THE INFLUENCE OF CHINA PORCELAIN WARES

Arts 11 pages (3100 words)

18042 views Report Copyright


 

Chinese ceramics remains one of the most significant pieces of art in most homes. The popularity of the product is evident with the name ‘china’ referring to every ceramic around, without consideration of the country of origin. The ancient Chinese ceramic art was in the forms of pots, plates, tiles, and some cases tombs. Chinese ceramics have been famous because of the porcelain materials and the production process[1]. The use of porcelain as the raw material of ceramics dates back to 2000 to 1200 years, long before the technology reached East Asian and the Islamic World[2].  China had famous kilns responsible for producing the top quality wares. Chinese ceramics underwent some developments before the fine artistic wares that are common features in most homes. The demand for Chinese ceramics wares led to export businesses by the dynasties of the time. Besides, the quality of Chinese wares had great influence in other parts of the world. Some of the parts of the world influenced by Chinese ceramics include the Islamic world, Europe and some other parts of the world. Ancient China was instrumental in most inventions, but ceramic wares remain the most dominant influence in the Islamic world, Europe and in other cultures.

Note: This is a sample paper from a fellow students.

Let one of our subjects matter expert write a custom one from scratch for you.

The first section of the paper will discuss the history of Chinese ceramic development. The second part of the paper will talk about Chine ceramic influence in the Islamic world. The third phase will explore the influence of Chinese ceramic in Europe and other cultures. The last part of the paper will be the conclusion.

History of Chinese Ceramics

Before the Discovery of Porcelain

Chinese early wares were the Neolithic ware, as the one unearthed at Xianrendong site dating 10,000 years ago. The simple artwork was not close to the technical ceramic wares evident in subsequent dynasties. In spite of the simplicity of the art ware, the painted jar of Majiayao, Late Neolithic period (3300–2200 BC) proved a perfection of the art of pottery by Chinese ancient people. The Majiayao port had crucial features such as paintings, slim wall, fine paste textures, in addition, was without any defects[3].

The periods of Porcelain Discovery

One of the most significant discoveries concerning Chinese ceramics is the discovery of porcelain. The Chinese potter discovers the technology of heating a mixture of Kaolin, Porcelain stone, Feldspar, and Quartz[4]. The mixture was heated at a temperature of 2,552 ° F altered the chemical composition into a strong glass. The discovery of Kaolin and Petuntse in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi was the biggest step in the production of Chinese ceramics. The two elements played a crucial role in the final product of ceramic. Kaolin was responsible for softness and Petuntse quick dryness. The high-quality raw material attracted the attention of imperial courts. The below periods provide the transition of Chinese ceramics from the time of the discovery of porcelain to exports to India, the Islamic World and later Europe.

Sui and Tang dynasties, 581–907 AD

This was the time when the production of low-fired and high-fired ceramic was rife was a common feature. The sancai formula made its debut on Chinese ceramics. The green-glazed formula was poisonous, with this feature meaning its use by-products far from human contact. The use of this ceramics was in tombs. The period, however, had some improvements in the level of lead poison. Ceramics in the previous Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) had high poisonous lead contents in relation to the time of Sui and Tang dynasties, 581–907 AD[5].  The period of Sui and Tang dynasties was also the time when the ceramics found its way in the Islamic world.

Liao, Song, Western Xia and Jin dynasties, 907–1276

The time of Liao, Song, Western Xia, and Jin dynasties entailed an improved production period. The period saw the emergence of “Five Great Kilns.” Chinese ceramics in this period got improvements, especially on the glaze and shapes. The use of the blue cobalt decoration was still missing, with the green celadons being popular.  Besides, most of the ceramic produced were white. Nonetheless, the ceramic was of high quality in comparison to the time of Sui and Tang dynasties.

Yuan dynasty, 1271–1368

The Yuan dynasty remains a popular ceramic time because of the improvement in the art, production level and the acceptance of Chinese ceramics. This period saw Chinese ceramics featuring artistic patterns, which was alien to the Chinese population. Chinese people were used to simple artworks on the ceramics. The colors of the patterns were bright in color, with blue being dominant. China began to export more ceramics, as the demand was rising. The production process of ceramics was efficient as it was during the industrialization period. The blue underglaze was an important feature during the dynasty.

