Ming Dynasty Yunnan Dali Ware Blue and White Teabowl


A blue and white teabowl, fired in the Liao Hu district of Dali, Yunnan, during the mid-Ming dynasty, using locally sourced cobalt enriched with manganese. The outer surface is adorned with cloud patterns, while a solar-whorl motif graces the interior. Interestingly, the recurring cloud patterns are reminiscent of the Umanome (horse’s eye pattern) found in Japanese Seto ware, while the solar-whorl design closely resembles Sukhothai.

The Liao Hu Kiln, one of the Dali Kilns, is an ancient pottery kiln located outside the south gate of Dali City, which traces its origins back to the Tang dynasty. The kiln produced bricks and tiles during the Song and Yuan dynasties, but it shifted its focus to making commoner’s utensils from the Ming dynasty, exemplified by this exquisite tea bowl. As it was primarily intended for domestic use, it was rarely found other than in the Yunnan and Guizhou regions, making finding one in good condition extremely rare, especially as it was a commoner’s utensil.

Despite being an excavated piece, the teabowl displays minimal signs of wear, maintaining an impressive lustre overall. Apart from kiln scratches, there are no noticeable defects.

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