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Most Expensive Chinese antique Ceramics Porcelain Plate, Kettle, Gucci, Jar, Picther, Vase, Pottery, Ashes in the world.
History of Chinese Ceramics,Pottery and Porcelain.
After the invention of pottery inthe Neolithic period, (5000-2200 B.C.), the ancient Chinese succeeded inproducing painted pottery, black pottery and carved pottery. The long years ofexperience in kiln firing led China entering into a new ceramic age in the Handynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) Although archaeological finds have revealed thatglazed pottery was produced as early as the Western Zhou dynasty (1100-771B.C.), yet the production of glazed wares was not common until the Han Dynasty.
An obvious change in the attitudeof figure modelling in the Six Dynasties (265-588 A.D.) was the inclination toinclude more details, an effort to make the models look more real. SixDynasties potters also succeeded in improving the quality of early celadonwares both in glaze colour and in body clay. The production of glazedproto-porcelain was a significant achievement in Chinese ceramic history.
The major contribution made by Tangdynasty (616-906 A.D.) potters was their bold introduction of the multi-colourwares. In early Tang dynasty, production of sancai , or tri-colour potteryfigurines dominate the pottery scene. Tang pottery figurines comprised threemayor categories, namely human figures, animals and fabulous tomb guards.
The success of ceramic productionin the Sung dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) was seen in the monochrome wares. The mostspectacular of the Sung monochromes was the celadon which has been called byvarious names base on its shade and tone or its pattern of crackles.
The production of blue and whitewares at the end of the Yuan dynasty (1280-1367) and the beginning of the Mingdynasty (1368-1643) was generally of a poorer quality, possibly due to theshortage of imported cobalt during the period of political instability. In YungLo reign (1403-1424), both the potting and glazing techniques improved andwares attained a whiter body and richer blue than those of Yuan dynasty ware.The underglaze blue of the Yung Lo wares and Hsuen Te (1426-1435) wares notedor their rich blue tone.
Throughout the Ming dynasty, dragonand phoenix were the most popular decorative motifs on ceramic wares. Otheranimals, plant forms, and human figures in garden and interior setting wereoften used as decors for blue and white wares. It has been noted that after WanLi (1573-1620), very few ceramic wares of the Ming dynasty bear reign marks.
The fashionable wucai wares of ChiaChing (1522-1566) and Wan Li (1573-1620) periods are usually fully covered withcolourful patterns. Very often the colours are a bit too heavy. The colours usedinclude red, yellow, light and dark green, brown, aubergine and underglazeblue. In Ming dynasty, a variety of porcelain wares were decorated with motifscoming up on coloured ground instead. They included wares with green glazedpattern on a yellow ground, yellow glazed pattern on a blue ground, greenglazed pattern on a red ground and other colour combinations.
Another remarkable category ofcoloured wares produced in the Ming dynasty was the susancai or 'tri-colour'.The major three colours are yellow, green and aubergine. Tri-colour wares ofthe Ming dynasty appeared in the reigns of Hsuen Te, Chia Ching and Wan Li.
The peak of Chinese ceramicproduction was seen in the reigns of Kang Hsi (1622-1722). Yung Cheng(1723-1735) and Chien Lung (1736-1796) of the Ching dynasty during whichimprovement was seen in almost all ceramic types, including the blue and whitewares, polychrome wares, wucai wares, etc. The improved enamel glazes of earlyChing dynasty being fired at a higher temperature also acquired a morebrilliant look than those of the Ming dynasty.
The production of doucai wares inthe Yung Cheng period reached new height both in quantity and technicalperfection.
The use of fencai enamel fordecorating porcelain wares was first introduced in Kang Hsi period. Theproduction of fencai enamel wares reached a mature stage in the Yung Cheng era.As the improved fencai enamels had a wider range of colours and each could beapplied in a variety of tones, they could be used to depict some of the highlycomplicated pictorial compositions of flower and plant forms, figures and eveninsects.
Ching dynasty is a period speciallynoted for the production of colour glazes. In the area of monochromes, Chingpotters succeeded in reproducing most of the famous glaze colours found inceramic wares on the Sung, Yuan and Ming dynasties. In addition, they created anumber of new glazes, especially the monochromes. Among them were theSang-de-boeuf, the rough-pink, the coral red and the mirror black. All thesefour glazes were invented in the reign of Kang Hsi.
Yung Cheng potters invented aflambe glaze know as Lujun, or robin's egg which was produced in two firings.Another significant colour glaze successfully produced by the Ching potter was'tea-dust'. It is an opaque glaze finely speckled with colours in green, yellowand brown.
When Ming was taken over by Qing(about 1639-1700 AD), and when Qing was taken over by the Republic of China(about 1909-1915 AD), the disturbances in these two periods resulted in thecollapse of the official kilns. In their places, private kilns were establishedby the operators and artists who previously worked in the official kilns. Withtheir expertise, they produced high quality porcelain wares, such as the'export porcelain wares made during the transition of Ming to Qing', whichearned a high praise in overseas markets, and the excellent imitations of Sung,Yuan and Qing wares are made during "the early stage of the Republic ofChina," which were almost true to the originals.
When the war broke out in 1937,triggered by the incident at Lo-Kou Bridge, all the kilns were closed. Theoperators and artists were dispersed, and many of them traveled to the south,trying to make a living. When peace came in 1945, social stability led to the re-establishmentof the pottery industry. In this stretch of fifty years to the present time,the industry has re-gained its previous glory and is enjoying a growingprosperity. In the past twenty years, the ceramics industry has been developingat a quick pace.
Antique china plates: a shorthistory
The histories of Chinese plates goback to the Neolithic age where they used terracotta to make their pottery.Then came the age of black pottery of which a number of black plates have beendiscovered which go back to about 2600BC to 2000 BC. The shape of antique chinaplates took a great leap with the manufacture of porcelain pottery. It wasdeveloped around the time of the Tang Dynasty. The material called porcelainwas made out of combining kaolin, and feldspar.
