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Chinese archaeologists unearthed valuable pottery called Jun Ware of the Chinese Song Dynasty of 960-1126 AD. This is a unique pottery, as are all Song Dynasty pieces, due to the cracked glaze created by firing the ceramic in straw ash in a kiln at 1285oC to 1305oC, causing the iron in the clay to change color through oxidation. The artwork I photographed is rare and was rare at the time. This type of pottery is so unique because only one layer of glaze is applied to the shaped clay going to the kiln. The high temperature firing creates a multitude of colors and it is not possible to predict if the desired colors and shapes will emerge. Because of this Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty, himself an educated man and master artist, forbid his artisans from making this type of pottery because of the precious materials such as gold and agate that were needed and the low probability of success.

While there are some pieces in museums throughout the world, most people only know of this art form from the Song Dynasty documents and records. The process of high temperature firing the ceramics in the kiln was like creating the power to nurture mountains and rivers on earth.

I was fortunate to experience these particular pieces and using the micro-lens was able to pick up the micro-organisms that were trapped in the pottery while it was buried. Curve lines that are evident to the eye are created by water flaws and mud that filled and encased the pieces when they were under the ground for thousands of years. This is what nature added to already beautiful artwork.

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