Ming Dynasty 1368–1644

Ming Dynasty period was the time when Chinese ceramics began to be a global product. Chinese ceramics began to influence other parts of the world such as Europe. The popularity of ceramics was because of the use of different skills and features of the product. The white and blue colors were the main features of the product. The improvement of the production site meant that the products would be of high quality. During the period, the main concentration was how to make the ceramic a global product and to improve the production process. Ming Dynasty enabled Chinese ceramics to practice market economy, meaning it was penetrating different global regions. The improvement of kiln technology leads to the development of different features of ceramics. The chemical mixture adhered to the set standards. Still, there was a criticism of Chinese ceramics from deviating from its traditions. In spite of the criticism, the Ming Dynasty period was a truly defining moment for Chinese ceramics.

Jingdezhen porcelain today

This period saw Chinese ceramics attempting to recollect its tradition from the Han Dynasty period[6]. The product attempted to recollect the famous ceramic that was unique and made China a famous ceramic country.  Nevertheless, the efforts are not possible because the materials during the Yuan Dynasty are not present. Moreover, the color in the ceramics is not as original as it was during the Yuan Dynasty. The difference in the previous and the Jingdezhen is the markings below the products.

The development of Chinese ceramic was not only important to its people but the entire world. Different regions of the world were producing ceramics but they were not fine and of high quality as it were with the case of Chinese ceramics. It was for this reason that Chinese ceramic was a source of inspiration for the Islamic world, Europe and other cultures.

Influence of Chinese Porcelain wares in the Islamic World

Chinese ceramics had a great influence on Islamic Ceramics. The influence includes the improvement of the value of ceramics, the establishment of kilns similar to Jingdezhen, Jiangxi and the patterns on ceramics.

Improvement in Value of Ceramics

The ancient Islamic world was a lover of finer things in life. One of the finer things produced in the country was ceramics. The ancient Islamic world had a tradition of transforming clay into arts. Even though the practice is as old as the earthware practice in China, the Islamic world did not present more emphasis on the matter. The Islamic world placed more emphasis on products made of iron and copper alloys. In this case, the products made from the raw materials include tools weapons and utensils. On the other hand, silver and gold were important in producing jewelry, coins, and other luxury items. The emphasis on gold and silver was because of the appreciation and the appeal attached to the products.

The arrival of Chinese ceramics was a revelation to the Islam world. The porcelain made of Kaolin and other important raw materials was simply superior to the clay heated at higher temperatures. The arrival of the Tang Dynasty wares in Iraq prompted the Basran potters to start looking for the content of the Chinese porcelain. Since the Chinese guarded their secret, it was difficult for the Islam world to have an idea about the secret of the porcelain. Their experiment led to the discovery that tin-oxide, when subjected to high temperatures produced an opaque white glaze. It was a perfect imitation, but it would not match the Chinese art ware.

Without the arrival of the Chinese porcelain arts, the Islam world would probably still heating clay to make art wares. The Islamic world not only copied the production of porcelain, but it perfected on the patterns.

The Production Process

China was famous for its Kilns in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi. The famous kilns had high technology, which was instrumental in the production of the art ware. The kiln in China was powerful because it was producing a huge volume of porcelain. Besides, the elements heated to produce porcelain require high temperature, meaning they need to be in good condition to produce the best products.

The Baghdad kiln was supposed to match the capacity of Chinese kiln. The Islamic world kiln tried to assume how the kilns in China were to develop their kilns. The efforts were futile since the elements of ceramics were different. Exposing the contents to a higher temperature similar to China kiln would not bring out the same outcome. The discovery of Chinese porcelain demanded a change in the existing Islamic ceramic kilns. There was a need to change from the clay kiln to the production site that would accommodate the high temperatures of heating the tin-oxide. The tin-oxide required the heat of up to 900 degrees to produce the opaque product. The Islamic kilns had to change because of the discovery of new elements that would produce a look-alike product to Chinese porcelain. Without the Tang Dynasty porcelain, the Islamic world would maintain the traditional kiln, suitable for heating clay into the desirable art ware.

Under-glaze Technology

Chinese influence on Islamic ceramic was not only on the content of the porcelain but also on design. The Chinese ceramic was famous because of the blue and white color. The Chinese translucent ceramic inspired the Basran potters to come up with more ‘technology’ in a bid to become superior. The potters were aware their porcelain imitation was expensive and fragile in comparison with the Chinese porcelain. For this reason, the only way they could make Islamic ceramic famous was to come up with an innovation.