With the improvement of technologyancient Chinese came up with beautifully painted China plates which were takenfrom as early as the Neolithic age to Hans dynasty. They were the best exampleof Yangshao culture of China. Between Tan dynasty and Song dynasty (960-1279)rule another art was developed which was known as glazed pottery. The plates ofthis time were painted with simple designs and monochromatic glaze was used todecorate. The cracked effect that it gave was retained as it made the pieces lookmore attractive.
Examples of antique plates
Owning antique china plates areprestige symbols in modern times. There are some beautiful pieces availablewhich are put up for auction or sold at very high prices. For example a rareSong dynasty plate made of porcelain is available which is glazed in duck blue.This authentic piece has flower motifs and silver band around it which is handbeaten.
Another example is a porcelainplate in blue. It is decorated by 4 characters called “shuang-xi” which meansdouble happiness. This plate was traditionally a bridal gift from Qing dynasty(1644-1912). Then there are plates with bats or fish as motifs which meansabundance, affluence and happiness.
Antique china plates and modernworld
Antique china craftsmanship becamefamous in Europe in 19th century as they learnt the art of manufacturing china.The china plates and other pieces were part of affluent households and weresupposed to hold a prestigious position. A typical example is a beautiful pieceproduced in 1768 in a factory in Chelsea. It has scalloped edge, with leaf,butterfly and rose bud motifs all over in lovely colors.
Today the concept of antique chinaplates does not remain limited to only Chinese plates. The collectors can havetheir choice from china produced in places other than china which are equallyfamous. They have access to samples from Royal Albert or Wedgewood (British)Noritake (Japanese) Limoges (French) and Fiesta or Lenox (American) etc. Theplates have strong influence of their places of origin and their makers.
Long before the Neolithic Age,people started to use bowls to hold food. The earliest china bowls, which wereused in the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100 BC) and the Warring States period (475-221BC), originated from the primitive celadon chinaware. After that period, therewere few differences between the shapes of the bowls through successivedynasties. The quality of the bowls improved greatly, virtually coincidentallywith social development. Moreover, the uses of bowls became more specific anddiverse; for example, there were specific bowls for rice, soup, and tea.
The woman in the bowl is sograceful. The mixture of red and white gives us a wonderful sight effect.
It is a traditional china bowl, andits ordinary shape and color of china clay give us the feeling of nature.
List of Chinese Dynasties
Chinese Dynasties Period
Prehistoric Times 1.7 million years - the 21st centuryBC
Xia Dynasty 21st - 17th century BC
Shang Dynasty 17th - 11th century BC
Zhou Dynasty Western Zhou Dynasties (11th century BC - 771BC)
Eastern Zhou Dynasties
---- Spring and Autumn Period (770BC - 476 BC)
---- Warring States Period (476 BC- 221 BC)
Qin Dynasty 221 BC - 207 BC
Han Dynasty Western Han Dynasties (206 BC - 24 AD)
Eastern Han Dynasties (25 - 220)
Three Kingdoms Period 220 - 280
Jin Dynasty Western Jin Dynasties (265 - 316)
Eastern Jin Dynasties (317 - 420)
Southern and Northern Dynasties Northern Dynasties (386 - 581)
Southern Dynasties (420 - 589)
Sui Dynasty 581 - 618
Tang Dynasty 618 - 907
Five Dynasties and Ten States Five Dynasties
---- Later Liang Dynasties (907 -923)
---- Later Tang Dynasties (923 -936)
---- Later Jin Dynasties (936 -946)
---- Later Han Dynasties (947 -951)
---- Later Zhou Dynasties (951 -960)
Ten States (902 - 979)
Song Dynasty Northern Song Dynasties (960 - 1127)
Southern Song Dynasties (1127 -1279)
Liao Dynasty 916 --- 1125
Jin Dynasty 1115 --- 1234
Yuan Dynasty 1271 --- 1368
Ming Dynasty 1368 --- 1644
Qing Dynasty 1644 --- 1911
A qingbai porcelain vase, bowl, andmodel of a granary with transparent blue-toned glaze, from the period of theSong Dynasty (960-1279 AD).
Porcelain "it is a collectiveterm comprising all ceramic ware that is white and translucent, no matter whatingredients are used to make it or to what use it is put." The Chinesetradition recognizes two primary categories of ceramics, high-fired [cí 瓷] andlow-fired [táo 陶]. The oldest Chinese dictionaries define porcelain [cí 瓷]as "fine, compact pottery" [táo 陶]. Chinese ceramic wares can alsoclassified as being either northern or southern. Present-day China comprisestwo separate and geologically different land masses, brought together by theaction of continental drift and forming a junction that lies between the Yellowriver and the Yangtze river. The contrasting geology of the north and south ledto differences in the raw materials available for making ceramics.
Chinese porcelain is mainly made bya combination of the following materials:
Kaolin - essential ingredient composed largelyof the clay mineral kaolinite.
Pottery stone - are decomposed micaceous orfeldspar rocks, historically also known as petunse.
A black pottery cooking cauldronfrom the Hemudu culture (c. 5000 – c. 3000 BC)
In the context of Chinese ceramics,the term porcelain lacks a universally accepted definition. This in turn hasled to confusion about when the first Chinese porcelain was made. Claims havebeen made for the late Eastern Han period (100 to 200 AD), the Three Kingdomsperiod (220 to 280 AD), the Six Dynasties period (220 to 589 AD), and the TangDynasty (618 to 906 AD).
The Proceedings of the NationalAcademy of Sciences in 2009 reports that pottery that dates back to 18,000years ago in the Yuchanyan Cave in southern China has been found, making itamong the earliest pottery yet found. Fragments of pottery vessels datingfrom around 9000 BC found at the Xianrendong (Spirit Cave) site, WannianCounty, in the province of Jiangxi represent some of the earliest known Chineseceramics. The wares were hand-made by coiling and fired in bonfires.Decorations include impressed cord marks, and features produced by stamping andby piercing.
