Porcelain (china) was invented in China in 6-8 centuries. Translated from Chinese the word means “Imperial”. The secret of Chinese porcelain is the secret of the raw components it’s produced of. The province of Jiangxi (the city of Jingdezhen) has turned out to be a treasure trove of “china stone” (petuntse) – a rock consisting of silica, isinglass stone and white china clay (kaolin). Even now China is considered the largest producer of porcelain, so not without reason the English word “china” is synonymous to porcelain. Kaolin only is not enough for producing porcelain – it requires skill, knowledge and centuries of experience (including spiritual), Chinese culture, religion and Chinese soul.

The story of Chinese porcelain is a long and continuous process of hard and consistent work on perfecting the quality of the crock and the glaze, on searching for the new forms and artistic approaches. True Chinese porcelain is characterized by water resistance, resonant sound, and whiteness. It is sometimes called “the white gold”. For a long time, along with production of silk, porcelain remained for the Western countries one of the most desired and forbidden treasures of the East.

During Tang Dynasty (618-907) porcelain was the object of luxury and intended only for the highest classes of society.

In the days of Song Dynasty (960-1279) production of Chinese porcelain reached its highest level of skill and perfection. In the later period of the Ming Dynasty (1369-1644) a new technique of picture application was mastered.

In the days of Qing Dynasty which ruled up until 1911 the thinness of porcelain produced was comparable to egg shell.

At all periods Chinese porcelain remained a unique and priceless gift for the richest noblemen of China as well as Europe. The same kind of value is assigned to porcelain today. Contemporary high-quality porcelain items are produced based on the best specimens of ancient Chinese porcelain and testify to continuation of the best traditions of the past as well as significant new achievements. Any modern master reverently follows ancient laws of beauty and quality, bringing into the production process only a bit of his own vision of the world and a fragment of his own soul.

Elite Chinese porcelain is still produced and painted manually. The technology and the secrets of production and painting are passed on from generation to generation. Every traditional center in China is located near the place of origin of certain materials, and according to that, specific (very often unique) production recipes for porcelain mixture with unique characteristics are developed. This is the reason for china’s high cost. The city of Jingdezhen (JiangxiProvince), LongquanCounty (ZhejiangProvince), DehuaCounty (FujianProvince), Yingge (Taiwan) – remain the centers of porcelain production preserving the traditions of great Chinese masters. Porcelain objects coming from these areas are popular all over the world.

 

The City of Jingdezhen (Jiangxi Province)

The city of Jingdezhen on the south of China is rightly considered the capital of Chinese porcelain. The city sprung up near the very kaolin clay mines on MountGaoling. Since long ago, porcelain items from Jingdezhen have been praised for their high quality. It is said that they used to be dazzling like snow, thin as a sheet of paper and durable as metal. Masters of artistic painting on porcelain have attained extraordinary skill.

Today Jingdezhen is a development center for the art of ceramics, a worthy heir to the greatest masters of old. World-renowned classical porcelain objects from China are very costly and remain coveted by people from all around the world thanks to their high manufacturing quality.

 

Longquan County (Zhejiang Province)

One of the most renowned traditional kinds of Chinese porcelain is green porcelain from LongquanCounty (ZhejiangProvince). The history of its origin is connected with the desire of potters of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to find the kind of glaze the color of which would be reminiscent of jade, the green treasure and the sacred rock of China, which, according to a legend, is of divine origin. This kind of porcelain is manufactured using a special technology. Before firing a prepared white-clay or vermillion model gets coated with green glaze. The color of the glaze depends on the amount and quality of oxidized iron, and that is exactly the component which determines the color of the glaze. The most attractive kind is lettuce green or light green or china with a design of little cracks (the crackle design). Since it first appeared, green porcelain has been sold not only in China, but all over the world. In Europe Longquan porcelain was given the name “celadon” for the glaze’s green resembling the pale green of the bows on Celadon’s clothing (Celadon, the character of Honoré d'Urfé’s VII-century French pastoral romance L’Astrée (Astrea).

At the moment the range of objects manufactured in Longquan has been extended to include the most delicate of Chinese porcelain and glazed wares.

 

Dehua County (Fujian Province)

 

Production of porcelain first began in DehuaCounty during Song Dynasty (960-1279). One of the most valuable kinds of white Dehua porcelain is so called jade porcelain. In spite of its density, the walls of items manufactured of jade porcelain let the light through very well. The glaze on Dehua porcelain is perfectly white while other kinds of porcelain may feature slight yellowish or greenish hues. For its specific color white Dehua porcelain is also called white goose down.

During Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) another kind of porcelain from DehuaCounty gained popularity: porcelain with blue underglaze. These objects were distinguished for their high artistic meaning: stories of history and scenes of domestic lives, people and animals, flowers, fruit, and even paintings of religious nature had been painted on their white glossy walls.

The millennial history of Dehua porcelain has earned glory for this entire district. Dehua porcelain has gained multiple gold medals on Chinese and international exhibitions. Porcelain items of the district are important export wares of China. They are sold in over 80 countries of the world.

 

Yingge, Taiwan

Development of Taiwanese ceramics took place during the government of Ming (1388-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. A small township of Yingge on Taiwan is often called a «Taiwanese Jingdezhen». According to the legend, settlers from a Fujian city of Quanzhou were the first to begin producing ceramics in this area.

The most valuable are hand-painted porcelain utensils. One of the best kinds of such porcelain is china with 3-D underglaze designs. The designs appear to be filled with a lively, bright energy, just as on the amazing ink-painted guohua canvases. Since the design is three-dimensional, we see the picture put in perspective, in all three dimensions versus plane geometry, and are able to enjoy it without it tiring the eye.

Original tea sets, harmoniously combining new forms and traditional artistic shapes (paintings of blossoming plum, orchid flowers, bamboo shoots, autumn chrysanthemum, fluffy peony, fragrant litchi and tea tree) are a wonderful example of the inimitable Taiwanese style.

Exclusive porcelain is capable of bringing into a home an atmosphere of coziness and antiquity, a certain air of prosperity, aristocratism, and family traditions. These are the things which can be passed on as family heirloom from generation to generation. Buying a porcelain item, we acquire the century-old history of Chinese tradition.

Modern days mark a new wave of interest for Chinese porcelain. The biggest auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christy hold entire auctions dedicated to Chinese art.

Due to its unique qualities porcelain is an ideal material for preparing, drinking and preserving tea. Thus, in contrast to any other material, besides not tempering with the taste of the drink, it makes active the tea’s medicinal qualities since it keeps heat longer and thus intensifies them.

For centuries porcelain tea utensils were considered the best tea drinking tableware. Soft-white surface, smooth or decorated with 3-D designs, gently sets off rich tinges of tea liquor and allows the drinker to delight in the graceful dance of the lightest of tea leaves. Drinking the Authentic Elite Chinese Tea from porcelain tea ware also carries the components of aesthetics and meditation. Elegant tea utensils allow one to unveil all merits of tea during the tea ceremony creating an unforgettable atmosphere of mystery and a perception of now belonging to those partaking of it. In the moment of serene tea drinking, when you are watching the emerald liquid playing inside the frozen whiteness, you feel as a recluse who had left the bustling world far behind.

  

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