Chinese Antique Glossary – C

Celadon

This term is applied to high-fired ceramics with greenish-blue-grey glazes, which owe their color to the reduction of iron oxide in the glaze during firing. Celadon wares were made in China from the Shang dynasty, but those from the period 10th-14th century are particularly admired. The name is not used in Asia, but is of Western origin. It may derive from the color of a costume worn by the shepherd, Celadon, in Honoré D’Urfé’s 17th century pastoral romance L’Astrée. It may alternatively derive from a corruption of the name Saladin, the name of the Sultan who, in AD 1171, sent a gift of such ceramics to the Sultan of Damascus. In China such wares are known as qingci, high-fired green wares.


Chilong

Literal translation: ‘hornless dragon’. A slender, hornless dragon, which is often depicted with a feline-like head and paws, and a bifurcated tail.

Cloisonné

This decorative technique involves the application of enamels to metal. Bent wire or metal is soldered to a metal surface to create a network of cells or cloisons, which is then filled with powdered enamel. Heating causes the enamels to melt into the cells. After heating the exposed surface of the cloison wires is frequently gilded.

Coromandel

Coromandel screens were made using a technique that employs lacquer and a putty-like substance in order to achieve decoration with raised outlines. Although the screens were made in China, the name is derived from the Coromandel coast of India from where they were shipped to Europe. Decorative panels were also made using the same technique as the screens.