The Jizhou kilns in Jiangxi province were perhaps the most daring, versatile and technically creative kilns of the Song dynasty. Among the kiln's most innovative techniques was using paper stencils to create resist designs. For a discussion of the processes involved in producing designs using paper cut-outs, see R. Mowry, Hare's Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996, pp. 36-7.
There is little doubt that this handsome bowl was used for drinking tea. Like Fujian, where large numbers of hare's fur-glazed bowls were produced, Jiangxi province was also an important tea-producing area, and the large number of tea bowls made at the Jizhou kilns, as well as those in Jian, reflect the increasing popularity of tea-drinking in China during the Song dynasty.
Bowls of this type are represented in many famous collections. A bowl of this design in the Avery Brundage Collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, is illustrated by R. Mowry, op. cit., p. 250, no. 101. Another example is illustrated by J. Ayers in Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, Geneva, vol. 1, p. 97, no. 51. Compare, also, the deeper bowl with similar decoration illustrated by R. Krahl in Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, p. 283, no. 525.