The Xianrendong site was occupiedfrom about 9000 BC to about 4000 BC. During this period two types of potterywere made. The first consisted of coarse-bodied wares possibly intended foreveryday use. The second being finer, thinner-bodied wares possibly intendedfor ritual use or special occasions. There is archaeological evidencesuggesting that both types of wares were produced at the same time at somepoint.
Painted pottery pot with raisedreliefs of dragons and phoenixes, Western Han Dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD)
Han dynasty, 202 BC-220 AD
Some experts believe the first trueporcelain was made in the province of Zhejiang during the Eastern Han period.Shards recovered from archaeological Eastern Han kiln sites estimated firingtemperature ranged from 1260 to 1300 °C. As far back as 1000 BC, theso-called "Porcelaneous wares" or "proto-porcelain wares"were made using at least some kaolin fired at high temperatures. The dividingline between the two and true porcelain wares is not a clear one.Archaeological finds have pushed the dates to as early as the Han Dynasty (206BC – 220 AD).
The late Han years saw the earlydevelopment of the peculiar art form of hunping, or "soul jar": afunerary jar whose top was decorated by a sculptural composition. This typevessels became widespread during the following Jin Dynasty and the SixDynasties.
Sui and Tang dynasties, 581-907
During the Sui and Tang periods(581 to 907) a wide range of ceramics, low-fired and high-fired, were produced.These included the well-known Tang lead-glazed sancai (three-colour) wares, thehigh-firing, lime-glazed Yue celadon wares and low-fired wares from Changsha.In northern China, high-fired, translucent porcelains were made at kilns in theprovinces of Henan and Hebei.
A sancai glazed dish from the late7th or early 8th century, Tang Dynasty (618–907)
One of the first mentions ofporcelain by a foreigner was in the Chain of Chronicles written by the Arabiantraveler and merchant Suleiman in 851 AD during the Tang Dynasty who recordedthat:
“ They have in China a very fine clay with which they make vases which areas transparent as glass; water is seen through them. The vases are made ofclay. ”
The Arabs were aware of thematerials necessary to create glass ware, and he was certain that the porcelainthat he saw was not the usual glass material.
Song and Yuan dynasties, 960-1368
The city of Jingdezhen (also JingdeZhen) has been a central place of production since the early Han Dynasty. In1004, Jingde established the city as the main production hub for Imperialporcelain. During the Song and Yuan dynasties, porcelain made in the city andother southern China kiln sites used crushed and refined pottery stones alone.
Goldfish Vase, reign of the JiajingEmperor (1521–67); Porcelain; Paris, Musée Guimet 261101
Ming dynasty, 1368-1644
The Ming Dynasty saw anextraordinary period of innovation in ceramic manufacture. Kilns investigatednew techniques in design and shapes, showing a predilection for colour andpainted design, and an openness to foreign forms. The Yongle Emperor(1402–24) was especially curious about other countries (as evidenced by hissupport of the eunuch Zheng He's extended exploration of the Indian Ocean), andenjoyed unusual shapes, many inspired by Islamic metalwork, Duringthe Xuande reign (1425–35), a technical refinement was introduced in thepreparation of the cobalt used for underglaze blue decoration. Prior to thisthe cobalt had been brilliant in colour, but with a tendency to bleed infiring; by adding a manganese the colour was duller, but the line crisper.Xuande porcelain is now considered among the finest of all Ming output.Enamelled decoration (such as the one at left) was perfected under the ChenghuaEmperor (1464–87), and greatly prized by later collectors. Indeed by thelate sixteenth century, Chenghua and Xuande era works – especially winecups – had grown so much in popularity, that their prices nearly matchedgenuine antique wares of Song or even older. This esteem for relatively recentceramics excited much scorn on the part of literati scholars (such as WenZhenheng, Tu Long, and Gao Lian, who is cited below); these men fanciedthemselves arbiters of taste and found the painted aesthetic 'vulgar.'
In addition to these decorativeinnovations, the late Ming period underwent a dramatic shift towards a marketeconomy, exporting porcelain around the world on an unprecedented scale.Thus aside from supplying porcelain for domestic use, the kilns at Jingdezhenbecame the main production centre for large-scale porcelain exports to Europestarting with the reign of the Wanli Emperor (1572–1620). By this time, kaolinand pottery stone were mixed in about equal proportions. Kaolin produced waresof great strength when added to the paste; it also enhanced the whiteness ofthe body - a trait that became a much sought after property, especially whenform blue-and-white wares grew in popularity. Pottery stone could be fired at alower temperature (1250 °C) than paste mixed with kaolin, which required 1350°C. These sorts of variations were important to keep in mind because the largesouthern egg-shaped kiln varied greatly in temperature. Near the firebox it washottest; near the chimney, at the opposite end of the kiln, it was cooler.
Yellow-glazed brush-holder,"Chen Guo Zhi" mark; Jingdezhen Daoguang reign, (1821-50); ShanghaiMuseum
Qing dynasty, 1644-1911
Primary source material on QingDynasty porcelain is available from both foreign residents and domesticauthors. Two letters written by Père Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles, a Jesuitmissionary and industrial spy who lived and worked in Jingdezhen in the earlyeighteenth century, described in detail manufacturing of porcelain in thecity. In his first letter dated 1712, d'Entrecolles described the way inwhich pottery stones were crushed, refined and formed into little white bricks,known in Chinese as petuntse. He then went on to describe the refining of chinaclay kaolin along with the developmental stages of glazing and firing. Heexplained his motives:
“ Nothing but my curiosity could ever have prompted me to such researches,but it appears to me that a minute description of all that concerns this kindof work might, be useful in Europe. ”
In 1743, during the reign of theQianlong Emperor, Tang Ying, the imperial supervisor in the city produced amemoir entitled "Twenty illustrations of the manufacture ofporcelain." Unfortunately, the original illustrations have been lost, butthe text of the memoir is still accessible.
