Stories of Chinese Ceramics

Cee’s last week of the five Chinese element challenges: Earth.  

On the Chinese new year day, I’m choosing to post the stories of Chinese ceramics to close Cee’s special five challenges.

Ancient types of Chinese ceramic wares were made at around ten to eleven thousand years ago.

The sophistication of Chinese potters is best exemplified by the legion of terracotta warriors found in the tomb of the first Qin Emperor (221-210 BC).

qin dynasty

The three-colored ware in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) is one of the most famous ceramic development in Chinese history, using the bright yellow, green and white glazes. 

During the Sung (or Song) Dynasty (960-1279), the making of porcelains reached its new high. The new potting techniques (glaze and firing processes) in conjunction with the aesthetic design and elegant colors set a high standard of excellence.

Blue and white porcelains of Ming Dynasty  (1368-1644) are characterized by the purity of its kaolin clay body. Also, it was the first time in history, porcelains were mass-produced. Between 1350 and 1750 Jingdezhen was the production center for nearly all of the world’s porcelains; over three million pieces were exported to Europe between 1604 and 1657 alone.

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911, the last Chinese dynasty before the revolution), the five-colored porcelains made another breakthrough from the traditional porcelain design by using flowers, landscape, and figurative scenes to decorate the porcelains.

–The above photos are from wiki commons and Artvalue.com.

Auction Records by Sotheby:

  • A washer (5  1/4″) of Song Dynasty was sold for $26,820,645 on April 4th, 2012:

song washer

  • A blue and white vase (14  3/8″) of Ming Dynasty was sold for $21, 762,580 on Oct. 5, 2011: 

ming b-w vase

  • A rose floral medallion bottle vase (17  1/4″) of Qing Dynasty was sold for $18, 149,677 on Oct. 8. 2010:

qing vase

Notes:

The most exquisite ceramics and porcelains are housed in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan. It has a permanent collection of 693,507 ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, encompassing over 8000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty. Most of the treasures were collected by emperors and royal families.

I was also impressed by the Chinese porcelain collections in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Thanks to Cee for her wonderful five-element challenge theme! I hope you enjoy reading and viewing these ancient, precious, delicate, elegant, and beautiful treasures.

 

Happy New Year everyone!

27 thoughts on “Stories of Chinese Ceramics

      • I tried to google research, but didn’t get good info. The oldest surviving art is in the famous caves of western Europe, up to 40,000 years old. Sculptures in bone and stone of Venus figures date back 10,000 years.

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        • Homo origin in Africa 2.36 million years ago, moved to Europe 1.85 myr ago, to China 1.7 myrs; and, the oldest cave paintings dated 40,800 year ago so far. Then, pottery probably could go much further than 40,000 years. One study has shown that “storing things early humans may have made bags from skin long ago. By around 26,000 years ago, they were weaving plant fibers to make cords and perhaps baskets. About 20,000 years ago, in China, they began making pottery.”
          Thank you for rising the question and for sharing your finding.

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          • Thanks for that information. But I bet that pottery shards are not impossible to find. I also read that works of art may have pre-dated utilitarian items. Those cave paintings in France are fine fine works of art.

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  1. I’m so glad you caught this on, I thought you might enjoy reading it… The basin is a rare and perfect piece, and has been able to copy the glaze technique, etc. Still, the sum of little treasure is Unbelievable!

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