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Chinese ceramics of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) constitute perhaps the foremost expression of ceramic art, not only in China but in the entire world. During the Song period, a unity of the essential components fundamental to the art: vessel shape, potting techniques, glaze, decoration, firing processes, and aesthetic theory were all combined in a high standard of excellence. In general, the shapes of Song Dynasty are simple and sedate by comparison to what preceded them and what was to follow. Likewise, the glazes tend to be monochromatic and subtle, a fluid, integral part of the form of the vessel they cover, with a depth of color and texture that invites the spectator to both touch and contemplate.