If it is for the perfect marriage of function and
form and subtle brilliance of the glaze that most
Chinese and Japanese connoisseurs have for ages
accorded the highest esteem to the wares of Sung
Dynasty (960-1297 AD), that variety of Sung wares
called Ting, have to take the prize for
unrivalled immaculate majesty.
Ting Wares were first made in the kilns of
Tingchow. Although red, brown and black Ting wares
were also manufactured, these have up to now
defied accurate identification (except for few
precious black pieces). Thus, when one speaks of
Ting, it is with reference to the white wares.
The finest specimens are called Pai Ting
(White Ting). These are wares belonging to the
porcelain class, whose ivory-white glaze on bowls
and similar shapes often have "tears" on
the surface. Some Pai Ting wares appear to be
translucent, sometimes with orangey cast.
Another celebrated variety of wares from Ting
kilns is Tu Ting
(Earth Ting), whose opaque body looks somewhat
softer than Pai Ting. The cream-white glaze is
finely crackled. Decoration incised under the
glaze or mold-pressed, showing scrolls, flowers,
birds and fishes, sometimes combined with bands or
collars, pointed leaves carved in soft relief, are
often seen on Tu Ting wares.
(Flour Ting) ware is some pieces of coarser make.
It is known that white wares for use at the
various courts of Five Dynasties (907-960 AD) were
being produced in Ting kilns, years before Sung
emerged. One of the dynasties was Later Tang.
Out of many other varieties of wares made during
Northern Sung dynasty (960-1126 AD), Ting wares
which were years prior to Sung court retreat from
Chin hordes advancing on Kaifeng to Hangchow in
South, were seen as the very embodiment of the
high level and culture for which the dynasty is
lovingly remembered. Authorities hold the view
that Northern Sung's Ting wares were directly
descended from earlier whit wares of Tang dynasty.
From the beginning of Northern Sung dynasty to the
reign of Emperor Hui Tsung, Ting wares were
imperially favored as "Kuan"
wares; and although other official wares developed
and received patronage during Hui Tsung's reign
and Southern Sung court (Hui Tsung's was the last
long reign in Kaifeng, Northern capital), Ting
potters, who had joined the exodus and worked in
pottery sites set up for them near Ching-te Chen,
did not completely diminish in importance. There,
they and new generation of potters made what has
been called Nan Ting
(Southern Ting) wares. Nan Ting wares are today
indistinguishable from those made at Tingchow
The production of wares of Ting variety continued
in many factories throughout China in the
succeeding Yuan, Ming and Ching dynasties. Ting
wares are being made until today in China. In most
cases, Yuan, Ming and Ching-made Ting wares are
copies so perfect that experts are now hard put to
tell them from those of Sung vintage. For
"Kiln gloss" in post-Sung Ting wares
have disappeared over the centuries.
In Chia Chiang reign (1522-1567 AD) of Ming
dynasty (1368-1644 AD), there lived Chou
Tan-Chuan, great potter who could make
excellent copies of pottery objects that were
already ancient in his time. Chou could not only
make his copies look exactly the same in every
detail, but he also had a method of reducing the
"kiln gloss" found in every newly-made
Sung dynasty produced other varieties of
white wares, which (like white Tzuchow
wares) are classed by some Chinese authorities as
belonging to Ting group. In Yuan, Ming and Ching
dynasties various factories also produced white
wares of a type more or less resembling Ting.
Some Ting wares have also been found in
Philippines and various parts of Indonesia.