Types of Chinese porcelain wares
Tang Dynasty (618–907) sancai horseat the Shanghai Museum
Tang Sancai burial wares
Main article: Sancai
Sancai means three-colours.However, the colours of the glazes used to decorate the wares of the Tangdynasty were not limited to three in number. In the West, Tang sancai wareswere sometimes referred to as egg-and-spinach by dealers for the use of green,yellow and white. Though the latter of the two colours might be more properlydescribed as amber and off-white / cream.
Sancai wares were northern waresmade using white and buff-firing secondary kaolins and fire clays. At kilnsites located at Tongchuan, Neiqui county in Hebei and Gongxian in Henan,the clays used for burial wares were similar to those used by Tang potters. Theburial wares were fired at a lower temperature than contemporaneous whitewares.Burial wares, such as the well-known representations of camels and horses, werecast in sections, in moulds with the parts luted together using clay slip. Insome cases, a degree of individuality was imparted to the assembled figurinesby hand-carving.
Jian tea wares
Jian blackwares, mainly comprisingtea wares, were made at kilns located in Jianyang of Fujian province. Theyreached the peak of their popularity during the Song dynasty. The wares weremade using locally-won, iron-rich clays and fired in an oxidising atmosphere attemperatures in the region of 1300 °C. The glaze was made using clay similar tothat used for forming the body, except fluxed with wood-ash. At hightemperatures the molten glaze separate to produce a pattern called hare's fur.When Jian wares were set tilted for firing, drips run down the side, creatingevidence of liquid glaze pooling.
Jian tea bowl Song Dynasty,(960–1279); Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1891.1.226 
The hare's fur Jian tea bowlillustrated in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was made during theSong dynasty (960 to 1279 AD) and exhibits the typical pooling, or thickening,of the glaze near the bottom. The hare's fur patterning in the glaze of thisbowl resulted from the random effect of phase separation during early coolingin the kiln and is unique to this bowl. This phase separation in the iron-richglazes of Chinese blackwares was also used to produce the well-known oil-spot,teadust and partridge-feather glaze effects. No two bowls have identicalpatterning. The bowl also has a dark brown iron-foot which is typical of thisstyle. It would have been fired, probably with several thousand other pieces,each in its own stackable saggar, in a single-firing in a large dragon kiln.One such kiln, built on the side of a steep hill, was almost 150 metres inlength, though most Jian dragon kilns were fewer than 100 metres in length.
An 11th century resident of Fujianwrote:
“ Tea is of light colour and looks best in black cups. The cups made atJianyang are bluish-black in colour, marked like the fur of a hare. Being ofrather thick fabric they retain the heat, so that when once warmed through theycool very slowly, and they are additionally valued on this account. None of thecups produced at other places can rival these. Blue and white cups are not usedby those who give tea-tasting parties.
At the time, tea was prepared bywhisking powdered leaves that had been pressed into dried cakes together withhot water, (somewhat akin to matcha in Japanese Tea Ceremony). The water addedto this powder produced a white froth that would stand out better against adark bowl. Tastes in preparation changed during the Ming dynasty; the HongwuEmperor himself preferred leaves to powdered cakes, and would accept only leaftea as tribute from tea-producing regions. Leaf tea, in contrast to powderedtea, was prepared by steeping whole leaves in boiling water - a process thatled to the invention of the teapot and subsequent popularity of Yixing waresover the dark tea bowls.
Jian tea wares of the Song dynastywere also greatly appreciated and copied in Japan, where they were known astenmoku wares.
White Glazed Ding Ware Bowl withIncised Design Northern Song Dynasty (11th-12th Century); Porcelain, MuséeGuimet 2418
Main article: Ding ware
Ding (Wade-Giles: Ting) ware wasproduced in Ding Xian (modern Chu-yang), Hebei Province, slightly south-west ofBeijing. Already in production when the Song emperors came to power in 940,Ding ware was the finest porcelain produced in northern China at the time, andwas the first to enter the palace for official imperial use. Its paste iswhite, generally covered with an almost transparent glaze that dripped andcollected in "tears," (though some Ding ware was glazed a monochromeblack or brown, white was the much more common type). Overall, the Dingaesthetic relied more on its elegant shape than ostentatious decoration;designs were understated, either incised or stamped into the clay prior toglazing. Due to the way the dishes were stacked in the kiln, the edged remainedunglazed, and had to be rimmed in metal such as gold or silver when used astableware. Some hundred years later, a Southern Song era writer commented thatit was this defect that led to its demise as favoured imperial ware. Since theSong court lost access to these northern kilns when they fled south, it hasbeen argued that Qingbai ware (see below) was viewed as a replacement forDing.
Although not as highly ranked as Ruware, the late Ming connoisseur Gao Lian awards Ding ware a brief mention inhis volume Eight Discourses on the Art of Living. Classified under his sixthdiscourse, the section on “pure enjoyment of cultured idleness,” Master Gaosays:
“ "The best sort has marks on it like tear-stains… Great skill andingenuity is displayed in selecting the forms of the vessels…" 
Ru Ware Bowl Stand, Chinese, Early12th Century; Buff stoneware, with crackled light bluish green glaze, and acopper edge; London, Victoria and Albert Museum, FE.1-1970 
Like Ding ware, Ru (Wade-Giles: ju)was produced in North China for imperial use. The Ru kilns were near theNorthern Song capital at Kaifeng. In similar fashion to Longquan celadons, Rupieces have small amounts of iron in their glaze that oxidize and turn greenishwhen fired in a reducing atmosphere. Ru wares range in colour—from nearly whiteto a deep robin's egg—and often are covered with reddish-brown crackles. Thecrackles, or "crazing," are caused when the glaze cools and contractsfaster than the body, thus having to stretch and ultimately to split, (as seenin the detail at right; see also ). The art historian James Watt commentsthat the Song dynasty was the first period that viewed crazing as a meritrather than a defect. Moreover, as time went on, the bodies got thinner andthinner, while glazes got thicker, until by the end of the Southern Song the'green-glaze' was thicker than the body, making it extremely 'fleshy' ratherthan 'bony,' to use the traditional analogy (see section on Guan ware, below).Too, the glaze tends to drip and pool slightly, leaving it thinner at the top,where the clay peeps through.
