Beneath the surface of an extraordinary Chinese ceramic ware known in the West as “numbered Jun” is a story of both technical and historical complexity. Numbered Jun are related to the celebrated group of Song dynasty (960–1279) ceramics called Jun ware, renowned for its opalescent blue glaze often enhanced with purple. While numbered Jun share a similar glaze and color palette to classic Jun, they are distinguished by a well-defined array of sophisticated forms and by marks of a single Chinese numeral on each vessel’s base—thus the peculiar name of the ware.
The Harvard Art Museums hold the largest and finest assemblage of numbered Jun ware outside the imperial collections in Beijing and Taipei. All 60 numbered Jun vessels and the majority of the other Jun wares in Harvard’s collection came to the museums in 1942 from Boston-area collectors Ernest B. Dane (Harvard Class of 1892) and his wife, Helen Pratt Dane.
The exhibition, "Numbered Jun Ware", is on display at the Harvard Art Museums until August 13.
For more information about the Harvard Art Museums, visit www.harvardartmuseums.org/.