Tongzhi porcelain is Chinese porcelain from the reign of the Qing dynasty Tongzhi Emperor (1862–1874), which saw the reconstruction of the Jingdezhen official kilns after the Taiping Rebellion of the 1850s completely devastated the cities of Nanjing and Jingdezhen.
The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The Qing multi-cultural empire lasted for almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China. It was the fifth largest empire in world history. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan in Manchuria. In the late sixteenth century, Nurhaci, originally a Ming Jianzhou Guard vassal, began organizing "Banners", military-social units that included Manchu, Han, and Mongol elements. Nurhaci formed the Manchu clans into a unified entity. By 1636, his son Hong Taiji began driving Ming forces out of the Liaodong Peninsula and declared a new dynasty, the Qing.
The Tongzhi Emperor, born Zaichun of the Aisin Gioro clan, was the ninth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the eighth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. His reign, from 1861 to 1875, which effectively lasted through his adolescence, was largely overshadowed by the rule of his mother, Empress Dowager Cixi. Although he had little influence over state affairs, the events of his reign gave rise to what historians call the "Tongzhi Restoration", an unsuccessful attempt to stabilise and modernise China.
The Taiping Rebellion, also known as the Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Revolution, was a massive rebellion or total civil war in China that was waged from 1850 to 1864 between the established Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom under Hong Xiuquan.
Already by 1853, Nanjing had fallen and was made the capital by the rebel forces. Eventually, Zeng Guofan led Qing imperial forces to defeat the rebels and restore Qing rule in Nanjing. The period was one of continued unrest. In 1856, the British attacked Guangzhou, Guangdong. They invaded the capital Beijing, looting and burning the Old Summer Palace. It was against this background of these events, and others, that the Tongzhi Emperor took to the throne and palace functions were partially restored. The official palace ceramic wares of this period are thought to reflect this general historical unrest and decline. The Jingdezhen area itself was liberated by Li Hongzhang in 1864.
Zeng Guofan, Marquis Yiyong, birth name Zeng Zicheng, courtesy name Bohan, was a Chinese statesman, military general, and Confucian scholar of the late Qing dynasty. He is best known for raising and organizing the Xiang Army to aid the Qing military in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion and restoring the stability of the Qing Empire. Along with other prominent figures such as Zuo Zongtang and Li Hongzhang of his time, Zeng set the scene for the Tongzhi Restoration, an attempt to arrest the decline of the Qing dynasty. Zeng was known for his strategic perception, administrative skill and noble personality on Confucianist practice, but also for the ruthlessness of his repression of rebellions. He exemplified loyalty in an era of chaos, but is also regarded as laying the foundation to the rise of modern warlordism in China. William T. Rowe describes him as the "de facto representative of Qing control in most of central and south China" during the 1850's and 60's.
Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China. On the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities.
Guangdong is a province in South China, on the South China Sea coast. Guangdong surpassed Henan and Shandong to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year; the total population was 104,303,132 in the 2010 census, accounting for 7.79 percent of Mainland China's population. This also makes it the most populous first-level administrative subdivision of any country outside of South Asia, as its population is surpassed only by those of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the Indian states of Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The provincial capital Guangzhou and economic hub Shenzhen are among the most populous and important cities in China. The population increase since the census has been modest, the province registering 108,500,000 people in 2015.
The new imperial kilns were to be under the directorship of the official Cai Jinching. After completion a list of ceramic wares was forwarded to the Tongzhi Emperor and is preserved in the area gazetteer Jiangxi tongzhi (江西通志) for 1864. The 55 types of wares listed consisted of round wares (yuanqi) and vases (zhuoqi), but no quantities are given.The ceramics of this period are similar to those of the previous Daoguang period (1821–1850), but of slightly higher quality, perhaps because the court now took more interest than under the three previous emperors. Many of the artisans of the early 19th century must have continued in their profession with the restoration of the kilns. Some scholars believe the wares on the 1864 list were produced at commercial kilns in Jingdezhen, rather than rebuilt official ones.
The Daoguang Emperor was the seventh emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1820 to 1850. His reign was marked by "external disaster and internal rebellion," that is, by the First Opium War, and the beginning of the Taiping Rebellion which nearly brought down the dynasty. The historian Jonathan Spence characterizes the Daoguang Emperor as a "well meaning but ineffective man," who promoted officials who "presented a purist view even if they had nothing to say about the domestic and foreign problems surrounding the dynasty."
