Chinese Porcelain - China's Gift to the World
Chinese ceramic ware shows a continuous development since the pre-dynastic periods, and is one of the most significant forms of Chinese art. Chinese ceramics range from construction materials, such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns and the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court. Porcelain is also occasionally called "china" in English.
The earliest ceramic in China could be dated back to Neolithic age. Painted pottery made at that time was noted for its distinctive flowers, fish, animals, human faces, or geometric designs by brush. Chinese pottery reached its artistic peak in the Song dynasty. During this time true porcelain was developed, made of fine gaolin clay, white, thin, transparent or translucent. The art of the Song is generally regarded as the finest China has ever produced. During Ming dynasty, three-color and five-color porcelain (the former was usually in green, yellow and violet, while the latter had light blue and red added as well) with floral decorations on a white background was notably produced. Meanwhile, mono-colored porcelain, in ferrous red, black or dark blue was invented, too.
Under the Qing dynasty, a range of new mono-colored vessels was further developed. New colors, glazes, and more complex decorations were added to the porcelain again. True painted porcelain came out with an assorted decoration of delicate landscapes, birds and flowers.
Elaborate and ornate designs and brilliant coloring became fashionable, along with imitation in porcelain, and the use of all sorts of other materials such as gold and silver, mother of pearl, jade, bronze alloy, wood and bamboo. China is richly endowed with the raw materials needed for making porcelain.
Nowadays, China takes pride in its ceramics, winning a worldwide reputation for ceramic produce for thousands of years. A great variety of ceramic products from China spread all over the world. Chinese porcelain ware is well-known, especially for its Purple Sand Tao (tea pottery) in Yuxing, Jiangsu Province and blue and white porcelain in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province. Also green porcelain in Longquan, Zhejiang Province, white porcelain in Dehua, Fujian Province, Mao porcelian in Liling, Hunan Provicne, and Haicheng porcelain in Liaoning Province gain their fame in porcelain industry.