Life in Porcelain

Unlike the porous earthenware, porcelain vessels are in the wholly vitrified, have a white color, sometimes translucent, and they have a fine-grained liquid-proof body. Chinese porcelain, also called 'fine china', is worldwide known for its beautiful white color, delicate texture, refined sculpture and its clear bell-like sound. It has been one of the earliest artworks introduced to the western world through the Silk Road.

The earliest porcelain ware was found made of Kaolin in the Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC), and possessed the common aspects of the smoothness and impervious quality of hard enamel, though pottery wares were more widely used among most of the ordinary people. Anyway it was the beginning of porcelain, which afterwards in the succeeding dynasties and due to its durability and luster, rapidly became a necessity of daily life, especially in the middle and upper classes. They were made in the form of all kinds of items, such as bowls, cups, tea sets, vases, jewel cases, incense burners, musical instruments and boxes for stationary and chess, as well as pillows for traditional doctors to use to feel one's pulse. They were made in the form of all kinds of items, such as bowls, cups, tea sets, vases, jewel cases, incense burners, musical instruments and boxes for stationary and chess, as well as pillows for traditional doctors to use to feel one's pulse.

Stepping into the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), a variety of genres of porcelain appeared and it became a fashion that people showed great interest in purchasing and collecting certain wares suitable to their tastes. Ru, Ding, Ge, Jun and the official kilns had been the representatives of that age. Since the artisans made their porcelain wares separately, there was no repetition among decorative patterns and colors. This made each porcelain product more precious in its own right. Ding kiln boasted its white porcelain which has a texture as delicate as that of ivory with an adornment of black and purple glaze. Distinctive from the other four kilns which stressed color, this one was quite good at engraving and printing flower patterns. While the Ge Kiln produced porcelain articles with various grains and produced an amount of artworks greater than those of the other four.

Industrial manufacturing was only exerted during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368), when Marco Polo wrote his reports about China. Well developed in the Yuan period, the blue and white porcelain (Qinghua Ci), in the main stream of porcelain, was the stylish artistic ware in the Ming and Qing Dynasties and promoted this period to be the most prolific in the field of feudal art. First it painted on the basic body with brush natural cobalt which would be turned blue after being in the forge. Set off by the white glaze and covered by the other level of clear glaze, the blue flowers and other patterns showed their comely charm and were widely welcomed among both refined and popular tastes. With the diversity of cobalt, theme, and style of painting, the blue and white porcelains differed constantly, each being unique.

Collect your favorite porcelain article and place it in your room to enjoy the pleasure of it. The Porcelain Capital, Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province which has been praised for thousands of years, will be certain to satisfy your esthetic appetite.

Source: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/