Chinese Porcelain History Video Its Origins and Method
This is an exceptional Film about the history of Chinese porcelain making, toward the end is a section on the 10,000 character jar in the Fuchou Museum, probably the rarest and most valuable piece of porcelain on earth, valued in the 10's of millions of dollars. It is an amazing thing and this is the only description I've ever seen of it.
All narrated in English with interviews with Chinese scholars which are subtitled.
A bit More on Chinese Porcelain History , but do watch the Chinese porcelain history video
What is Porcelain?
In ceramic art, the term "Porcelain" (derived from the Italian word "porcellana", meaning a type of translucent shell) describes any ceramic ware that is white and translucent, no matter what ingredients it contains or what it is made for. It is however fired at a higher temperature than regular earthenware. In Chinese pottery, the porcelain clay body is typically heated in a kiln to between 1,200 and 1,400 degrees Celsius. These temperatures cause the formation of glass, and other chemical compounds, which in turn gives the porcelain its toughness, strength, and translucence.
What are the ingredients of Chinese Porcelain?
Chinese porcelain - one of the best examples of traditional Chinese art - is typically made from the clay mineral kaolinite, combined with pottery stone known as petunse, feldspar and quartz. Other ingredients may include ball clay, bone ash, glass, steatite and alabaster. The clays used in porcelain manufacture are usually lower in plasticity and shorter than other pottery clays. In China, the composition and characteristics of northern porcelain differ markedly from that made in the south of the country.
Is Chinese Porcelain Glazed?
Yes, but unlike other lower-fired pottery, porcelain wares do not require glazing to make them impermeable. So glazes are applied merely for decorative purposes, or to prevent staining. As it happened, several different types of glaze - including the iron-rich glaze used on the celadon pottery of Longquan - were conceived specifically for their decorative effects on porcelain.
How is Chinese Porcelain decorated?
Porcelain is typically decorated under the glaze with colour pigments like cobalt and copper, or painted above the glaze with coloured enamels. Today, Chinese porcelain may be biscuit-fired at about 1,000 degrees Celsius, painted with glaze and then returned to the kiln for a second firing at about 1,300 degrees Celsius.
When was Chinese Porcelain first made?
Due to confusion over what exactly constitutes porcelain, archeologists and art historians disagree about when the first Chinese variety was produced. Some contend that the first true porcelain was made in the province of Zhejiang during the period of late Han Dynasty art (100-200 CE). For example, fragments unearthed at Eastern Han kiln sites revealed firing temperatures ranging from 1260 to 1300 degrees Celsius, entirely consistent with porcelain manufacture. This means that Chinese ceramicists invented porcelain about 1,700 years before their counterparts in Europe! Meanwhile, other experts say it first appeared as one of the arts of the Six Dynasties(220-618 CE), or during the era of Tang Dynasty art (618-906).