Jingdezhen is a prefecture-level city, previously a town, in northeastern Jiangxi province, China, with a total population of 1,554,000 (2007), bordering Anhui to the north. It is known as the "Porcelain Capital" because it has been producing pottery for 1,700 years. The city has a well-documented history that stretches back over 2,000 years.
Two ceramic artists associated with later productions of Qianjiang ware or porcelain decorated in sepia and pale umber pigments, Wang Shaowei and Jin Pinqing, are said to have been employed in the Tongzhi era as decorators at Jingdezhen. Certainly there was a quantitative disparity. The extant list of Tongzhi ceramics include such items as quadrangular vases with the Eight Triagrams and other items. Extant under glaze blue vases are renditions of classic shapes and patterns continuously celebrated from the 18th century.
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C. The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste, soft-paste and bone china. The category that an object belongs to depends on the composition of the paste used to make the body of the porcelain object and the firing conditions.
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.
The Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art is a collection of Chinese ceramics and related items, on permanent display in its own gallery in Room 95 at the British Museum. The Foundation's main purpose is to promote the study and teaching of Chinese art and culture. The collection consists of some 1,700 pieces of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain from the 10th century to the 18th, as well as a painting, Scroll of Antiquities dating from the Yongzheng (1723–35) reign.
"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.
Ding ware, Ting ware or Dingyao were Chinese ceramics, mostly porcelain, produced in the prefecture of Dingzhou in Hebei in northern China. The main kilns were at Jiancicun or Jianci in Quyang County. They were produced between the Tang and Yuan dynasties of imperial China, though their finest period was in the 11th century, under the Northern Song. The kilns "were in almost constant operation from the early eighth until the mid-fourteenth century."
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 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.
Tianqi porcelain refers to Chinese underglaze blue porcelain made in the unofficial kilns of Jingdezhen (景德镇) for a largely Japanese market in the 17th century. The term "Tianqi" is a reference to the era name of the reign of the Tianqi Emperor in the late Ming Dynasty.
Kangxi transitional porcelain was manufactured at China’s principle ceramic production area of Jingdezhen until 1683 when the production of “official ware” was resumed.
Shiwan ware is Chinese pottery from kilns located in the Shiwanzhen Subdistrict of the provincial city of Foshan, near Guangzhou, Guangdong. It forms part of a larger group of wares from the coastal region known collectively as "Canton stonewares". The hilly, wooded, area provided slopes for dragon kilns to run up, and fuel for them, and was near major ports.
Dehua porcelain is a type of white Chinese porcelain, made at Dehua in the Fujian province. A traditional European term for it is Blanc de Chine. It has been produced from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) to the present day. Large quantities arrived in Europe as Chinese export porcelain in the early 18th century and it was copied at Meissen and elsewhere. It was also exported to Japan in large quantities.
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.
Qingbai ware is a type of Chinese porcelain produced under the Song Dynasty and Yuan dynasty, defined by the ceramic glaze used. Qingbai ware is white with a blue-greenish tint, and is also referred to as Yingqing. It was made in Jiangxi province in south-eastern China, in several locations including Jingdezhen, and is arguably the first type of porcelain to be produced on a very large scale. However, it was not at the time a prestigious ware, and was mostly used for burial wares and exports, or a middle-rank Chinese market. The quality is very variable, reflecting these different markets; the best pieces can be very thin-walled.
Cizhou ware or Tz'u-chou ware is a term for a wide range of Chinese ceramics from between the late Tang dynasty and the early Ming dynasty, but especially associated with the Northern Song to Yuan period in the 11–14th century. It has been increasingly realized that a very large number of sites in northern China produced these wares, and their decoration is very variable, but most characteristically uses black and white, in a variety of techniques. For this reason Cizhou-type is often preferred as a general term. All are stoneware in Western terms, and "high-fired" or porcelain in Chinese terms. They were less high-status than other types such as celadons and Jun ware, and are regarded as "popular", though many are finely and carefully decorated.
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.
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.
Doucai is a technique in painted Chinese porcelain, where parts of the design, and some outlines of the rest, are painted in underglaze blue, and the piece is then glazed and fired. The rest of the design is then added in overglaze enamels of different colours and the piece fired again at a lower temperature of about 850°C to 900°C.
Roger Soame Jenyns (1904–1976), who usually wrote his name simply as Soame Jenyns was a British art historian, known as an expert on East Asian ceramics.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.