasted tea in huge copper kettles became popular immediately and so did the white tea bowls. The dark tea show better in the white tea bowl, thus this lead to the demise of the Temmoku - black¬tea and rice bowl wares.

Over the years I visited China six times and spent seven years on a part time basis researching the Temmoku Glazes. Fir this I made hundreds of tests. All interesting and some were close to the Black Pearl Temmoku glaze. As part of the research over a hundred ceramic books were used looking for the elusive formula. A few of the tests reveal the black glaze. As it turns out the clay body, glaze, glaze application, and firing are critical and making desired results elusive.

As part of the research on the Pearl glaze, I started to research and make up glazes that more than usual amounts of metallic's in the glaze. I found formulas that call for over six percent cobalt and it makes a very dark blue almost blue-black glaze. Another has 100 percent metallics as the glaze. As a guide, with several exceptions, I use the guide of twelve percent or more of the metallics to make up the glazes. Two particular interesting glazes use cobalt as the colorant and to produce pinks and greens.

Fascinating, unusual, unique, handsome, and intriguing are these glazed bottle forms.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
email webmaster    

All Material Copyright © 2009 John W. Conrad - All Rights Reserved

  To contact John
e-mail: johnconradceramics@gmail.com