A Brief History Of Chinese Ceramics

chinese-ceramicsA Brief History Of Chinese Ceramics

The Neolithic Age

In China, earthenware 7000-10000 years old from the Neolithic age has been discovered in Henan, Hebei, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Guangdong Provinces as well as in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. For example, earthenware shards estimated to be 9700-10500 years old have been excavated at Nanzhuangtou, Xushui, Hebei Province. Shards estimated to be 7600-10000 years old have been found at Xianrendong. Wannian, Jiangxi Province, and shards of approximately 7600-9000 years old have been discovered at Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Restorable pieces from 6000 B.C.-5200 B.C. have been unearthed from sites in Cishan, Wuan, Hebei Province and Peiligang, Xilizheng, Henan Province.

After this, individual styles of earthenware developed in roughly three areas: the region along the middle and upper Yellow River, the region along the lower part of the Yellow River, and the region in Jiannan, which lies in the south of Changjiang. Remains of kilns used for firing pottery have been discovered in these regions.

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Emperor’s treasured miniature up for auction at Bonhams

Among the highlights of Bonhams March 20 Chinese Painting & Calligraphy auction is an 18th century miniature painting, formerly in the collection of Hongli the Qianlong emperor (1711-1799) (est. $10,000-15,000). Depicting a mountainous landscape, this charming ink on paper scroll by Zhang Ruocheng (1722-1770) boasts imperial seals, as well as a colophon written by the emperor. At just under two inches wide and slightly over six inches long, the minute size suggests the piece was created for placement in an imperial “treasure box,” a type of luxurious coffer favored by the Qianlong emperor, containing numerous small compartments for antiques, jades, porcelains and paintings that the imperial family could enjoy at leisure. This marvelous painting resides in its own delicate, fitted, silk-lined box made of zitan, a rare and valuable wood that was controlled by government restrictions during the Qing dynasty for exclusive use in court commissions.


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Doucai Palatte First Used In The Xuande Reign!

Many books on Chinese porcelain state that the Doucai palatte was first introduced in the reign of the emperor Chenghua. I myself understood this to be correct until I spoke with Mike Vermeer who informed me the Doucai palette was actually used in the earlier regin of the emperor Xuande. Michael Vermeer is a highly respected authority in the field of Chinese imperial porcelains especially monochrome porcelains and a consultant to three major U.S. museums. Visit Mike Vermeers Website

An Rare Doucai Stem Cup Mark and period of Chenghua
An Rare Doucai Stem Cup Mark and period of Chenghua

The definition of the early Ming enamel colours was further improved in the Xuande and Chenghua periods by  an entirely novel approach – the use of coloured enamels   to fill in high-fired, underglaze-blue designs. In this technique fully glazed and fired underglaze blue-and-white wares had the outlines of their blue drawing carefully filled: in with coloured enamels, with occasional touches of solid blue being left to give an extra colour in the finished decoration. The wares were then retired to enamel temperatures. This style is known as the doucai technique –doucai being variously (and rather confusingly) translated as ‘clashing’ or ‘dovetailing’ colours. It is a true polychromc effect, combining red, yellow, green, brown and aubergine overglaze enamels with underglaze blue. Some secondary colours are also seen in doucai wares, such a sage-green, achieved by painting the transparent yellow enamel over the underglaze-blue.

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Huge quantity of ancient coins found in China

chinese-tang-dynasty-coinsArchaeologists have excavated about 3,500kg of ancient coins in China’s Inner Mongolia Region, Xinhua reported on Sunday. Most of these coins were in prevalence during the Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD).

According to Lian Jilin, a researcher with the regional Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, the coins were found in three millennia-old coin pits in the ancient town of Huoluochaideng after police cracked three theft cases.

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The Association of Accredited Auctioneers To Hold Auction In China

triple-aThe Association of Accredited Auctioneers (Triple-A), founded in 2012 by 19 UK auctioneers to attract Chinese buyers, are to hold an auction of Western fine art and antiques in China.

An estimated 900 UK-consigned lots will be on view in Beijing and Shanghai prior to the auction in Xiamen Freeport on April 19.

“The sale will be a unique and ground-breaking event,” said Triple-A chairman Chris Ewbank of Ewbanks in Send, Surrey. “Apart from a charity sale in the Forbidden City in 1988 and the auction of a single sculpture in September last year, participation by Western auctioneers in mainland Chinese auctions has been impossible.

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