Ru Ware Bowl Stand, detail ofcrazing; V&A FE.1-1970 
As with Ding ware, the Songimperial court lost access to the Ru kilns after it fled Kaifeng when the Jininvaded, and settled at Lin'an in Hangzhou, towards the south. There theEmperor Gaozong founded the Guan yao ('official kilns') right outside the newcapital in order to produce imitations of Ru ware. However, posterity has rememberedRu ware as something unmatched by later attempts; Master Gao says,"Compared with Guan yao, the above were of finer substance and morebrilliant luster."
Bulb Bowl with Scalloped Rim,Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127); Stoneware; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco,B60P93 
Main article: Jun ware
Jun (Wade-Giles: chün) ware was athird style of porcelain used at the Northern Song court. Characterized by athicker body than Ding or Ru ware, Jun is covered with a turquoise and purpleglaze, so thick and viscous looking that it almost seems to be melting off itssubstantial golden-brown body. Not only are Jun vessels more thickly potted,their shape is much more robust than the fine Jun pieces, yet both types wereappreciated at court of Emperor Huizong. Jun production was centered at Jun-taiin Yüzhou city, Henan Province.
Guan (Wade-Giles: kuan) ware,literally means "official" ware; so certain Ru, Jun, and even Dingcould be considered Guan in the broad sense of being produced for the court.Strictly speaking, however, the term only applies to that produced by anofficial, imperially-run kiln, which did not start until the Southern Song fledthe advancing Jin and settled at Lin'an. It was during this period that wallsbecome so thin and glaze so thick that the latter superseded the former inbreadth. As the clay in the foothills around Lin'an, was a brownish colour, andthe glaze so viscus, ‘’Guan’’ ware became known for its "brown mouth"(sometimes translated as "purple"), indicating the top rim or avessel where the glaze is thinner and the body shows through. Guan ceramicshave been much admired over the years, and very subject to copy. Indeed GaoLain spends the greatest part of his commentary on describing Guan and itspartner Ge ware (See below: though similar to Ge ware, Guan tends to have abluer finish and a more translucent glaze), as though that were the mosttroublesome, least easily identified type of pottery.
Ge (Wade-Giles: ko), literallymeans 'big-brother' ware, because legend has it that of two brothers working inLongquan, one made the typical celadon style ceramics, but the elder made geware, produced in his private kiln. Ming commentator, Gao Lian claims that thege kiln took its clay from the same site as Guan ware, which is what accountsfor the difficulty in distinguishing one from the other (though Gao thinks"Ge is distinctly inferior" to Guan). Overall, Ge remainssomewhat elusive, but basically comprises two types—one with a ‘warmrice-yellow glaze and two sets of crackles, a more prominent set of darkercolour interspersed with a finer set of reddish lines (called chin-ssut’ieh-hsien or ‘golden floss and iron threads’, which can just faintly be detectedon this bowl: ). The other Ge ware is much like Guan ware, with grayishglaze and one set of crackles. Once thought to have only been manufacturedalongside Longquan celadon, per its legendary founding, Ge is now believed tohave also been produced at Jingdezhen.
While similar to Guan ware, Getypically has a grayish-blue glaze that is fully opaque with an almost mattefinish (as seen on this bottle in the Asian Art Museum ). Its cracklepattern is exaggerated, often standing out in bold black. Though still shroudedin mystery, many specialists believe that Ge ware did not develop until thevery late Southern Song or even the Yuan. In any case, enthusiasm for itpersisted throughout the Ming; Wen Zhenheng preferred it to all other types ofporcelain, in particular for brush washers and water droppers (although hepreferred jade brush washers to porcelain, Guan and Ge were the best ceramicones, especially if they have scalloped rims). Differences between later Mingimitations of Song/Yuan Ge include: Ming versions substitute a white porcelainbody; they tend to be produced in a range of new shapes, for example those forthe scholar's studio; glazes tend to be thinner and more lustrous; and slip isapplied to the rim and base to simulate the "brown mouth and ironfoot" of Guan ware.
Song Dynasty qingbai bowl
Qingbai wares (also called'yingqing') were made at Jingdezhen and at many other southern kilns fromthe time of the Northern Song Dynasty until they were eclipsed in the 14thcentury by underglaze-decorated blue and white wares. Qingbai in Chineseliterally means "clear blue-white". The qingbai glaze is a porcelainglaze, so-called because it was made using pottery stone. The qingbai glaze isclear, but contains iron in small amounts. When applied over a white porcelainbody the glaze produces a greenish-blue colour that gives the glaze its name.Some have incised or moulded decorations.
The Song dynasty qingbai bowlillustrated was likely made at the Jingdezhen village of Hutian, which was alsothe site of the Imperial kilns established in 1004. The bowl has inciseddecoration, possibly representing clouds or the reflection of clouds in thewater. The body is white, translucent and has the texture of very-fine sugar,indicating that it was made using crushed and refined pottery stone instead ofpottery stone and kaolin. The glaze and the body of the bowl would have beenfired together, in a saggar, possibly in a large wood-burning dragon-kiln orclimbing-kiln, typical of southern kilns in the period.
Though many Song and Yuan qingbaibowls were fired upside down in special segmented saggars, a technique firstdeveloped at the Ding kilns in Hebei province. The rims of such wares were leftunglazed but were often bound with bands of silver, copper or lead.
One remarkable example of qingbaiporcelain is the so-called Fonthill Vase, described in a guide for FonthillAbbey published in 1823
“ "...an oriental china bottle, superbly mounted, said to be theearliest known specimen of porcelain introduced into Europe" ”
The vase was made at Jingdezhen,probably around 1300 and was sent as a present to Pope Benedict XII by one ofthe last Yuan emperors of China, in 1338. The mounts referred to in the 1823description were of enamelled silver-gilt and were added to the vase in Europein 1381. An 18th century water colour of the vase complete with its mountsexists, but the mounts themselves were removed and lost in the 19th century.The vase is now in the National Museum of Ireland. It is often held thatqingbai wares were not subject to the higher standards and regulations of theother porcelain wares, since they were made for everyday use. They weremass-produced, and received little attention from scholars and antiquarians.The Fonthill Vase, given by a Chinese emperor to a pope, might appear to castat least some doubt on this view.
Blue and white wares
Kangxi period (1662 to 1722) blueand white porcelain tea caddy
Main article: Blue and whiteporcelain
Following in the tradition ofearlier qingbai porcelains, blue and white wares are glazed using a transparentporcelain glaze. The blue decoration is painted onto the body of the porcelainbefore glazing, using very finely ground cobalt oxide mixed with water. Afterthe decoration has been applied the pieces are glazed and fired.
It is believed that underglaze blueand white porcelain was first made in the Tang Dynasty. Only three completepieces of Tang blue and white porcelain are known to exist (in Singapore fromIndonesian Belitung shipwreck ), but shards dating to the 8th or 9th centuryhave been unearthed at Yangzhou in the Jiangsu province. It has been suggestedthat the shards originated from a kiln in the province of Henan. In 1957,excavations at the site of a pagoda in the province Zhejiang uncovered aNorthern Song bowl decorated with underglaze blue and further fragments havesince been discovered at the same site. In 1970, a small fragment of a blue andwhite bowl, again dated to the 11th century, was also excavated in the provinceof Zhejiang.
In 1975, shards decorated withunderglaze blue were excavated at a kiln site in Jiangxi and, in the same year,an underglaze blue and white urn was excavated from a tomb dated to 1319, inthe province of Jiangsu. It is of interest to note that a Yuan funerary urndecorated with underglaze blue and underglaze red and dated 1338 is still inthe Chinese taste, even though by this time the large-scale production of blueand white porcelain in the Yuan, Mongol taste had started its influence atJingdezhen.
Starting early in the 14th century,blue and white porcelain rapidly became the main product of Jingdezhen,reaching the height of its technical excellence during the later years of thereign of the Kangxi Emperor and continuing in present times to be animportant product of the city.
The tea caddy illustrated showsmany of the characteristics of blue and white porcelain produced during theKangxi period. The translucent body showing through the clear glaze is of greatwhiteness and the cobalt decoration, applied in many layers, has a fine bluehue. The decoration, a sage in a landscape of lakes and mountains with blazedrocks is typical of the period. The piece would have been fired in a saggar (alidded ceramic box intended to protect the piece from kiln debris, smoke andcinders during firing) in a reducing atmosphere in a wood-burning egg-shapedkiln, at a temperature approaching 1350 °C.
Distinctive blue-and-whiteporcelain was exported to Japan where it is known as Tenkei blue-and-white wareor ko sometsukei. This ware is thought to have been especially ordered by teamasters for Japanese ceremony.
Statue of Guan Yin, Ming Dynasty(Shanghai Museum)
Blanc de Chine
Main article: Blanc de Chine
Blanc de Chine is a type of whiteporcelain made at Dehua in the Fujian province. It has been produced from theMing Dynasty (1368–1644) to the present day. Large quantities arrived in Europeas Chinese Export Porcelain in the early 18th century and it was copied atMeissen and elsewhere.
The area along the Fujian coast wastraditionally one of the main ceramic exporting centers. Over one-hundred andeighty kiln sites have been identified extending in historical range from theSong period to present.
Tripod Early 17th century,Nantoyōsō Collection, Japan
From the Ming period porcelainobjects were manufactured that achieved a fusion of glaze and bodytraditionally referred to as "ivory white" and "milkwhite." The special characteristic of Dehua porcelain is the very smallamount of iron oxide in it, allowing it to be fired in an oxidising atmosphereto a warm white or pale ivory colour. (Wood, 2007)
The porcelain body is not veryplastic but vessel forms have been made from it. Donnelly, (1969, pp.xi-xii)lists the following types of product: figures, boxes, vases and jars, cups andbowls, fishes, lamps, cup-stands, censers and flowerpots, animals, brushholders, wine and teapots, Buddhist and Taoist figures, secular figures andpuppets. There was a large output of figures, especially religious figures,e.g. Guanyin, Maitreya, Lohan and Ta-mo figures.
The numerous Dehua porcelainfactories today make figures and tableware in modern styles. During theCultural Revolution "Dehua artisans applied their very best skills toproduce immaculate statuettes of the Great Leader and the heroes of therevolution. Portraits of the stars of the new proletarian opera in their mostfamous roles were produced on a truly massive scale." Mao Zedongfigures later fell out of favour but have been revived for foreign collectors.
Notable artists in blanc de Chine,such as the late Ming period He Chaozong, signed their creations with theirseals. Wares include crisply modeled figures, cups, bowls and jossstick-holders.
Many of the best examples of blancde Chine are found in Japan where the white variety was termed hakugorai or"Korean white", a term often found in tea ceremony circles. TheBritish Museum in London has a large number of blanc de Chine pieces, havingreceived as a gift in 1980 the entire collection of P.J.Donnelly.
Classification by colour, Famille
Commonly used French terms for'families', or palettes of enamel colours used on Chinese porcelain. Famillejaune, noire, rose, verte are terms used to classify Chinese porcelain by itscolour palette.
Saint-Cloud soft porcelain spittingbowl, "Famille verte", 1730-1740
Famille verte (康熙五彩, Kangxi wucai,also 素三彩, Susancai), adopted in the Kangxi (1662–1722), uses green and iron redwith other overglaze colours. It developed from the Wucai (五彩, "Fivecolors") style.
Wucai vase, Shunzhi period, circa1650-1660
Wucai plate for exportation, Kangxiperiod, circa 1680
Wucai plate for exportation, Kangxiperiod, circa 1680
Famille jaune is a variation usingfamille verte enamels on a yellow ground.
