The firing of the rich russet glaze on this elegant covered bowl is particularly successful. Russet glazes were utilized at several northern Chinese kilns in the Song and early Jin periods, including the Ding and Yaozhou kilns, and seem to have been especially admired on vases and forms associated with the tea ceremony. The Gegu Yaolun, published in AD 1388, notes that 'purple' (i.e. russet) and black Ding were even more expensive than white Ding wares. See Sir Percival David, Chinese Connoisseruship - The Ko Ku Yao Lun, London, 1971, p. 141.
A very similar russet-glazed porcelain bowl and cover, described as "Ding ware" with "dark reddish purple glaze", in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 32 - Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (I), Hong Kong, 1996, p. 94, no. 85. The same covered bowl is illustrated again in Ceramics Gallery of the Palace Museum, Part 1, Beijing, 2008, p. 188, no. 125; and by Feng and Li in Gugong bowuyuan cang Zhongguo gudai yaozhi biaoben, vol. II, Hebei juan (Ancient Chinese Kiln Site Samples in the Collection of the Palace Museum, vol. II, Hebei), Beijing 2006, p. 239, no. 1, where a shard of a russet-glazed cover, similar to that of the present lot, is illustrated p. 235, no. 197. Such shards are consistent with those found at the Ding kiln site in Quyang, Hebei province.
A slightly smaller russet-glazed Ding covered bowl in the Capital Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Shoudu bowuguan cang ci xuan (Selected Porcelains from the Capital Museum Collection), Beijing, 1992, second edition, p. 70, no. 24, where it is described as "covered with glossy russet-color glaze on the exterior, with lightly crackled white glaze on the interior". Another Ding russet-glazed covered bowl of smaller size is illustrated in the catalogue of the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts exhibition, White Porcelain of Ding Yao, Tokyo, 1983, p. 82, no. 145, and again in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, col. pl. 83. A further example in the Buffalo Museum of Science, New York, is illustrated by N. Wood, Chinese Glazes: Their Origins, Chemistry and Recreation, London, 1999, p. 157.