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CHINESE POTTERY AND

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 748 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHINESE POTTERY AND PORCELAIN1 In China, as in every other country where pottery-making has been practised for centuries, we find a natural progression from primitive pottery akin in shape, decoration and manufacture to the pottery of other primitive races the world over. We find too the early use of bricks, tiles, &c., as in Egypt and Assyria; and then the usual succession of domestic utensils, funeral vases, and vessels for religious ceremonials. There is nothing to show that the potter's wheel made its appearance in China earlier than elsewhere, and the Chinese potters have used the simple methods of carving and " pressing " from moulds which preceded the use of the potter's wheel, even more than other nations. In books of the Chow dynasty (1122-249 B.C.) the difference between the processes of " throwing " and of " pressing " from moulds is clearly described,2 and it is instructive to note that many early as well as late forms of Chinese pottery are remarkably like their works in bronze. In the same way there is no definite date to which we can refer the introduction of glazed pottery. The earliest specimens of glazed ware known are referred by the Chinese to the times of the Han dynasty 1 See examples in colour, Plates VII. and VIII. 2 S. W. Bushell, Chinese Art (Victoria and Albert Museum Hand-books, ii. 5-6).(206 B.C.—A.D. 220), a date much later than that of the earliest glazed wares of Egypt and Assyria. Remembering the inter-course between China and the West, at times historically remote, it is not impossible that the idea of coating a vessel of clay with a glaze was carried into China from Chaldaea or Assyria. In any case the Chinese developed the potter's art on their own lines, for we have ample evidence that from very early times they fired their pottery to a much higher temperature than was common in the west of Asia, and so discovered types of glaze and of pottery that remained for centuries a mystery elsewhere. The glazed wares of the Han dynasty already mentioned are quite unlike any contemporary pottery produced in Syria, Egypt or Europe, for the body of the ware is so hard that it can scarcely be scratched by a knife, and the dark-greenish glaze has become iridescent by age as though it contained oxide of lead. The easily-fired friable wares of Assyria, Egypt and Greece seem to have had no attraction for the Chinese, and the glazes on their hard-fired wares were naturally different from those already described. The Chinese appear to have been the first potters in the world to discover that at a sufficiently high temperature pottery can be glazed with powdered felspathic rock mixed with lime. At first these glazes were used on any ordinary refractory clay which might burn red, drab or buff; but in this technique lay the germ of Chinese porcelain, the most advanced form of pottery the world has yet seen. It is necessary to consider the pottery that preceded porcelain, for not only was it the matrix out of which porcelain grew, but in certain districts of China, where the necessary materials for porcelain are not found, similar wares have been manufactured without inter-mission to the present time. Naturally, in progress of time, the technique of this pottery has been greatly improved, both by developments in the preparation and mixture of the clays, the shaping and modelling of the wares, the introduction of coloured enamels or glazes, and the like. Dr Bushell, who is our great authority on the Chinese arts and handicrafts, rightly seizes on two outstanding types of Chinese pottery other than porcelain which have exercised considerable influence on the doings of European potters. 1. Yi-Hsing-Yao.2—This is the pottery, generally of unglazed fawn, red or brown stoneware, made at Yi-hsing-hsien in the province of Kiang-su. Articles of every kind are made in these fine-coloured clays, but the general forms are dainty and skilfully finished pieces, such as small teapots, cups, saucers, dishes, trays, water-bottles and wine cups. This ware was largely manufactured under the Ming dynasty (A.n. 1368–1643) and later.' It was imported into Europe by the Portuguese, who applied to it the name boccaro, formerly given only to a scented terra-cotta brought from Mexico and Peru., This pottery and Chinese porcelain were wide asunder as the poles in nature as well as origin, but the potters of northern Europe regarded every kind of pottery coming from the Far East as a species of porcelain, and the manufacture of red teapots, mugs, bowls, cups, &c., in imitation of the Yi-Hsing-Yao was widespread during the late 17th and early 18th centuries under the name of red porcelain. Dwight, Elers and Bottger are notable names in this connexion. 2. Kuang-Yao.