Famille noire (Chinese: 黑地素三彩, Modisusancai) uses a black ground (although some clobbered wares had the blackadded in the 19th century).
Delftware plate, faience, FamilleRose, 1760-1780
Famille rose (known in Chinese asFencai (粉彩) or Ruancai (軟彩, simplified 软彩), meaning 'soft colours', and later asYangcai (洋彩), meaning 'foreign colours') was introduced during the reign ofKangxi (1654–1722), possibly around 1720. It used mainly pink or purple andremained popular throughout the 18th and the 19th centuries.
Famille rose enamel ware allows agreater range of colour and tone than was previously possible, enabling thedepiction of more complex images, including flowers, figures and insects.
It is made by drawing a sketch onthe shaped clay, which is then covered with 'glassy white' (bo li bai), an opaquewhite enamel (lead arsenate), and painted in detail with the mixture of pigmentand oil, before firing.
Qing period Chinese exportporcelain with European figure, Famille Rose, first half of 18th century
Jingdezhen soft paste porcelainflower holder, "Famille Rose", 1736-1796, Qianlong period
Saint-Cloud soft paste porcelainflower holder, "Famille Rose", 1730-1740
See also: Yixing clay and Yixingclay teapot
Early pots were designed for traveluse hence you will see the simple classical look of the pots produced duringthe Ming Dynasty.  Most tea drinking enthusiast will have one teapot fortravel use, these tend to be less expensive and compact in design. It was notuntil during the mid-Qing Dynasty (18th century) that tea connoisseurs startedto use the pot at home and the artisan begin to form them into different shapeand sizes. Many exotic forms were conceived. Vessels were decorated with poeticinscriptions, calligraphy, paintings and seals were incised onto the surface ofthe teapots.
The term "yixing clay" isoften used as an umbrella term to describe several distinct types of clay usedto make stoneware:
Zisha or Zini (紫砂 or 紫泥 ; literally,"purple sand/clay"): this stoneware has a purple-red-brown color.
Zhusha or Zhuni (朱砂 or 朱泥; literally,"cinnabar sand/clay"): reddish brown stoneware with a very high ironcontent. The name only refers to the sometimes bright red hue of cinnabar (朱砂;pinyin: zhūshā). Due to the increasing demand for Yixing stoneware, zhuni isnow in very limited quantities. Zhuni clay is not to be confused with hongni (红泥,literally, "red clay", another red clay.
Duanni (鍛泥; literally, "fortifedclay"): stoneware that was formulated using various stones and minerals inaddition to zini or zhuni clay. This results in various textures and colours,ranging from beige, blue, and green (绿泥), to black.
Fakes and reproductions
Kangxi reign mark on a piece oflate nineteenth century blue and white porcelain.
Italian pottery of the mid-15thcentury shows heavy influences from Chinese ceramics. A Sancai ("Threecolors") plate (left), and a Ming-type blue-and-white vase (right), madein Northern Italy, mid-15th century. Musée du Louvre.
Chinese potters have a longtradition of borrowing design and decorative features from earlier wares.Whilst ceramics with features thus borrowed might sometimes pose problems ofprovenance, they would not generally be regarded as either reproductions orfakes. However, fakes and reproductions have also been made at many timesduring the long history of Chinese ceramics and continue to be made today inever-increasing numbers.
Reproductions of Song dynasty Longquan celadonwares were made at Jingdezhen in the early 18th century, but outright fakeswere also made using special clay that were artificially aged by boiling inmeat broth, refiring and storage in sewers. Père d'Entrecolles records that bythis means the wares could be passed off as being hundreds of years old.
At Jingdezhen, the two remaining wood fired,egg-shaped kilns produce convincing reproductions of earlier wares. At Zhejiangprovince good reproductions of Song Longquan celedon wares continue to be madein large, side-stoked dragon kilns.
Before World War II, the English potterBernard Leach found what he took to be genuine Song dynasty cizhou rice-bowlsbeing sold for very little money on the dock of a Chinese port and was surprisedto learn that they were in fact newly made.
In the late 19th century, fakes of Kangxiperiod famille noire wares were made that were convincing enough to deceive theexperts of the day. Many such pieces may still be seen in museums today, as maypieces of genuine Kangxi porcelain decorated in the late nineteenth centurywith famille noire enamels. A body of modern expert opinion holds thatporcelain decorated with famille noire enamels was not made at all during theKangxi period, though this view is disputed.
A fashion for Kangxi period (1662 to 1722)blue and white wares grew to large proportions in Europe during the later yearsof the 19th century and triggered the production at Jingdezhen of largequantities of porcelain wares that strike a resemblance to ceramics of earlierperiods. Such blue and white wares were not fakes or even convincingreproductions, even though some pieces carried four-character Kangxireign-marks that continue to cause confusion to this day. Kangxi reign-marks inthe form shown in the illustration occur only on wares made towards the end ofthe 19th century or later, without exception.
The most widely-known test is thethermoluminescence test, or TL test, which is used on some types of ceramic toestimate, roughly, the date of last firing. The TL test is carried out on smallsamples of porcelain drilled or cut from the body of a piece, which can berisky and disfiguring. For this reason, the test is rarely used for datingfinely-potted, high-fired ceramics. TL testing cannot be used at all on sometypes of porcelain items, particularly high-fired porcelain.
