For centuries, the Dragon Kiln has been known as one of China's greatest pottery treasures. With its long, narrow structure, this unique kiln has enabled the creation of exceptional ceramic pieces, including the Tenmoku or "Jian" stoneware cups of the Song dynasty. But it is above all the mystery of its name that has fascinated art lovers, giving a legendary dimension to this historic site.

The remains of the dragon oven in Shuiji, China

What is this dragon oven

In 1935, Professor Emeritus of Asian Art James Marshall Plumer uncovered an ancient ceramic kiln site called the Dragon Kiln, located in Shuiji, in the Fujian region of China. The discovery yielded numerous pieces of stoneware "Jian" cups dating back to the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD).

This site is considered to be the largest historical oven of "Jian" cups, also known as Tenmoku, named after the temple on Tianmu mountain, 400 km from the Shuiji site, and given this name by Japanese monks.

The kiln owes its name "Dragon" to its singular shape, long and narrow, set at the top of a steep mountain slope, reminiscent of a dragon resting on the hill. This particular shape makes it possible to produce non-porous ceramics such as stoneware and porcelain at extremely high temperatures, which can exceed 1200°C, conditions long inaccessible to European potters.

Model of a dragon furnace at the Musée de Xiaoshan

Tenmoku tea cups

Tenmoku teacups, from the legendary Dragon Kiln. These handcrafted cups owe their name to the Japanese monks who admired their beauty and associated them with the Tenmoku (Tianmu) temple on the eponymous mountain in China.

Crafted with intricate artisan techniques, each cup is unique because of its reactive glaze and complex glaze, giving it a rich, complex appearance. Their unique color and appearance are created from chemical and natural reactions that occur during high-temperature firing, up to 1300 degrees. The nuances of these mugs vary according to firing conditions, floor type and kiln location. Because of their rarity and complexity, they are considered a cultural treasure and a precious intangible heritage.

Tenmo is the only specialist in Tenmoku tea cups in France, working directly with artisans from the Fujian region with their ancestral knowledge. Below you'll find an exclusive selection of Tenmoku tea cups.

Tenmoku with starry universe motifs, €25
Tenmoku "Arc en ciel" Natural colors, €25
A naturally formed peony at the bottom of a Tenmoku cup, €25
Iridescent effects formed naturally in the oven, Tenmoku "Iridescence" €25

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