—The name given by the Chinese to the pottery made in the province of Kwang-tung. There are several centres of manufacture in this extensive province, but for the purposes of this article it is sufficient to state that the best-known of these wares are dense, hard-fired and glazed stonewares, which are always dark-coloured grey, red, brown or blackish. They are usually glazed with thick, variegated or opalescent glazes, grey, blue, green, yellow or red, but flecked, veined and streaked with other tints. The wares are so like the productions of the Sung dynasty (A.D. 960–1279) that modern pieces are often confounded with the more precious productions of that epoch. One of the first lessons to be learnt by the student of Chinese pottery is that, with great reverence for their own antiquities, the Chinese of every period have endeavoured to reproduce the famous wares of their ancestors, and often with such skill as to deceive the most expert. Even when the manufacture of porcelain was at its highest in King-to-chen, the potters in other parts of China carried on the production of glazed or unglazed pottery in coloured clays, and, further, the directors of the imperial factory from time to time strove to reproduce the most archaic wares that could be found in the Empire. 3 Far is the Chinese term equivalent of the English " pottery " or " ware." 4 See Brinkley, Japan and China, ix. 353-365. 5 Solon, The Noble Buccaros (Stoke-upon-Trent, 1896). Porcelain.—By this word we distinguish broadly all those pieces of pottery in which the body of the ware is vitrified and translucent, and also, broadly speaking, in which the material is white throughout, unless minute quantities of metallic oxides have been definitely added to colour it. It is impossible to draw any hard and fast line between porcelain and stoneware, for both may be thoroughly vitrified and translucent in thin pieces—but generally the stonewares are drab, red or brown in the colour of the fired clay, and they seldom exhibit the precious quality of translucence. If the body of a piece of pottery is not even vitrified, however hard it may be, it is terra-cotta or earthen-ware. The Chinese, accustomed from a very early period to fire their pottery to a high temperature, produced vitrified stonewares before any other nation. Moreover, they glazed these stonewares with fusible mineral substances, and from that stage the natural refinements of methods must necessarily have produced porcelain. In regions where beds of primary clay were found, the body of the ware would burn whiter than elsewhere, and a mixture of limestone or marble with the felspathic rock would give a glaze of greater purity and brilliance and one that was more readily fusible and would spread better over the whole piece. How many centuries were needed before a ware white enough and translucent enough to be now classed as porcelain was produced we cannot know; but the process was certainly one of gradual evolution. Some Chinese writers in their zeal for ancient things have ascribed to remote periods the production of wares of this class. Where authentic specimens are not to be found it is necessary to proceed with caution, and literary evidence alone cannot be deemed sufficient to settle such a difficult point. The balance of opinion at the present time is that something worthy of the name of porcelain was made during the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907), but we have no pieces earlier than the Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1259), and the majority of these are perhaps more fitly described as stoneware than as porcelain. Under the Sung dynasty China enjoyed great material prosperity, and all the arts were cultivated assiduously. Pottery of distinguished merit was made in many districts, and much of it has been classified as porcelain because the body is whitish and vitrified, though it is much inferior in finish and in translucence to the perfect white porcelain of later times. It is necessary to realize, too, that we have no record of any pottery with painted decoration until perhaps the very end of the 13th century; such ornament as was used consists entirely of designs incised or modelled in the clay. But the principal decoration is to be found in the varied coloured glazes with which the wares, whether stoneware or porcelain, were covered. The glaze is never clear and white as at later times; it is generally uneven, imperfectly fused and presents all the marks of an imperfect technique. The nearest approach to white is found in an opalescent grey which shades off to greenish and bluish tints. The glazes of this period which are most highly valued arethe celaden, a family of cool bluish or yellowish greens of indescribable depth and softness. Besides the celadon which are the most uniform in tints of the Sung glazes, we get many shades of palish lavender, brownish yellow and brownish black, but these are all subtly or boldly mottled, splashed, clouded or veined with strange tones of red, blue, purple, opalescent grey and black. The most famous of these now very rare Sung wares were the stonewares of Chun-chow, remarkable for their rich and varied glazes, the black variegated glazed wares of Fu-kien province, " hare's fur cups " and " partridge cups " of collectors, and the four principal wares that may be called porcelain, viz.