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China in China

A Brief History

Ceramics began in China 6,000 years ago during the New Stone Age whose advent was marked by the invention pottery. The earliest earthenware was moulded by hand and the potter's wheel was something that came much later. In the beginning, clay was fired at a temperature of about 500-600 degrees celsius. Painted pottery began to be known during the period of Yangshao and Longshan Cultures.

The large legion of terra-cotta soldiers and horses of the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 B.C.) which were discovered in the province of Shaanxi in 1974, are eloquent proof of the high skills in kiln-firing and sculpture attained at that early age. The art of pottery reached another peak of development in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 A.D.), as evidenced by the renowned "tri-coloured glaze."

 

Wucheng Village of Qingjiang County, Jiangxi Province vessles of blue-glazed ware have been unearthed. Upon examination, they proved to have been made of kaolin and fired at high temperatures of 1,200C. Their surface is coated with a glaze, whose chemical composition is very close to that of their bodies. Certain procelains of the Song (960 - 1279) and Ming (1368 - 1644) dynasties were already celadon, though at its early stages.

Chinese ceramics became known to the world at large from the Tang Dynasty so much so that the word "china" became the name of procelain. Chinese procelain, together with Chinese tea and silk flowed through the Silk Road and other land and sea routes to foreign countries.

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