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Jian Zhan Newbie Guide

Yeah, all of us been through this phase, we are known as the Jian Zhan noobs. Fascinated by the marvelous beauty of Jian Zhan and keen to start getting your hands on one of these, but remains skeptical of the authenticity and value you are paying for. Fret not. We have compiled the common FAQ for newbies to indulge in this wonderful journey of Jian Zhan appreciation in the fastest possible way, so that you can be more confident with your first few purchase and no one will even know you are new to this.


1. What is Jian Zhan (建盏)?

In short, one of the eight famous ceramic pottery of the Song Dynasty, a tea cup which is extremely popular during the Song Dynasty up till Ming Dynasty when the culture of using Jian Zhan completely ceased.


2. Where is Jian Zhan (建盏) originated?

The ancient pieces were founded in a village known as Houjing Village within Fujian Province, Nanping City, Jianyang District, Shuiji Town.


3. When did Jian Zhan (建盏) revived?

September 1979 started research and trial of replicating ancient Jian Zhan creation and in March 1981, samples of replica resembling "Song Dynasty Hare Fur Jian Zhan" was brought to the public eyes and markets.


4. Is Jian Zhan (建盏) hand made?

Yes, a standard Jian Zhan is required to undergo the 13 steps of processes which includes: 1) Clay Selection; 2) Clay Crushing; 3) Clay Washing and Sieving; 4) Fermentation; 5) Selection of Soil for Base ; 6) Mixing of Soil; 7) Kneading; 8) Shaping; 9) Modification; 10) Kiln the Unglazed; 11) Blend Glaze; 12) Kiln and Fire Jian Zhan; 13) Finishing Kiln.



5. Is Jian Zhan (建盏) Porcelain or Ceramic?

Ceramic, because Ceramic required Kiln temperature of at least 1,300 Degree Celsius and glazing. Its properties are more ceramic based than Porcelain based.


6. The design of Jian Zhan (建盏) is fascinating, but how does it form?

During the 10th steps of creating the Jian Zhan, Jian Zhan is lowered into a mixture of glaze and when these glazed Jian Zhan are fired under 1,300 Degree Celsius inside the kiln, these glaze started to melt and flowed on the surface of the Jian Zhan and the iron ore within react with the high temperature to develop different design of glaze without human intervention.


7. Is there any chemical used?

Jian Zhan does not required any chemical in the process.


8. Is Jian Zhan (建盏) Kiln limited to Firewood Kiln? No, at present there are Firewood, Electric and Gas Kiln.


9. What are the common cup shapes in Jian Zhan (建盏)? There are 4 major cup shapes in Jian Zhan, 束口 "Shu Kou" (Narrow Mouth); 敛口 "Lian Kou" (Closing Mouth); 撇口 "Pie Kou" (Wide Mouth); 斗笠 "Dou Li" (Funnel)


10. Why must Jian Zhan (建盏) be fired at 1,300 Degree Celsius inside the kiln?

Because the iron ore residing in the glaze only started to transform into colorful pattern and design during this high temperature reaction.


11. Can Jian Zhan (建盏) be produced below this temperature?

Yes, but the end products will not be as impressive as the ones that undergo such high temperature firing.


12. Why there is a saying that end products of Jian Zhan (建盏) is rare?

Because of the desire to produce high end products, artisans usually challenged high temperature in order to attain high quality glaze. In this process, the high temperature most of the time resulted in many forms of defects like cracked cup, burned, overflowing of glaze and many more.


The high temperature caused the glaze to boil and when bubble formed and broke, there is holes formed on the surface of the glaze which is defect.



High temperature caused crack in the body of Jian Zhan.



13. Can defects be recycled and used?

No, the raw clay and soil already reacted under the high temperature and transformed into ceramics. This process is irreversible.


Out of thousands sent into kiln, after hours of firing, only 3-6% (roughly) made it out as end products, the rest are destroyed.



There you go, you are no longer a noob who knows nothing about Jian Zhan (建盏). Welcome to the world of Jian Zhan. There are many other articles which will

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