The very difficult technique used to produce the design on this vase was developed at the Cizhou kilns in the Northern Song dynasty. It involved the application of a pale slip to the unfired stoneware vessel, followed by a dark slip. The outline of the decoration was then incised through the dark top layer and the background area of the design was cut away to reveal the pale slip beneath. Details, such as stamens and leaf veins, were also incised through the dark upper layer either with a fine point or a comb-like instrument. The thin colorless glaze could then be applied and the vessel fired.
The result of the Oxford thermoluminescence test no. P108h77 is consistent with the dating of this lot