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get Your Custom Essay

The blue pigment, cobalt oxide was to provide unique decorations for Basran ceramic. The potters discovered that the cobalt oxide would withstand high temperatures without any damage. Their idea was to make Islamic ceramic popular through additional decorations as opposed to the plain white Chinese ceramics. The application of the decoration was by hands. The heating of the porcelain produced a superb blue under-glaze, which later became part of Chinese ceramic revolution. The Islamic ceramic had to produce a unique feature to match the Chinese prowess.

The Islamic under-glaze decorations had Islamic designs, to add more feature to the plain bowls. The choice of the Islamic motifs was primarily to help in the identification of technology between the Chinese and other users of the ceramic world. The move was part of the branding of Islamic ceramic.  The subsequent periods saw the introduction of more color pigments such as green and purple. The new colors were from copper and manganese respectively.

The technology of cobalt blue under-glaze would not be possible if Chinese ceramics did not reach the Islamic world. The arrival of the porcelain from China inspired the Islamic world to come up with additional innovation. Chinese ceramics had to adopt Islamic innovation, with most iconic Chinese ceramics featuring the under glaze technology. The difference between the ceramics from China and the Islamic world was the figural presentations. The Islamic figural patterns had more of religious connections. Chinese ceramic patters were mostly with floral and vegetal designs. The Cobalt blue technology came after the discovery of the Chinese ceramics.

Chinese Ceramic Influence on European Art

Chinese porcelain art had a lasting influence on European arts. The primary reason for this development is the emphasis placed by both cultures on visual arts. In ancient China, visual arts remained for the elite, with the best porcelain arts transferred to the imperial courts. On the other hand, in the Early European culture, the ceramic art occupied the top position followed by sculptures and paintings. Chinese influence in Europe was majorly on ceramics rather than paintings. Chinese porcelain arts influenced production, trade and European decorations.

Production

The first European encounter with Chinese fine porcelain received the same comments like those of the Islamic world. The Europeans admired the quality of the product and they began the process of producing the same ceramics. The biggest problem was knowledge about the components of the ceramics. According to Italian explorer and merchant Marco Polo, he thought that the porcelain was made of the cowrie shells (porcelain). The first European products had a mixture of clay, soapstone, lime and ground glass. The mixture was fired at a much lower temperature. The product was fragile hence the term “handle with care.” Europeans did not succeed in the production of the hard Chinese ceramics, which were uniquely white. The difficulty in the production of the desired porcelain was major because of the ingredients used and the production method. Chinese were adding Kaolin and Petuntse, a combination that led to soft and quick dryness of the ceramics. The high temperature for heating the mixture made the final product to be stronger and harder. The discovery of Kaolin was by Germans alchemists Johann Friedrich Bottger and Walther Von Tschirnhaus. The Germans were mixing Kaolin with quartz, with the mixture producing similar Chinese porcelain. The first German production was in 1710. The German discovery remained a secret, with the rest of Europe still experimenting on the product. It took Europe more than two centuries to discover Kaolin as the most significant component of porcelain. The arrival of Chinese ceramics in Europe prompted the latter to begin looking for ways to produce similar products. Europe wanted to produce the same product since it considered it above its technology.

Trade

Europe trade with Ancient China was on many products. One of the products that stood out on the trade between the two regions was ceramics. Porcelain became the largest Chinese export to Europe. The proof of the porcelain trade between the two continents was the contents of Geldermalsen were recovered from the ancient ship in 1985. The largest fleet line of the eighteen century, The Dutch East India Company was the main transporters of porcelain from China to Europe.

The production of Chinese porcelain was majorly for the European market. Europe continent was the biggest exporter during that time because of its technology and civilization. Nonetheless, Chinese porcelain had a huge impact on the continent, with this forcing trade to flourish between the two regions. China could now export porcelain to Europe. This made the dynasty an exporter rather than an importer only. A million pieces of porcelain exported was a vital foreign exchange earner. Porcelain imports were important to Europe, as they reminded the continent that the rest of the world had some unique technology. Europe was not aware of Kaolin, which was the hardening component, before the porcelain from China.

Europe had to improve its trading practices by also importing, to learn about outside technology. The difficulty in learning about the Kaolin component increased Europe urged to trade with other continents. Without the trade, Europe was set to lag from other crucial technologies like the production of porcelain. Chinese kiln technology was the most sophisticated at that time. Trade was the only way Europe would import some of the finer global products.

European Decoration

The other main reason for the importation of Chinese porcelain was its superiority over traditional stoneware. Europe loved Chinese porcelain because of its unique decoration. Europe began producing a similar product with the same decorations. For instance, the low-fired ceramics produced in Europe was not only imitating the texture of the porcelain, but it was also copying the decoration. Chinese-style decoration of porcelain is still the tradition followed by the contemporary porcelain producers.