—the Ju-Yao, made at Ju-chow in Honan; the Kuan-Yao (Kuan=" official " or " imperial "), made first at Pien-chow and afterwards at Hang-chow; the Ko-Yao, made at Liu-t'ien; and the Ting-Yao, made at Tung-chow in Chih-li. This was the period when Chinese porcelain became known beyond its native country, for the first mention of porcelain outside China appears in the writings of a Mahommedan traveller, Sulaiman, who visited China in the 9th century and wrote: " They have in China a very fine clay with which they makevases which are as transparent as glass; water is seen through them ";1 and its first appearance in the west is always given as A.D. 1171 (or 1188), when Saladin sent a present of forty pieces to the sultan of Damascus. From this time onwards an export trade was developed, particularly in the celadon wares of Lung-chuan, a city in the south-west of the province of Chehkiang. This famous ware, the " green porcelain " of the Chinese, probably made as an imitation of jade, exists mostly in the form of thick heavy dishes, bowls and jars, bearing incised or fluted patterns, and coated with a remarkable thick green glaze of indescribable softness of tone. Though the body of the ware is white when it is broken through, any parts not covered by the glaze have a reddish-brown colour due to the unrefined paste, and when the ware was reproduced in later times this reddish-brown tint had to be imitated artificially. The ware was highly prized both in China and Japan, in the islands of the East Indies, and in all Mahommedan countries. In Persia it was largely used, and specimens of it have been recovered during the last century from the east coast of Africa and as far west as Morocco. " Archbishop Warham's cup " at New College, Oxford, which is the first specimen of Chinese porcelain to reach England that we can now produce, is a celadon bowl with a silver-gilt mount of the time of Henry VIII? The Sung dynasty was overthrown by the Tatars under Kublai Khan (grandson of Jenghiz Khan), and the power remained in Tatar hands until 1368, when the great native dynasty of the Mings was established. During this period (Yuan dynasty), roughly a century, one can say little of ceramic progress, for the wares of the period are singularly like those of Sung times. But two important changes took place which had a marked influence on the subsequent development of Chinese porcelain—(1) the concentration of the industry at King-te-chen, which was con-summated in the early years of the Ming dynasty; (2) the introduction of painted decoration under a white transparent glaze, the idea of which (and perhaps the necessary cobalt mineral) was brought from Persia. King-to-ch@n was already a pottery centre when its factories were rebuilt in 1369 by Hung-Wu, the founder of the Ming dynasty, who made it the imperial factory, so that the best porcelain workers were attracted thither, and in the other old centres the industry was abandoned or some earlier manufacture was continued, as in the southern province of Kiang-su. In the province of Fu-kien a distinct kind of porcelain manufacture has also continued. We have already mentioned the black glazed cups, " hare's fur," &c., made in this province in Sung times, and, while King-te-chen was to be the scene of the developments of the coloured and painted porcelains, Te-hwa in Fu-kien perfected the manufacture of the famous and beautiful white porcelain in bowls, dishes, cups and statuettes, best known under its French title of blanc de Chine. The earliest painted Chinese porcelains, which are referred to the beginning of the Ming period, though some of them may be older, speak strongly of ideas imported from the west of Asia. The pieces are massive both in form and substance, and the ornament, consisting of figures mounted or on foot, animals, bands of diaper or foliage, or pendant necklaces, is strongly silhouetted by a raised outline recalling the decorative methods of the Assyrian brickwork. The technical methods also recall the methods of western Asia, for the ware was fired before it was glazed, and then yellow, turquoise, green or purple glazes, similar in nature to the glazes of Egypt, Syria and Persia, and quite unlike the Chinese Sung glazes, were filled into the outlined spaces and melted at a lower temperature. The Grandidier 1 M. Reinand, Relation des voyages faits par les Arabes et les Persans dons l'Inde et a la Chine dans le IX' siecle (Paris, 1845). 2 The suggestion has been made that the celadon wares found in Western countries were made by Moslem potters and not by the Chinese, but this theory is not generally accepted. On this point consult Karabacek, " Zur muslimischen Keramik " in Osterreichische Monatsschrift fur den Orient, vol. x., 1884; A. B. Meyer, " Uber die Herkunft gewisser Seladon-Porzellane " under " Uber die Marta banis," ibid. vol. xi., 1885; Hirth, Ancient Porcelain (1888), and Bushell, Oriental Ceramic Art (1899). collection in the Louvre, the Franks collection at the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as all the great private collections of Chinese porcelain, contain samples of this primitive and archaic-looking ware. The great stream of porcelain decoration was, however, to take an entirely different direction. The Persian pottery with its brilliant