History of Chinese Oriental Pottery and Porcelain

By: rhusain
Many people do not know from where the oriental pottery and porcelain were first made, what are their origins. China, Korea and Japan are the countries that made oriental pottery and porcelain. They are similar to each other in their designs and styles of ware. This similarity creates some confusion for the experts and beginners to identify them properly. And they were marked. Many dynasties and emperors of old China encouraged the potters.

ORIENTAL pottery and porcelain was made principally in China, Korea and Japan. The wares made in these countries, and in those bordering on the first two, resemble each other superficially, and both beginner and expert suffer confusion. A proportion of the old wares was marked, usually under the base of the article and in under glaze blue, but just as the shapes and colors of earlier periods were imitated in succeeding centuries, so were the marks.

China
Many people talk about, and others wonder about, the dynasties and emperors of old China. It is as well, therefore, to preface this section with a list of those most likely to be of use:
DynastiesEmperors
Chou About 1122 to 249 B.C.
Han 206 B.C. to A.D. 220
T'ang 618 to A.D. 906
Sung 960 to 1279
Ming 1368 to 1644
Hsuan Te1426 to 1435
Ch'engHua1465 to 1487
Wan Li 1573 to 1619
Ch'ing 1644 to 1912
K'ang Hsi1662 to 1722
Yung Cheng1723 to 1735
Ch'ienLung1736 to 1795
Chia Ch'ing1796 to 1820
TaoKuang1821 to 1850

From before 200 B.C. little pottery has survived. The custom of burying pottery vessels and figures with the body of a dead person, and the reopening of undisturbed tombs, has enabled students to gain an idea of the wares of the Han dynasty.

These mortuary pieces show that a green glaze containing lead was commonly in use, and that decoration, where present, consisted of painting in unfixed colors, or of attractive incised patterns. It is argued that the tomb wares, intended for the use of the deceased in a future life, were made perfunctorily, and that the hitherto-unidentified domestic pieces must have been of better workmanship and of a higher artistic quality.

Then followed a gap of four centuries during which no appreciable advances were made, but the years lost in strife and artistic stagnation were amply made up for by the brilliance of the Tang dynasty. The large tomb figures of horses and camels, splashed with glazes of orange-brown and green are among the best-known objects made at the time.

Time and interment have given the glaze a silvery iridescence that lends an added attraction. Dishes and other pieces of the period are less familiar to many, but are artistically important in many instances. Stoneware was brought a stage further forward by giving it a white body, and the pieces known as Yueh (abbreviated from Yueh Chou, a district in Chekiang province where they were made) with their fine celadon glaze, were produced.

In the succeeding Sung dynasty, many further styles were introduced and older ones developed. Carved and incised designs are found, and pale-colored glazes of great beauty were used alongside the popular celadon green, which is found on pieces, exported to the Near East countries. All these delicately modeled and colored wares were copied in later Ming times, but apart from differences in finishing, the early pieces were made of stoneware and the later of true porcelain.

In China the custom of burying pottery vessels and figures along with the dead body has helped many beginners and experts to study the potteries and their styles and designs. The Chinese potters used colored glazes of pale-colored, glazes of orange, brown and green. Their dynasties and emperors encouraged the Chinese potters and artists. But they had their stagnation ages as well.
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