Modern map showing the extent of
the historical Saintonge province
Location of Saintonge in France
Saintonge (French pronunciation: [sɛ̃tɔ̃ʒ] ), historically spelled Xaintonge and Xainctonge, is a former province of France located on the west central Atlantic coast. The capital city was Saintes (Xaintes, Xainctes). Other principal towns include Saint-Jean-d'Angély, Jonzac, Frontenay-Rohan-Rohan, Royan, Marennes, Pons, and Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire.
The borders of the province shifted slightly through history. Some mapmakers, such as Nicolas Sanson (1650), Johannes Blaeu (1662), and Bernard Antoine Jaillot (1733), show the province extending into Cognac, traditionally part of Angoumois, and to the parishes of Braud-et-Saint-Louis and Étauliers, part of the Pays Gabay on the right bank of the Gironde River.
In 1790, during the French Revolution, Saintonge became part of Charente-Inférieure, one of the 83 departments organized by the new government. This was renamed as Charente-Maritime in 1941, during World War II.
Today, four-fifths of the historical Saintonge province is within the modern département of Charente-Maritime. Most of the other fifth is in Charente. A small section extends north into Deux-Sèvres; all three departments are within the administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
The region is known for its Romanesque churches.
The province derives its name from the Santones , an ancient Gallic tribe that once inhabited the area. They were one of the numerous Celtic peoples in Europe before the rise of the Roman Empire.
During antiquity, Saintonge was part of the Roman province of Gallia Aquitania, and Saintes became its first capital. The region fell under the control of the kings and dukes of Aquitaine, the counts of Anjou, then the counts of Poitiers, before becoming integrated for centuries in the new Duchy of Aquitaine. Occupying the frontier between Capetian and Plantagenet-controlled areas during the late Middle Ages, between 1152 and 1451, it was the site of constant struggles between lords torn between their allegiance to Anglo-Aquitaine and those linked to Paris.
Saintonge was primarily attached to Anglo-Aquitaine until the mid-fourteenth century. However, errors by Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Edward, the Black Prince gradually contributed to weakening English power. In 1451 the province came under the control of the King of France, Charles VII, "the Victorious".
Saintonge was the birthplace of French explorer Jean Allefonsce (or Alfonse) in 1484, and of Samuel de Champlain in 1574. The latter man explored the New World and founded Quebec in North America (now Canada).The town was also one of the centers of French Huguenots, who formed a center of Protestant belief in Southwest France.
The distinctive Saintongeais dialect (patouê saintonjhouê, jhabrail) was once spoken throughout Saintonge, as well as in the provinces of Aunis and Angoumois.
The region is famous for its grapes, which are used to produce cognac and Pineau des Charentes.
This area is famous for its medieval pottery, which was widely exported. Shards have been found in large quantities in medieval excavations throughout Ireland and other European countries, demonstrating the range of trading. These shards are from vessels made and exported as a by-product of the Bordeaux wine trade (Deroeux and Dufournier, 1991). This ware has been found on Irish excavations from the later 12th century, but it is most commonly uncovered in 13th-century contexts.
The pottery consists of an off-white micaceous fabric with moderate amounts of quartz and sparse inclusions of haematite. They are glazed on the external surface only, with a clear lead glaze. In Saintonge Green wares, the addition of copper filings, or copper oxide to the clear lead glaze, produced a mottled mid-green colouring. Many forms of Saintonge wares were produced, including Saintonge Polychrome, Saintonge Green, and, in some cases, unglazed wares. Slipped Saintonge is more consistent in colour and appearance than unslipped, having the benefit of an undercoating to regulate the process.
The most common forms of vessel produced in this ware were wine jugs. These were characteristically tall, with slightly ovoid bodies, flat bases, parrot-beak spouts and strap handles.
Saintonge was exported well through the 17th century. French colonists in Quebec and Acadians in Eastern Canada imported many Saintonge ceramics, including bowls, plates, mugs and other types. Many Saintonge ceramic fragments have been found in context with 17th-century French colonists. They are often used as evidence of French occupation of these areas prior to British dominance.
Charente is a department in western France, in the northern half of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It is named after the Charente River, the most important river in the department, and also the river beside which the department's two largest towns, Angoulême and Cognac, are sited. The Charente River is the longest in the Charente.
Guyenne or Guienne was an old French province which corresponded roughly to the Roman province of Aquitania Secunda and the archdiocese of Bordeaux.
Poitou-Charentes is a former administrative region on the south-west coast of France. It is part of the new region Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It comprises four departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Vienne. Historical provinces are Angoumois, Aunis, Saintonge and Poitou.
Faience or faïence is the conventional English language name for fine tin-glazed pottery.
Pottery and porcelain, is one of the oldest Japanese crafts and art forms, dating back to the Neolithic period. Kilns have produced earthenware, pottery, stoneware, glazed pottery, glazed stoneware, porcelain, and blue-and-white ware. Japan has an exceptionally long and successful history of ceramic production. Earthenwares were created as early as the Jōmon period, giving Japan one of the oldest ceramic traditions in the world. Japan is further distinguished by the unusual esteem that ceramics holds within its artistic tradition, owing to the enduring popularity of the tea ceremony.