painted decorations in blue, green and purple on a pure white ground, exercised its natural fascination over men as keen in colour-sense as the Chinese potters. With the concentration of the industry at King-te-chen, and the rapid improvement in technical skill and knowledge that followed, the production of a fine porcelain with a transparent white glaze was perfected. Of all the colours used by the Persian pot-painter the only one that would endure the fierce fire of the Chinese porcelain was the blue obtained by using the ores of cobalt, and with this colour, and a wonderful blood-red obtained from copper, the foundation of Chinese painted porcelain was laid. It would be idle to try and fix any specific date for this important development, which took more than a generation to perfect, but it is reasonably accurate to say that the blue and white painted porcelains were unknown in the 13th,century and were fully developed at the beginning of the 15th century. Chinese collectors prize most highly the blue and white of the reign of Suen-te (A.D. 1426—1435), of Cheng-hwa (1465—1487), and next of Yung-lo (1403—1424). It is interesting to note that the colour used during these reigns is spoken of as " Mahommedan" blue, so that it was evidently brought from some country to the west. This r 5th-century blue and white porcelain is admittedly the finest of its class, and though the Chinese never abandon an old method and have continued to make blue and white porcelain, often of very good quality, the later wares, fine as they may be, rarely equal these. The under-glaze red, an invention of the Chinese, has already been mentioned, and this most difficult of all ceramic colours was largely used during the same period. At first it appears as a general ground colour for the outside of bowls and cups, then vessels were made in special forms (persimmon fruit, &c.) to display its qualities, finally it was used either alone or in con-junction with blue in painted designs under a white glaze of exceptional quality. A Chinese connoisseur of the 15th century describes one of his pieces as being decorated with " three red fishes on a white ground, pure as driven snow; the fish boldly outlined and red as fresh blood, all with colour so brilliant as to dazzle the eye." Other characteristic wares which made their appearance in Ming times are the marvellous " eggshell " porcelains, called by the Chinese " bodyless " from their extreme thinness. As early as the reign of Yung-lo (1403—1424) these delicate wares were in high repute, and their manufacture has been continued ever since with varying skill and success. In spite of their extreme thinness the specimens have designs of dragons in the midst of clouds and waves, inscriptions, &c., engraved in the paste before firing. In the fine white specimens the design is so delicate that it is barely visible until the vessel is filled with liquid or held to the light. Others were covered with a coloured glaze which serves to accentuate the design, and the most prized of these are the yellow pieces made during the reign of Hung-Chi (1488—1505) and Cheng-te (1506—1521). Another wonderful variety of Chinese porcelains which made its appearance at this period is the well-known perforated ware, commonly spoken of, from the shape of the perforations, as " grain of rice " porcelain, though the Chinese have exhibited consummate skill in the manufacture of perforated pieces of all kinds. Sometimes the perforations are left clear, but in the rice-grain pattern the incisions are generally filled up with the melted glaze so that they become like so many windows in the walls of the piece. We have already seen that the Persian potters used a similar method of decoration in the 16th century, but we are unable to say at present whether the device originated in China orin Persia. Its usein both countries is only an additional proof of the intercourse between eastern and western Asia. It is only toward the end of the 16th century that we findthe first examples of porcelain decorated with colours fired over the glaze. It seems probable that the practice grew out of the use of enamels on metal, which had spread from Byzantium to China, and which the Chinese developed with remarkable skill. It is important to remember that the very nature of the glaze of Chinese porcelain, necessitating such a high temperature to melt it, severely restricted the under-glaze palette to cobalt-blue and the glorious but uncertain copper-red. To obtain the rich polychromatic schemes of the potters of the West some other means must be found, and so the device was adopted of taking a finished piece of blue and white and decorating it further by very fusible colours painted over the fired glaze and then attached to it by refiring at a lower temperature equal only to that used by the enameller on metals. At first the on-glaze or enamel colours were applied as thin washes, as in the Ming (San ts' ai) three-colour decoration of green, purple, and yellow. Then we get the Ming (Wan-li Wu Is' ai) five-colour scheme, in which the same three colours are combined with an over-glaze red and all are painted over a skeleton pattern in under-glaze