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600X400bowlsOrigins of Porcelain

Chinese ceramic ware shows a continuous development since the pre-dynastic periods, and is one of the most significant forms of Chinese art. China is richly endowed with the raw materials needed for making ceramics. The first types of ceramics were made during the Palaeolithic era. Chinese Ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court.


Porcelain is so identified with China that it is still called “china” in everyday English usage. Most later Chinese ceramics, even of the finest quality, were made on an industrial scale, thus few names of individual potters were recorded. Many of the most renowned workshops were owned by or reserved for the Emperor, and large quantities of ceramics were exported as diplomatic gifts or for trade from an early date.

600x400bowls4Blue and white porcelain during the Ming Dynasty

Blue and white porcelain was first developed from qingbai porcelain during the Yuan period. This period was a time of experimentation as potters tried to develop a transparent glaze that would not obscure the blue motifs on the white porcelain body. During this period, they also experimented with multiple shapes and motifs, ranging from sturdy and severe to graceful and refined. These pieces reflected the dynamic, high spirited age in which they were made and classified under the Zhizheng style. The success of this style resulted in the mid fourteenth century being named as the ‘golden age’ of blue and white ware.

Blue and white ware during the Qing dynasty

It is difficult to discover the development of blue and white ware during the beginning of the Qing dynasty. This is due to there not being any official kilns at the time and the rule against the inscription of the reign name. However, it is likely that early Qing wares were just little more than extensions of the transitional wares that existed during the Ming dynasty. Official kilns only opened during the middle of the Kangxi period. It took such a long time for the opening of the official kilns because of the disruption during the beginning of the Qing period.