Archaeological excavations at the Tiger Cave Kiln (Chinese :老虎洞窑; pinyin :Lǎohǔdòng Yáo) at Hangzhou in the Chinese province of Zhejiang have helped to identify one site of origin of the important ceramic wares of the Southern Song dynasty known as Guan ware, meaning "official" ware, which were made for the exclusive use of the imperial court.
The Tiger Cave Kiln and other associated ceramic ware sites have come under the control of Hangzhou Southern Song Guan Kiln Museum located in the west area of Turtle Hill of Yuhuang Mountain in Hangzhou, providing a detailed appreciation of the history and aesthetics of some of China's most celebrated ceramics; the museum also contains many ceramics of other origins.
In 1127, under pressure from invading Jurchens, the Northern Song court was driven south of the Yangtze River and in 1138 established a new capital at Hangzhou, in modern Zhejiang province (Chu Yen 1977) (Kerr 2004). The move to the south resulted in the abandonment or decline of kilns used to make ceramic wares for the northern court, above all Ru ware, but by 1149 two new kilns had been built at Hangzhou to make porcelain for the newly established Southern Song court (Kerr 2004); the first kiln under the control of the Xiuneisi (Department of Palace Supply) and the second near to the Jiaotanxia (Altar of Heaven) (Chu Yen 1977).
The location of the Jiaotanxia kiln was finally established by excavations carried out between 1984 and 1986; but the location of the Xiuneisi kiln remained unknown until excavations started in 1998 at the Tiger Cave kiln site provided confirmation that this was the hitherto unidentified Xiuneisi kiln (Kerr 2004).
From 1998 to 2001 the Hangzhou Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology [杭州市文物考古所] excavated the Laohudong (Tiger Cave) Kiln. The results have rewritten Chinese ceramic history and solved mysteries that have haunted the field for literally hundreds of years. Excavated shards fall within the historical range of the Southern Song (1127-1279) to the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). The Southern Song celadon sherds show clearly that the Tiger cave Kiln was the ceramic production site for Southern Song Guan (official) ware. Tiger Cave is a seven hundred meter area located between Phoenix Mountain and Nine Flowers Mountain. The site is not more than a hundred meters from the north wall area of the Southern Song Imperial City area. Likewise it is two and a half miles from another Song production area known as the Jiaotanxia Kiln [郊坛下窑].
The discovery of the Kiln site took place on September 20, 1996 after an extensive archeological search of the area. Southern Song shards display shapes that correspond to ritual vessels such as celadon vases and incense burners. Clearly the original objects were intended for palace use. The shards are primarily of a powder blue color. Next in number are those of a honey tint. The celadon shards display a rich thick glaze with prominent crackle and crazing. Clearly the kiln site is the long lost Official Ceramic Ware site referred to in historical texts as the Xiuneisi Official Ware Kiln [修内司窑]. The Mongol Period strata of the archaeological site perhaps solves another long standing ceramic history mystery i.e. that of Ge ware. After the fall of the Southern Song court and the unification of the Chinese nation under Mongol rule the Tiger Kiln maintained production. A portion of the ceramic production of this period continued to be celadon ware in the official (guan) ware style. This conforms to period historical references.
The Percival David Foundation has in its collection, now in the British Museum on loan, a number of pieces that some scholars believe were made at the Xiuneisi (Department of Palace Supply) kiln; a kiln which has now been identified as the Laohudong (Tiger Cave) kiln.
Longquan celadon (龍泉青瓷) is a type of green-glazed Chinese ceramic, known in the West as celadon or greenware, produced from about 950 to 1550. The kilns were mostly located in Lishui prefecture in southwestern Zhejiang Province in the south of China, and the north of Fujian Province. Overall a total of some 500 kilns have been discovered, making the Longquan celadon production area one of the largest historical ceramic producing areas in China. "Longquan-type" is increasingly preferred as a term, in recognition of this diversity, or simply "southern celadon", as there was also a large number of kilns in north China producing Yaozhou ware or other Northern Celadon wares. These are similar in many respects, but with significant differences to Longquan-type celadon, and their production rose and declined somewhat earlier.
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.
Korean ceramic history begins with the oldest earthenware dating to around 8000 BC. Influenced by Chinese ceramics, Korean pottery developed a distinct style of its own, with its own shapes, such as the moon jar or maebyeong version of the Chinese meiping vase, and later styles of painted decoration. Korean ceramic trends had an influence on Japanese pottery and porcelain. Examples of classic Korean wares are the celadons of the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the white porcelains of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897).
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.
Vietnamese ceramics refers to ceramic art and pottery as a form of Vietnamese art and industry. Vietnamese pottery and ceramics has a long history spanning back to thousands of years ago, including long before Chinese domination, as archeological evidence supports.
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.
The Shanglin Lake Yue Kilns are a cluster of archaeological sites where Yue ware was made, though they are by no means the only ones. They are located near Shanglin Lake, in Cixi City, Zhejiang, China. The kilns produced celadon around the Shanglin Lake area during the Tang, Han, and Song dynasties are referred to as such. A variety of different wares were manufactured during the kilns' history, including "jars, spittoons, wine pots, incense burners, cups, bowls, flasks, cases, writing-brush basins, dishes, handle-less cups, pots, wine cups, flat bowls, basins", and children's toys.