blue. This development, as its name implies, only took place in the reign. of Wan-li (1573—1620). At this time King-te-chen must have produced a very large quantity of porcelain. The requirements of the court were enormous, for in 1583 one of the supervising censors, remonstrating with the emperor, declared that one year's demands comprised over 96,000 pieces; and Dr Bushell writes: " The colossal production of the reign of Wan-li is shown by the abundance of porcelain of this time to be found in Pekin at the present day, where a garden of any pretensions must have a large collection of bowls or cisterns for goldfish, and street-hawkers may be seen with sweetmeats upheld by dishes a yard in diameter, or ladling syrup out of large bowls, and there is hardly a butcher's shop without a cracked Wan-li jar standing on the counter to hold scraps of meat." Such profuse orders may be accountable for the fact that the wares of this reign are inferior both in material and workmanship to the wares of the preceding and also of later periods, but the influence of the growing export trade doubtless told in the same direction. For several centuries the native Chinese porcelain had been exported to all the neighbouring countries, and through Persia and Cairo to the West. No long time elapsed before the Chinese adopted forms, colours and decorations for these export wares, not in accordance with Chinese usage, but presumably more suited to the tastes of the foreigner. Hence the Persian and Syrian style of the painted blue decoration of the 15th and 16th century wares found in other Asiatic countries. Now, for the first time, there came a direct European demand, and cargoes of ware were brought to Europe by the Portuguese and afterwards by the Dutch, which were increasingly decorated in fashions foreign to Chinese taste. The production of these export wares slowly modified the taste of the Chinese themselves and paved the way for the new styles of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The political troubles which marked the downfall of the Ming dynasty definitely separated the first great period of Chinese porcelain from its second and culminating period. The works at King-te-chen were destroyed more than once in the 17th century, but in spite of these difficulties the potters must have remained, for the reigns of K'ang-hi (1662—1722), Yung-cheng (1722—1735), and K'ien-lung (1736—1795) covered a century and a half, within which the high-water mark of artistic production was reached and passed. It is only possible here to sketch in broadest outline the course of this Renaissance, which has formed the subject of many learned works. It is characteristic of the Chinese mind that during this period, when a spirit of eager experiment was abroad, the productions of their ancient kilns should receive no less attention than the new methods of decoration in on-glaze colours, while at the same time many of the discoveries of the later Ming days were carried on to perfection. The first remarkable productions of the reign of K'ang-hi, the famous green and blood-red Lang-yao glazes, were made in the attempt to produce glazes like those of old times. With the more carefully prepared body and glaze the results are strikingly different and, as we think, superior, for it is difficult to believe that any example of the " sacrificial red of the reign of Suen-te can have been as glorious as the red Lang-Yao, the crown of all that group of glazes known from their general colour as sang de bceuf (see example, Plate VII.). In the same way the traditional blue and white of the Ming period was continued with the greatest skill, and, if the blue pigment be not so pure as that of the 15th century, the decorative effect of the blue and white of the reign of K'ang-hi (see example, Plate VIII.) has never been equalled in Europe. The subjects of the blue and white pieces of this period are very varied, including religious, ceremonial, battle and hunting subjects, homely scenes such as ladies and children amusing themselves in gardens, or animals, birds, dragons and other fabulous monsters disporting themselves in clouds or waves. The so-called " hawthorn ginger jars " form a class by themselves in the opinion of modern collectors (see the plum-blossom jar, Plate VIII.), a specimen being sold at the Louis Huth sale (1906) for £5900. The fertility of the painters was remarkable, and a collection of the blue and white of this reign offers a fine feast of ceramic colour from the harmonious relation between the tones of the white and the blue, especially when it is seen en masse, as in the famous Dresden collection? The practice of painting the ground of a piece in blue so that the pattern was reserved in white (even artfully heightened by the use of slip) dates from Ming times, but the grounds of powder-blue appear to have originated at this time. The cobalt-pigment was not applied by a brush, but was blown on through a tube, one end of which was covered with fine muslin, in a rain of minute drops. This ground was either carried over the whole piece so as to give the effect of a vibrating blue glaze—in which case it was generally covered with