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Chinese Porcelain

November 18, 2009 by admin

Unless you’re my mother, you may want to skip this.  However, (and I’m saying this to you in her voice) “a little cultcha won’t kill you!”

I went to a lecture and showing on pottery and porcelain at the Shanghai Museum yesterday and It really ended up being an interesting event.  I’m mostly just going to post pictures of some favorite pieces but here’s a little background.

Pottery pieces date back as far as the Neolithic period of 6,000 – 1700 BC.  Our lecturer told us that every early civilization created their own pottery pieces and that for reasons unknown, they are extremely similar in design and decoration (examples below).  But then you have the Terracotta Warriors from the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 BC – 220 AD) from which no other pottery collection compares.

Porcelain making began around the end of the Han Dynasty, 100 AD.  The difference between the two is that porcelain is made from a different clay (lower iron content) and must be fired at a temperature over 1100 degrees celsius (in Farenheit that translates as REALLY FRIGGIN HOT), giving it the “glazed surface”.   Like Jade, many pieces were made to be buried in the tombs.  The Chinese believe in the afterlife and it’s important to be surrounded by items representing what you will need/want in your next life.

During the period of the Dynasties, the most beautiful porcelain was made only for the Emperor as he commissioned it.

These early pieces remind me of Mayan or Egyptian pottery pieces I’ve seen in museums.



Early Burial Pieces




This was put at the tomb entrance to keep away bad spirits…works for me.


Early Bernie


This piece just plain freaks me out!  Is it me, or does this remind you of one of the claymation characters from “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer”.  It’s from the Three Kingdoms Dynasty, 221-280 AD.  It was a large Celdaon jar made for burial and around the base were the owner’s possessions, including a wife, dog, some farm animals, etc.  Apparently they would fill the jar with maybe grain or rice to represent food in the afterlife.


Burial pieces showing music/entertainment



These Rose Red and Blueish dishes are from Song Dynasty, 960 – 1279 AD



These pieces are from the Emperor’s of the Qing Dynasty, 1644 – 1911 AD








And you thought Williams Sonoma created this


During the Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1644 AD, Chinese Porcelain is widely exported to Europe, especially the “under glaze blue porcelain”.



1 Comment »

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