Jingdezhen porcelain is Chinese porcelain produced in or near Jingdezhen in southern China. Jingdezhen may have produced pottery as early as the sixth century CE, though it is named after the reign name of Emperor Zhenzong, in whose reign it became a major kiln site, around 1004. By the 14th century it had become the largest centre of production of Chinese porcelain, which it has remained, increasing its dominance in subsequent centuries. From the Ming period onwards, official kilns in Jingdezhen were controlled by the emperor, making imperial porcelain in large quantity for the court and the emperor to give as gifts.
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".
Seto ware is a type of Japanese pottery, stoneware, and ceramics produced in and around the city of Seto in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The Japanese term for it, setomono, is also used as a generic term for all pottery. Seto was the location of one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan.
Guan ware or Kuan ware is one of the Five Famous Kilns of Song Dynasty China, making high-status stonewares, whose surface decoration relied heavily on crackled glaze, randomly crazed by a network of crack lines in the glaze.
Jizhou ware or Chi-chou ware is Chinese pottery from Jiangxi province in southern China; the Jizhou kilns made a number of different types of wares over the five centuries of production. The best known wares are simple shapes in stoneware, with a strong emphasis on subtle effects in the dark glazes, comparable to Jian ware, but often combined with other decorative effects. In the Song dynasty they achieved a high prestige, especially among Buddhist monks and in relation to tea-drinking. The wares often use leaves or paper cutouts to create resist patterns in the glaze, by leaving parts of the body untouched.
The Five Great Kilns, also known as Five Famous Kilns, is a generic term for ceramic kilns or wares which produced Chinese ceramics during the Song dynasty (960–1279) that were later held in particularly high esteem. The group were only so called by much later writers, and of the five, only two seem to have produced wares directly ordered by the Imperial court, though all can be of very high quality. All were imitated later, often with considerable success.
Ru ware, Ju ware, or "Ru official ware" is a famous and extremely rare type of Chinese pottery from the Song dynasty, produced for the imperial court for a brief period around 1100. Fewer than 100 complete pieces survive, though there are later imitations which do not entirely match the originals. Most have a distinctive pale "duck-egg" blue glaze, "like the blue of the sky in a clearing amongst the clouds after rain" according to a medieval connoisseur, and are otherwise undecorated, though their colours vary and reach into a celadon green. The shapes include dishes, probably used as brush-washers, cups, wine bottles, small vases, and censers and incense-burners. They can be considered as a particular form of celadon wares.
Yaozhou ware is a type of celadon or greenware in Chinese pottery, which was at its height during the Northern Song dynasty. It is the largest and typically the best of the wares in the group of Northern Celadon wares. It is especially famous for the rich effects achieved by decoration in shallow carving under a green celadon glaze which sinks into the depressions of the carving giving contrasts of light and dark shades.
Ge ware or Ko ware is a type of celadon or greenware in Chinese pottery. It was one of the Five Great Kilns of the Song dynasty recognised by later Chinese writers, but has remained rather mysterious to modern scholars, with much debate as to which surviving pieces, if any, actually are Ge ware, whether they actually come from the Song, and where they were made. In recognition of this, many sources call all actual pieces Ge-type ware.
A dragon kiln or "climbing kiln", is a traditional Chinese form of kiln, used for Chinese ceramics, especially in southern China. It is long and thin, and relies on having a fairly steep slope, typically between 10° and 16°, up which the kiln runs. The kiln could achieve the very high temperatures, sometimes as high as 1400°C, necessary for high-fired wares including stoneware and porcelain, which long challenged European potters, and some examples were very large, up to 60 metres long, allowing up to 25,000 pieces to be fired at a time. By the early 12th century CE they might be over 135 metres long, allowing still larger quantities to be fired; more than 100,000 have been claimed.
The mantou kiln or horseshoe-shaped kiln was the most common type of pottery kiln in north China, in historical periods when the dragon kiln dominated south China; both seem to have emerged in the Warring States period of approximately 475 to 221 BC. It is named after the Chinese mantou bun or roll, whose shape it resembles; the ground plan resembles a horseshoe. The kilns are roughly round, with a low dome covering the central firing area, and are generally only 2 to 3 metres across inside. However it is capable of reaching very high temperatures, up to about 1370°C. There is a door or bricked-up opening at the front for loading and unloading, and one or two short chimneys at the rear.
Xing ware or Xingyao is a type of Chinese ceramics produced in Hebei province, most notably during the Tang dynasty. Xing ware typically has a white body covered with a clear glaze. It was named after Xingzhou in southern Hebei where it was made; kilns sites have been identified in Neiqiu County as well as in Lincheng although Lincheng was not part of Xingzhou during the Tang dynasty. Some Xing wares were fired at a high enough temperature to be considered porcelain by Western definition, therefore Xing ware may be considered the world's first true porcelain. Xing ware was produced from the Northern Qi to the Song dynasty, and its production reached it peak during the Tang dynasty. It was supplanted by Ding ware during the Song dynasty
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