conventional designs pencilled in ground-up gold-leaf over the glaze—or panels were reserved in white on which floral designs were afterwards painted in on-glaze colours. In the same way the decoration in underglaze red was revived or re-introduced, and probably the finest pieces of this ware, as of so many others in our great European collections, date only from the beginning of the 18th century. Eggshell wares and pierced or reticulated pieces were made to great perfection, and the coloured glazes in light green, turquoise, purple and black (see Plate VII.) reached their height. The early glazes of this type appeared in Sung times (see above) ,but on the finely prepared K'ang-hi wares much more striking and brilliant colour effects were obtained. As in old times, for the production of some of these' glazes a departure was made from the general Chinese methods. The vessels were first fired to the " biscuit " state, and then soft alkaline glazes coloured with copper or manganese were fired over them at a much lower temperature so as to give the " peacock-blue," " kingfisher-green " and " aubergine-purple " glazes. Many varieties of single-coloured glazes were made by covering a white glazed piece with on-glaze colour, and in this way new shades of coloured glaze, such as the coral-reds (Plate VII.),wereobtained. The various brown or bronze-coloured grounds, so well known in the so-called " Batavian " porcelain, were obtained by coating the piece with a slip of some ochreous clay under the usual white glaze. Even these methods do not exhaust the fertile resources of the potters of this period, for they carried on concurrently the style of decoration in overglaze colours, first in the schemes characterized by the predominance of a vivid green enamel (famille verte; see Plate VIII.), and finally, in the 18th century, in the schemes in which rose, pink and purple colours predominate (famille rose; see Plate VIII.). It is probable that these latter colours, which owe their tint to gold, were introduced into China from Europe, but the Chinese employed them whole-heartedly, until in fact they largely ousted all the earlier types of colour decoration. During the reign of Yung-Cheng (1723–1735) the diverse i It is of interest to note that the " Delft " of Holland, also a product of the 17th and early 18th centuries, makes the nearest approach in quality to the blue and white porcelain of the Chinese.styles seem to have been finally struggling for mastery. Yung-Cheng was an ardent collector of ancient Chinese porcelains, and he sent to King-te-then specimens of the most ancient wares, whether of pottery or porcelain, to be reproduced, while at the same time he and his court patronized the wares in foreign styles and colours (Japanese and European.) The struggle continued practically to the end of the 18th century, but in spite of certain brilliant inventions, such as the " iron-rust " and " tea-dust " glazes of the reign of K'ien-lung in harmony with old Chinese effects, what we must regard as the inferior decorative style triumphed, and we see the gradual disappearance of the ancient methods in favour of (1) wares of a beautiful white body decorated only with on-glaze colours, principally those of the famille rose, and (2) a very large production of inferior wares, made in European shapes and decorated with on-glaze painting and gilding to suit the European taste of the 18th century. _ This " armorial " china, so much of which was once foolishly ascribed to Lowestoft, has little to commend it. The material is seldom of the best quality, and the Chinese rendering of European arms and crests, or stiff copies of European engravings surrounded by quasi-oriental borders of diaper, &c., does nothing to recommend it. A great deal of this ware. though manufactured at King-te-chen, was decorated at Canton, and the school of pottery decorators founded there by reason of this export trade also produced a certain number of pieces in pure Chinese taste, especially some of the ruby-backed plates and dishes and the small cups and saucers decorated with deftly-painted designs of cocks, peonies, &c. It must be pointed out that the great change implied in the replacement of patterns painted in blue under the glaze by those painted in colours over the glaze profoundly influenced the style of painting. In the earlier wares the treatment is bold and vigorous as becomes true pottery colour, and the softening of the colour by the melting glaze adds to the artistic charm of the result. Painting on a fired glaze is like painting on glass—fine lines, delicate drawing, and skilful stippling or cross-hatching are just as natural in this method as they are impossible or uncertain in the other. Naturalism of rendering takes the place of conventional decorative treatment, and elaborate minuteness of finish supplants the broad freedom of direct brushwork. During the 18th century the same leaven was at work on the porcelains of China and of Europe, the East influenced the West, and the West in its turn bore down the East. If Chinese porcelain remained superior to its European counterfeits, it was because the Chinaman was still the better potter and had a