Water jar from the Neolithicperiod, Yangshao culture (ca. 5000 - 3000 BC)
Painted jar of the Majiayaoculture, Late Neolithic period (3300 - 2200 BC)
Painted pot with frog motifs,Majiayao culture (2200 - 2000 BC)
Painted pot of Majiayao culture(2200 - 2000 BC)
Black pottery goblet of the LateNeolithic period from the Longshan culture, dated (ca. 2500 - 2000 BC)
Large grey mug, Henan Longshanculture, Late Neolithic period (ca. 2500 - 2000 BC)
White pottery pitcher from theShandong Longshan culture, 2500–2000 BC
White pottery pot with geometricdesign, Shang dynasty (1600-1100 BC)
Earthenware vase, Eastern Zhou,4th-3rd century BC, British Museum
A pottery bell from the WarringStates Period (403–221 BC)
A painted pottery dou vessel with adragon design from the Warring States Period (403-221 BC)
Soldiers from the Terracotta Army,interred by 210 BC, Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC)
Han (202 BC to 220 AD)
Ceramic sculptures with polychrome,from the 2nd century BC, Han Dynasty.
An earthenware goose pourer withlacquerware paint designs, Western Han, late 3rd century BC to early 1stcentury AD
A painted earthenware tripod,Western Han Dynasty, late 3rd century BC to early 1st century AD
A Han celadon pot with mountain-shapedlid and animal designs
Two Western Han Dynasty terracottavases with acrobats
Ceramic tomb statuette of acavalryman and horse, Western Han Dynasty
A Han Dynasty pottery tomb model ofresidential towers joined by a bridge
A Han Dynasty pottery tomb model ofa palatial residence
A Han pottery face of a laughingwoman
A footed Western-Han white ceramicwine warmer with animal-head figurines decorating its lid
A Western Han glazed pottery dingwith taotie-faced door knocker designs
An Eastern Han ceramiccandle-holder with animal figurines
Three Kingdoms, Jin, Southern and NorthernDynasties, Sui (220 to 618)
A celadon ceramic candle holder inthe shape of a crouched lion, Three Kingdoms (220–265), made in Eastern Wu
A celadon hunping jar with sculpteddesigns of architecture, from the Jin Dynasty (265-420)
A black-glazed wine or water jugwith a rooster-headed spout, Jin Dynasty (265-420)
A footed earthenware lamp withlions, from either the Northern dynasties or Sui Dynasty, 6th century
Covered footed earthenware vesselfrom the Northern Qi (550–577)
Northern Dynasties lotus vessel
A Western Wei (536–556) ceramicfigurine of a military officer
A ceramic cavalryman with a horn,Northern Wei (386–534)
Tang (618 to 906 AD)
Sancai-horse and figurine, TangDynasty
A sancai glazed pottery horse fromthe 7th-8th century
An earthenware jar with green andyellow glaze, first half of 8th century
A Western on a Bactrian Camel, asancai glazed figurine from the Tang Dynasty
A rounded ceramic plate with"three colors" glaze and floral design, 8th-9th century
A rounded ceramic plate with"three colors" glaze, 8th century
A ceramic offering plate with"three colors" glaze, decorated with a bird and trees, 8th century
A ceramic offering plate with sixeaves and "three colors" glaze, 8th century
Tang Dynasty sancai grazed luohan(arhat) figure
The Statue of Heavenly Guardian,Polychrome glazed pottery, Tang Dynasty.
Tang female musicians on horseback
A Tang sancai-glazed tomb guardian,8th century
Song (960 to 1279 AD)
Chinese tea bowls made ofstoneware, Song Dynasty, 12th to 13th century
A porcelain teapot in QingbaiStyle, from Jingdezhen
Funerary vase and cover,green-glazed stoneware, Northern Song (960–1127)
A Longquan celadon vase from theSong Dynasty
A celadon bowl, 10th-11th century
Longquan celadon wares, 13thcentury
A Qingbai ware box with flowermedallions
Ding Ware Bottle with iron pigmentover transparent colourless glaze, 11th century; Freer Gallery, F1959.6.
Northern Song Dynasty white-glazedbaby boy pillow
Southern Song Dynasty celadon vasewith dish shaped mouth, Longquan Ware
A glazed stoneware pillow from theSong Dynasty
A Song-era amphora with dragonhandles
Porcelain pillow Jin Dynasty(1115–1234)
Yuan (1279 to 1368 AD)
A celadon shoulder pot from thelate Yuan Dynasty, displaying artwork of peaches, lotuses, peonies, willows,and palms
Qingbai porcelain vase, 14thcentury
A Jin or Yuan dynasty stonewaredish, 13th-14th century
Longquan celadon, 13th-14th century
Longquan celadon bowl with a dragon
Celadon dish with a flower design
A covered jar made of Longquanceladon, 14th century
A Jun ware bowl
Ming (1368 to 1644 AD)
A Ming Dynasty blue-and-whiteporcelain dish with depiction of a dragon
Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) withchildren, statuette made of Dehua porcelain ware
A Ming Dynasty porcelain bowl withflower designs
Ming presentation porcelain, MingDynasty (1368–1644) Fifteenth century
Porcelain plate from 1634, duringthe Chongzhen Emperor (1627–1644)
Porcelain vase from the reign ofthe Jiajing Emperor (1521–1567)
A Ming glazed earthenware statue ofa seated Buddha
Ming Dynasty Yongle reign monk'scap white pitcher
Yongle reign red plate
Chrysanthemum styled porcelain vasewith three colours
Jiajing covered jar with greendragon and cloud design
Wanli reign covered jar in green
Qing (1644 to 1912 AD)
Kangxi transitional porcelain,1644-1680
Kangxi transitional porcelain,1644-1680
Porcelain plate from the reign ofthe Kangxi Emperor (1661–1722)
A porcelain bowl with a scene oftwo boys playing in a courtyard, from the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor(1722–1735)
Porcelain vase from the reign ofthe Kangxi Emperor (1661–1722)
Copper-red porcelain from the reignof the Yongzheng Emperor (1722–1735)
A European man on horseback,porcelain, first half of 18th century
Porcelain from the reign of theQianlong Emperor (1735–1796)
Porcelain plate from the reign ofthe Qianlong Emperor (1735–1796)
Four ritual porcelain water vesselswith elephant-trunk spouts, from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735–1796)
An 18th-century Qing porcelainmeiping (梅瓶; plum vase)
White porcelain from the reign ofthe Qianlong Emperor (1735–1796)
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