Conical bowls were intended primarily for the drinking of tea. As discussed in the footnote to lot 289, the tea of choice during the Song and Jin periods was a white tea that was whisked to produce a white froth on top. Dark-glazed bowls such as the present example became increasingly popular as they showed off the frothy white tea to great advantage.
A virtually identical bowl, dating from the late eleventh to early twelfth century, was recovered from the Guantai kiln site in Cixian, Hebei province, and is illustrated in Guantai Cizhou Yaozhi, Beijing, 1997, col. pl. XXIX:1. A similar bowl from the Falk Collection with a russet-glazed exterior, but with less emphatic russet markings to the black glaze on the interior, was sold in these rooms, 20 September 2001, lot 81.