Invention and Evolution of Porcelain in China

Invention and Evolution of Porcelain in China

Although the precise origins of porcelain have been lost in the mists of time, most modern researchers believe that it was invented in China. Not surprisingly, then, many Chinese today boast that their ancestors were drinking tea from porcelain cups when their European counterparts were still wearing animal skins and living in caves, and it turns out that this pride is accurate and justifiable. To determine the facts, this paper reviews the relevant literature to provide a discussion concerning the technical and artistic history of porcelain drawing on four examples that span four different time periods in Chinese history. Finally, a summary of the research and important findings about the invention and evolution of porcelain in China are provided in the conclusion.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Invention and Evolution of Porcelain in China
Just from $9/Page
Order Essay

Review and Discussion

Porcelain differs in fundamental ways from ordinary pottery known as earthenware that is formed from clay and then baked in a kiln at temperatures ranging between 500 degrees C and 1150 degrees C (Porcelain, 1988). By contrast, porcelain is manufactured by coating a piece of pottery with a glaze which is then fired at even higher temperatures than pottery (around 1,280 degrees C) (Porcelain, 1988). Ancient Chinese artisans were blessed with the precise ingredients and conditions they needed for manufacturing porcelain, including most especially the ready availability of white kaolin or Chinese clay. For instance, the editors of the UNESCO Courier report that, “The reason why China was able to ‘invent’ porcelain at a very carly age compared to the rest of the world was that the Chinese potters both found the clay and were able to produce the high temperature necessary to fuse it” (Porcelain, 1988, p. 23). Consequently, it is not necessarily surprising that the combination of artistic enterprise with the availability of natural resources would result in an improved type of pottery. What is surprising, however, is just how exquisite many of these works are given their largely utilitarian function.

As noted in the introduction, although it remains unclear when porcelain was first manufactured in China, the archaeological record indicates that Chinese artisans were making porcelain as early as the first century CE, and the manufacture of porcelain in China was well established by the third century CE (Porcelain, 1988). During the Tang Dynasty which lasted from 618 through 906 CE, Chinese artisans introduced further refinements in their porcelain manufacturing methods that created a significant demand in the domestic market for these products (Chinese art, 2016).

By the time of the Song Dynasty between 960 and 1279 CE, the manufacture of porcelain in China had achieved a notably high level of proficiency and organization (Porcelain, 1988). For instance, the editors of the UNESCO Courier add that, “Porcelain manufacture by this time was a highly organized trade employing hundreds of thousands of people. There were teams of men who specialized in washing the clay, others who concerned themselves only with glazes, others who maintained the kilns, and so on” (1988, p. 24). Indeed, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of one kiln from the Song Dynasty that was capable of firing 25,000 individuals piece of porcelain at a time (Porcelain, 1988). It is noteworthy that even during this early period in the history of porcelain, Chinese artisans had already gained a significant amount of experience and expertise in working in the medium, and continually sought to identify opportunities to further refine and improve their techniques (Porcelain, 1988). The porcelain that was manufactured during the Sung Dynasty from 960 to 1279 CE was prized by Chinese collectors and few pieces were exported to the European market until the late 19th century (Fitzgerald & Seligman, 1938).

During the Ming Dynasty which spanned the years from 1369 to 1644 CE, porcelain manufacture in China became even more exquisite, and the noteworthy blue and white porcelain wares became prominent (Porcelain, 1988) (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1. Blue-and-white Porcelain Jar from the Ming Dynasty (currently located in the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, U.S.)

Source: http://www.hnmuseum.com/hnmuseum/UserFiles/Image/collection/2009 / 20090401_22.jpg

The manufacture of blue-and-white porcelain during the Ming Dynasty involved further innovations in glazing techniques, including the use of cobalt blue pigment that could only be achieved by reducing the heat of the kiln and firing the pieces at specified temperatures (Porcelain, 1988). Like the silk industry, Chinese artisans closely guarded their secrets to manufacturing porcelain and even the famous Marco Polo was only able to observe rather than learn anything of significance concerning their methods and even when kaolin clay was smuggled out of the country, European potters were unable to reproduce their methods (Porcelain, 1988).

The epitome of porcelain manufacture in China took place during the Qing Dynasty, a period in which other artistic pursuits were in a state of decline (Fitzgerald & Seligman, 1938). According to Fitzgerald and Seligman (1938), “For this reason porcelain was for long the only Chinese achievement about which anything was known in the western world, where it had become so identified with its land of origin that ‘China’ came to mean both the country and the ware” (p. 79). Unfortunately, this achievement by Chinese artisans was underappreciated by European collectors because the porcelain pieces that managed to wend their way into the export market were of lesser quality than those produced in the imperial kilns (Fitzgerald & Selgiman, 1938). According to Gardner, “The Ming court’s appetite for luxury goods gave new impetus to brilliant technical achievements in the decorative arts. The Ming emperors turned to the Jingdezhen kilns for fine porcelains” (p. 79).

As commerce between the West and China increased, there were more opportunities for European collectors to gain access to the finer pieces of porcelain that were being manufactured in China and large collections of porcelain masterpieces were displayed in the major cities of North America and Europe (Fitzgerald & Selgiman, 1938). According to Fitzgerald and Seligman (1938), “The rich choice of examples to be seen in the west has formed a large and appreciative public who remain almost unaware of the character of the older arts of China; porcelain alone has become an integral part of the western cultural inheritance, and thus relatively early has been made the subject of a vast and detailed study” (p. 80).

Not content to rest of their well-deserved laurels, Chinese artisans continued to improve their porcelain manufacturing techniques and by the time of the Qing Dynasty from 1644 through 1912 CE, Gardner reports that, “Potters at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen continued to expand on the Yuan and Ming achievements in developing fine porcelain pieces with underglaze and overglaze decoration, and this art form gained wide admiration in Europe” (p. 83). According to Bartlett (2011), porcelain manufacturing during this period in Chinese history had a significant influence on the local and international market for Chinese porcelain that was unrivaled by any trade in raw materials and represented the primary export by which China was known in the West until well into the 20th century.

Conclusion

The research showed that porcelain differs from earthenware by virtue of the ingredients that are used and the temperatures that are used for firing them. Although the exact origins of the invention of porcelain are unknown, what is known for certain is that by the third century CE, Chinese artisans were producing porcelain wares for both decorative as well as utilitarian purposes and that the manufacturing process continued to be refined and improved until the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. While the individual responsible for the innovation of porcelain is also unknown, it is reasonable to conclude that it involved a series of trials-and-errors until the desired outcome was achieved. The research also showed that Chinese artisans jealously guarded their secrets of porcelain manufacturing which involved more than just kaolin clay, but rather extended to the entire manufacturing process.

References

Bartlett, S. (2011, Annual). Robert Finlay, the pilgrim art: Cultures of porcelain in world history. Southeast Review of Asian Studies, 33, 229-232.

Chinese art. (2016). Development of Visual Arts in China. Retrieved from http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/east-asian-art/chinese.htm#tangpottery.

Porcelain. (1988, October). UNESCO Courier, 22-24.

Fitzgerald, C. P. & Seligman, C. G. (1938). China: A short cultural history. New York: D. Appleton-Century.


Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently
 

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects

Literature

Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.

Finance

Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!

Psychology

While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.

Engineering

Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.

Nursing

In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.

Sociology

Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.

Business

We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!

Statistics

We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.

Law

Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper