The Cups of Ancient Emperors

Ceramic TeapotsJun and Ru Ware

One cannot often say that they have drunk from the cup of king’s. Our Jun and Ru ware range have been made using techniques that hark back to the time of the Northern Song Dynasty in China (960 AD -1279 AD). Originally the tea ware of the Imperial Court, Jun and Ru ware were created in two of the most famous kilns in North China. Jun ware came from the kiln in Yuzhou, in an area called Jun Tai, hence the name Jun Yao. Likewise, Ru ware got it’s name from the Ruzhou territory, Henan Yu Chau, Baofeng area.

The Song Dynasty was a time of growth and economic and social prosperity. The Northern Song was the richest most populous region in the world, with a population that grew from 100 to 200 million people. This expansion lead to advancements in science, technology, philosophy, mathematics, engineering and the arts.


Jun WareJun Ware

No two pieces of Jun ware are alike. Each piece has it’s own magic, and is given life with its own colours and textures. Jun ware is typically thickly glazed in bright turquoise and purple with the effect of it melting off the golden-brown clay vessel. The unique features are created through the a combination of the quality of the clay, the raw materials and chemicals used in the glaze and the all important firing process.

These pieces were so prized that the Imperial Government decreed that they were ‘Royal Treasures’ and therefore should only be used by royalty. In China they say that "Gold has a price, but Jun Yao is priceless." They are still highly prized today, in 1995, an authentic Song Jun piece was sold at auction price of HK$ 1.45 million and in 1999 another piece sold for the princely sum of HK$6 million.


Ru wareRu ware

Ru ware made up some of the most treasured pieces of the royal house. It came in hues ranging from Celeste blue, Pearl White and Jade Green. The colour was created by adding small amount of iron oxide to the glaze. The surface was covered in tiny cracks through which glimpses of the brown clay below could be seen. This effect was called “crazing” which is achieved by cooling the glaze quickly causing it to crack away from the clay beneath.

Ru ware was only produced for a period of approximately twenty years. And today it’s estimated there are only sixty seven pieces that survive. In 2012 one piece set a record at auction selling for a whopping HK$ 207,860,000 that’s over £20 million!         

War ended the production and the art of Ru Yao was lost to history until 900 years later. In 1983 the Chinese government commissioned hundreds of experts to rediscover the lost secrets of the Ru Yao technique. It took them ten years to master the art but today everyone can enjoy what was once only meant for emperors.