may take the colored crackle glaze on this Song vessel for granted
because we have seen it so often in Asian ceramics. But in this
piece and pieces like it from this period, we are seeing the origins
and the originality of it.
the cracking or crazing of a glaze is considered a defect in ceramics.
The co-efficients, the measure of expansion and contraction of the
glaze and body, should be the same, but in the case of this censer
they are not; the glaze in the cooling process has contracted more
than the stoneware body of the piece. The glaze is said not "to
fit" the body. The result is that the glaze cracks or crazes under
the compression. A technical mind would correct this defect.
"defects""into aesthetic effects seems to have been a special gift
of the song potters. This piece is a wonderful example of this gift,
an intuitive original, the work of an artistic mind, not a technical
mind. Whatever prompted that artist potter to color the crackle
with ink or some carbonaceous material does not come from any technical
knowledge, it has nothing to do with his skills. It is spontaneous
artistic intuition. Why did he/she think of it at all is
the mystery of originality and art. Even to use the word "think"
is inaccurate. It came to that artist from some contact with a field
of reality of which we only have the vaguest awareness at this stage
of our humanization.
real medium is not paint or stone or clay, but the mystic substance
of the universe. This artist was in touch with it.