Celadon is a term for pottery denoting both wares glazed in the jade green celadon color, also known as greenware, and a type of transparent glaze, often with small cracks, that was first used on greenware, but later used on other porcelains. Celadon originated in China, though the term is purely European, and notable kilns such as the Longquan kiln in Zhejiang province are renowned for their celadon glazes. Celadon production later spread to other parts of East Asia, such as Japan and Korea as well as Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand. Eventually, European potteries produced some pieces, but it was never a major element there. Finer pieces are in porcelain, but both the color and the glaze can be produced in stoneware and earthenware. Most of the earlier Longquan celadon is on the border of stoneware and porcelain, meeting the Chinese but not the European definitions of porcelain.
Angoumois, historically the County of Angoulême, was a county and province of France, originally inferior to the parent duchy of Aquitaine, similar to the Périgord to its east but lower and generally less forested, equally with occasional vineyards throughout. Its capital was Angoulême with its citadel and castle above the River Charente.
"Blue and white pottery" covers a wide range of white pottery and porcelain decorated under the glaze with a blue pigment, generally cobalt oxide. The decoration is commonly applied by hand, originally by brush painting, but nowadays by stencilling or by transfer-printing, though other methods of application have also been used. The cobalt pigment is one of the very few that can withstand the highest firing temperatures that are required, in particular for porcelain, which partly accounts for its long-lasting popularity. Historically, many other colours required overglaze decoration and then a second firing at a lower temperature to fix that.
Maiolica is tin-glazed pottery decorated in colours on a white background. Italian maiolica dating from the Renaissance period is the most renowned. When depicting historical and mythical scenes, these works were known as istoriato wares. By the late 15th century, multiple locations, mainly in northern and central Italy, were producing sophisticated pieces for a luxury market in Italy and beyond. In France maiolica developed as faience, in the Netherlands and England as delftware, and in Spain as talavera. In English the spelling was anglicised to majolica but the pronunciation usually preserved the vowel with an i as in kite.
Aunis is a historical province of France, situated in the north-west of the department of Charente-Maritime. Its historic capital is La Rochelle, which took over from Castrum Allionis (Châtelaillon) the historic capital which gives its name to the province.
Chinese ceramics show a continuous development since pre-dynastic times and are one of the most significant forms of Chinese art and ceramics globally. The first pottery was made during the Palaeolithic era. Chinese ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court and for export. Porcelain was a Chinese invention and is so identified with China that it is still called "china" in everyday English usage.
Jun ware is a type of Chinese pottery, one of the Five Great Kilns of Song dynasty ceramics. Despite its fame, much about Jun ware remains unclear, and the subject of arguments among experts. Several different types of pottery are covered by the term, produced over several centuries and in several places, during the Northern Song dynasty (960–1126), Jin dynasty (1115–1234) and Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), and lasting into the early Ming dynasty.
Tin-glazed pottery is earthenware covered in lead glaze with added tin oxide which is white, shiny and opaque ; usually this provides a background for brightly painted decoration. It has been important in Islamic and European pottery, but very little used in East Asia. The pottery body is usually made of red or buff-colored earthenware and the white glaze imitated Chinese porcelain. The decoration on tin-glazed pottery is usually applied to the unfired glaze surface by brush with metallic oxides, commonly cobalt oxide, copper oxide, iron oxide, manganese dioxide and antimony oxide. The makers of Italian tin-glazed pottery from the late Renaissance blended oxides to produce detailed and realistic polychrome paintings.
Archiac is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France.
Baignes-Sainte-Radegonde is a commune in the Charente department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France.
Authon-Ébéon is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France.
Chinese influences on Islamic pottery cover a period starting from at least the 8th century CE to the 19th century. This influence of Chinese ceramics has to be viewed in the broader context of the considerable importance of Chinese culture on Islamic arts in general.
Yue ware or Yüeh ware is a type of Chinese ceramics, a felspathic siliceous stoneware, which is characteristically decorated with celadon glazing. Yue ware is also sometimes called (Yuezhou) green porcelain in modern literature, but the term is misleading as it is not really porcelain and its shades are not really green. It has been "one of the most successful and influential of all south Chinese ceramics types".
Lead-glazed earthenware is one of the traditional types of earthenware with a ceramic glaze, which coats the ceramic biscuit body and renders it impervious to liquids, as terracotta itself is not. Plain lead glaze is shiny and transparent after firing. Coloured lead glazes are shiny and either translucent or opaque after firing. Three other traditional techniques are tin-glazed, which coats the ware with an opaque white glaze suited for overglaze brush-painted colored enamel designs; salt glaze pottery, also often stoneware; and the feldspathic glazes of Asian porcelain. Modern materials technology has invented new vitreous glazes that do not fall into these traditional categories.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine is the largest administrative region in France, spanning the west and southwest of the mainland. The region was created by the territorial reform of French regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. It covers 84,036 km2 (32,446 sq mi) – or 1⁄8 of the country – and has 5,956,978 inhabitants. The new region was established on 1 January 2016, following the regional elections in December 2015.