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Chinese Ceramic Culture


Chinese Ceramics is a predominant section of Chinese culture early and widely known in the world. In accordance with the world archeology, Chinese ceramics have been explored and discovered in many areas and countries. Especially in Europe, Chinese ceramics used to be considered as rare treasures. It was even served as the standard or evidence to judge a person’s social status and family background. Especially in France, a nationwide infatuation to Chinese ceramics brought the large-scale collection and show-off of Chinese ceramics, including their aristocrats and authorities of government. This is the large influence from hurricane of Chinese culture.

History of Chinese Ceramics

The origin of Chinese ceramics is green porcelain, which is the transitional object from pottery time to ceramic time. the real Chinese ceramics came forth in East Han Dynasty(23-220). Originally it was firstly found and used in Zhejiang province, Southeast China. During the time from 220 to 581, the ceramics of Zhejiang province kept ahead in south China. A lot of ceramic kilns were built in Shaoxing, Yuhang and other zones. Generally the ceramics in Zhejiang province is academically or formally called Yue Yao(越窑),and most of ceramic productions belong to green ceramics.

In north China, the appeared time of ceramics was shorter than that in southern area. The outstanding representative ceramics of North China is the white ceramics. And in Tang Dynasty, except the two types of ceramics, there was another kind of rare and treasured ceramics named Sancaici or Three-Color Ceramics, besides The ceramics produced in Changsha formed its own style and made a dramatic progress both in making and design. Changsha Ceramics later was found in 13 countries in Asia and Africa. In Song Dynasty, on the basis of ceramics in Tang Dynasty, five world-renowned ceramic kilns appeared: Ceramics of Ding Kiln, Ceramics of Ru Kiln, Ceramics of Guan Kiln, Ceramics of Ge Kiln and Ceramics of Jun Kiln. In Yuan Dynasty, the most prominent ceramics was white-green porcelain. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, China experienced the most flourishing time of ceramic production. Both of the quality and quantity were up to the summit. During this period, Jingdezhen as the Ceramic Capital was finally fixed.

Cultural Exchange and Ceramic Road

Since Han Dynasty, Silk Road served as the channel for Sino-foreign cultural and business exchange, and China used to be impressed as Silk Kingdom. Entering the Middle Ages, China was world famous as Ceramic Kingdom when Chinese ceramics were largely welcomed in other countries.

The Route of Silk Road

Dated from the end of the 8th century, Chinese ceramics begun the overseas business. The major ceramic products were Three-Color Ceramics, White Ceramics and Green Ceramics. Another important channel was called Oceanic Silk Road. In the light of the historic record and archeologist’s latest discovery, a large number of ceramics were transported via seaway started from Yangzhou, Ningbo, Quanzhou and Guangzhou. Additionally Zheng He’s Occidental Trip by fleet was also a big historic event to the world spread of Chinese ceramics.

Editor: Liu Xiongfei