longer tradition of decorative art behind him. There is little to be said of Chinese porcelain during the 19th century. The European demand was practically killed by the growth of porcelain works at home, and the imperial patronage, so great a factor in the production of artistic wares, was fitful and uncertain. Tao-Kwang (1821–1850) gave some attention to porcelain, and the pieces' made for him and marked " Shente-yang " are valued by collectors. The so-called Peking bowls of his reign (made of course at King-te-chen) are also of repute. But the political difficulties of China left little leisure for the cultivation of the arts; the successive wars with France and England served only to scatter the splendid wares of the past (see the Musee Chinoise at Fontainebleau), and during the reign of the next emperor Hien-feng (1851–1861) the T'aipings over-ran the province of Kiang-si and destroyed King-te-chen and its factories. Since then the town has been rebuilt and is once again producing Chinese porcelain. Tempted doubtless by the high prices now paid in Europe and America for examples of the Chinese porcelains of the 18th century, modern copies of the single-coloured, sang de bceuf, flambe and other glazes are being made, while the highly prized hawthorn " jars and black-ground vases are receiving the same undesirable attention. Materials and Manufacture of Chinese Porcelain.—For many centuries after its first appearance Chinese porcelain differed from every other known species of pottery both in its material and its manufacture. While the pottery of all other countries was generally made of coloured clays mixed only with sand or broken " shards " and fired at a comparatively low temperature, Chinese porcelain was compounded from the purest white clays, sand and fusible rock; it was glazed with fusible rock, and it was so hard fired that the entire mass became vitrified and translucent. The germ of the manufacture lay in the discovery of large masses of primary clay (kaolin) mixed with finely-ground felspathic rock (petuntse), both of which were carefully washed, levigated and purified. The body of Chinese porcelain varied from time to time within wide limits, but, broadly speaking, it always consists of purified kaolin, petuntse and quartz (sand), mixed in various proportions, sometimes with additional ingredients, according to the quality of ware desired. For the glaze the purest and cleanest portions of the felspathic rock (petuntse), were selected and mixed with lime—all being ground to fine powder. The lime causes the glaze to melt at a lower temperature than would be necessary for petuntse alone. The lime also gives the Chinese glazes their luscious softness of aspect and the faint greenish or bluish tone, while it enabled them to receive the later decorations in piled-up enamels, impossible on the harder European porcelain glazes of the 18th century. The finely-prepared glaze was applied to the clay vessels, before they had been fired, either by dipping, by painting, or by insufflation; and then glaze and body were fired together at a very high temperature. For certain glazes—turquoise, purple, &c.—which were not of the felspathic type, the vessels were first fired to the " biscuit " state, and the glazes were then applied and fired at a much lower temperature—the usual practice of the potters of other countries. When painted wares in blue and red were first introduced, the necessary pigments were painted on the pieces before firing, the glaze was applied over them, and then all was finished at one and the same firing. With the later enamel colours the piece was first fired as above described, and the fusible colours were then painted on the glaze, which was of course like glass. A second firing at a lower temperature fused these on-glaze colours to the ware. For information on Chinese materials and methods the reader is referred to the letters of Pere d'Entrecolles in the collection of Jesuit letters known asLettresedifaantesetcurieuses. The English reader will find reliable translations of the essential parts in Bushell's Oriental Ceramic Art, Dillon's Porcelain, and Burton's History of Porcelain. Later information will be found in Brongniart's Traite des arts ceramiques; especially in the 3rd edition, 18?7; and in an article by G. Vogt, Bulletin de la Societe d'encouragement pour l'industrie nationale, April 1900, pp. 530-612. Collections.—The Franks collection in the British Museum; the Victoria and Albert Museum, where the famous collection of Mr George Salting has for years been displayed, together with the collections belonging to the museum. Paris, the Grandidier collection at the Louvre; the collection at the Musee Guimet; the Sevres Museum. Fontainebleau, the Musee Chinoise. Dresden, the Porcelain Collection—the oldest in Europe. Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts. New York, the Metropolitan Museum containing the Garland and other collections. Washington, the Hippisley collection; as well as magnificent private collections, at the head of which is that of the late W. T. Walters of Baltimore.
End of Article: CHINESE POTTERY AND
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