Chinese ceramics decoration was unique, with this forcing it to be part of studies. Most of the 12th-century libraries in Europe stocked books concerning the ceramics and its decorations. The study of the figural meaning on the ceramics was an inspiration to Europe. The primary aim of the studies was to help in the development of similar ceramics with decorations. That is, Europeans attempted to learn about components of the ceramics, and the application of decoration to improve the stature of the product.

The influence on Chinese ceramic decoration is evident with the blue and the black ground in Delft. Besides, the other evidence of the influence of Chinese decoration was “in the kitchen of the Amalienburg at Nymphenburg castle, built by the Bavarian elector Karl Albrecht between 1734 and 1739”[7]. The blue and the white color tile were the sites at the kitchen. Additionally, the tiles were having Chinese porcelain figures. Europe marveled at Chinese ceramic decorations to a point of imitating it in its important areas.

Impact in the Rest of the World

Chinese porcelain had impacts on countries such as Japan and Britain, which aimed at producing similar products. The porcelain in these countries mimicked the decoration and the under-glaze, which was a common feature of Chinese porcelain arts.

Conclusion

Ancient China has been a major contributor to current technologies. The dynasty’s arts had an influential touch both domestically and internationally. The discovery of porcelain during the Tang Dynasty went on to produce a revolution in ceramics. The Islamic world, which was famous for ceramics production had to copy Chinese porcelain without much success. Later, Europe admired Chinese ceramics. Many attempts by the European nations led to the Germans discovering Kaolin as the major component of porcelain. Chinese ceramics were influential because of its texture and decorations, which became part of other nation’s benchmark. The cobalt blue under glaze and the smooth hard ceramics is still the main feature in most global homes and offices. The presence represents the influence of ancient Chinese art domestically and internationally.

Note: This is a sample paper from a fellow students.

Let one of our subjects matter expert write a custom one from scratch for you.

 

 

 

Bibliography

Boch, Philippe, and Jean-Claude Niepce, eds. Ceramic Materials: Processes, Properties, and Applications. Vol. 98. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Burrison, John A. Global Clay: Themes in World Ceramic Traditions. Indiana University Press, 2017.

Carter, C. Barry, and M. Grant Norton. Ceramic materials: science and engineering. Springer Science & Business Media, 2007.

Cui, Yifu, et al. "Early ceramic trade in Gansu and Qinghai regions, northwest China: A comparative elemental analysis on sherds of Majiayao culture, Yangshao culture and Qijia culture." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 3 (2015): 65-72.

Finlay, Robert. The pilgrim art: cultures of porcelain in world history. Vol. 11. Univ of California Press, 2010.

Ledderose, Lothar. "Chinese influence on European art, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries." China and Europe-Images and Influences in Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, edited by Lee Thomas (1991): 221-249.

Rice, Prudence M. Pottery analysis: a sourcebook. University of Chicago Press, 2015.

 

 

[1] Finlay, Robert. The pilgrim art: cultures of porcelain in world history. Vol. 11. Univ of California Press, 2010.

 

[2] Carter, C. Barry, and M. Grant Norton. Ceramic materials: science and engineering. Springer Science & Business Media, 2007.

 

[3] Cui, Yifu, et al. "Early ceramic trade in Gansu and Qinghai regions, northwest China: A comparative elemental analysis on sherds of Majiayao culture, Yangshao culture and Qijia culture." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 3 (2015): 65-72.

 

[4] Boch, Philippe, and Jean-Claude Niepce, eds. Ceramic Materials: Processes, Properties, and Applications. Vol. 98. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

 

[5] Burrison, John A. Global Clay: Themes in World Ceramic Traditions. Indiana University Press, 2017.

 

[6] Rice, Prudence M. Pottery analysis: a sourcebook. University of Chicago Press, 2015.

 

[7] Ledderose, Lothar. "Chinese influence on European art, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries." China and Europe-Images and Influences in Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, edited by Lee Thomas (1991): 221-249.

Try our 1 hour Delivery!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the urgency of your paper? If you are required to complete an academic paper within the shortest time possible, Essaysandtopics is exactly what you need. We always have professional academic writers who are online and ready to help with your academic papers even at midnight. Stop getting worried and contact us now. Remember that every minute before the deadline for your academic paper is priceless.

Order Now
Search essays Get a quote Chat with support Find an expert