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Metal clad rims

Selected vessels of lacquer, ceramic and even jade was finished with rims of gold and silver as early as the Han dynasty to set them apart from the ordinary and to make them suitable for high class clients. Even during the Five Dynasties (907-60) metal lip bands was affixed to high-quality Yue-ware bowls.

From the late tenth or early eleventh century onward, white Ding vessels of open form started to be fired upside-down, resting on their mouth rims. This arrangement allowed more pieces to be packed into the kiln and also spread the weight of each piece over a greater area, so that they were less likely to warp during firing, thus increasing both the quantity and the quality of the finished product.

In firing the piece upside down the mouth rims had to be freed of glaze to prevent them from fusing to their supports as the glaze vitrified during firing. The unglazed lips of such Ding vessels were customarily fitted with metal bands. From a modern standpoint it seems that based on the presence of metal clad rims, one now made a virtue of the necessity.

Metal bands affixed to most ceramics, including those on Ding pieces, were relatively wide during the Five Dynasties and Northern Song periods, often measuring up to 3/4 inches (2 cm) both on the interior and exterior.

In most cases, the narrow bands seen on Song and later ceramics today were added in the nineteenth or twentieth century as replacements for lost or damaged originals and to hide damaged rims. Particularly in the Southeast Asian region copper clad rims , are associated with Chinese export porcelain to Thailand.

Both friction and adhesive material (possibly lacquer) seems to have held the metal bands in place, sometimes leaving the rims discolored after the metal band have been since long lost.

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