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Various porcelain designs by ceramic artists

Porcelain is one of China's treasured crafts which has made its way to other countries. It was one of the trade items in high demand on the Silk Road. Chinese porcelain has a high kaolin content which gives it its pristine white color.

The history of porcelain can be traced back almost to the first century, and since then, every single dynasty that came to rule China has added some value to the craft. What was once simple white vases or water pots grew into delicately decorated, baked art. The designs on the porcelain tell their own story of China's grand history.


Traditional porcelain was a jade color, symbolic of Chinese preferences Photo by Chloe Bolton on Unsplash

The most famous kind of porcelain is the one that is mixed with cobalt oxide to leave a deep blue etching. This was the only substance that can withstand the high temperatures that porcelain undergoes to harden. Blue and white pottery made its way to different parts of the world, and other countries picked up the trade. Some parts of Europe like Germany and Italy, picked up the art and tried to replicate it, but they have not been able to emulate the translucency of Chinese porcelain. The blue is lighter and more smudged than the original. They also failed to be delicate while designing the pottery. Nevertheless, their own heritage is reflected in various pieces that have been preserved through history.

Chinese porcelain is translucent and darker than other blue and white pottery Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

The Chinese also used glaze on their porcelain, which came to be known as celadon. The original glaze was jade green, a color that the Chinese famously patronized because they believe jade brings them good luck and prosperity. With time, they developed other colors that were shades of jade and their pottery reflects it.

Porcelain today has become a popular material used to make tiles, decorative items, crockery, and is even used by dentists to use as crowns. It is highly durable and does not corrode. It is still used as a ritual item in Chinese worship. Most of the world's porcelain is still imported from China.

Keywords: Porcelain, China, Europe, Jade, Celadon, Pottery


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