Asian pottery history
Originally invented in China, blue-and-white ceramics were widely circulated, copied and re-created by makers worldwide, becoming one of the most well-known and enduring products in the history of Chinese porcelain. Broadly speaking, blue-and-white refers to ceramics decorated with cobalt blue pigment on a white body, usually applied with a brush under the glaze. First appearing in the Tang dynasty — , early blue-and-white ceramics were made with a coarse, greyish body. In the Yuan dynasty — , potters at Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, a famous China porcelain town, refined clay recipes by adding kaolin clay, and developed firing technology. The craftsmanship of blue-and-white porcelain improved significantly, with products featuring vibrant blue colours using cobalt pigment produced in Yunnan province or imported from the Middle East. Blue-and-white wares are produced elsewhere in China, though objects originating from the kilns at Jingdezhen are thought to be the best quality.
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Chinese blue-and-white ceramics
Britain’s best places to see: Chinese and East Asian collections – Museum Crush
Pottery fragments found in a south China cave have been confirmed to be 20, years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world, archaeologists say. The findings, which appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in east Asia to more than 15, years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10, years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gatherers to farmers. The research by a team of Chinese and American scientists also pushes the emergence of pottery back to the last ice age, which might provide new explanations for the creation of pottery, said Gideon Shelach, chair of the Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies at The Hebrew University in Israel. In an accompanying Science article , Shelach wrote that such research efforts "are fundamental for a better understanding of socio-economic change 25, to 19, years ago and the development that led to the emergence of sedentary agricultural societies". He said the disconnection between pottery and agriculture as shown in east Asia might shed light on specifics of human development in the region.
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Interested in reading Chinese porcelain? Here's how to identify the marks
What do you do when you want to drink a cup of tea? You want to have a mug that is light, sturdy, waterproof, not burning hot to touch, and something you can easily rinse off when you are done. It sounds easy, but over time countless artisans have tried to come up with just such a material.
Of all the kinds of artifacts which may be found at archaeological sites, ceramics--objects made from fired clay--are surely one of the most useful. Ceramic artifacts are extremely durable and may last thousands of years virtually unchanged from the date of manufacture. And, ceramic artifacts, unlike stone tools, are completely person-made, shaped of clay and purposely fired.
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