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Learn Chinese - History and Culture

         Blue and White Porcelain
Porcelain (cí qì 瓷器) derives its present name from old Italian porcellana because of its resemblance to the translucent surface of the shell. Porcelain can informally be referred to as "china" in some English-speaking countries, as China was the birth place of porcelain making. Porcelain was developed on the basis of pottery. If calculated from the appearance of the primitive porcelain in the Shang Dynasty (shāng cháo 商朝), it has a history of about 3000 years. Properties associated with porcelain include low permeability and elasticity; considerable strength, hardness, glassiness, brittleness, whiteness, translucence, and resonance; and a high resistance to chemical attack and thermal shock.

CeladonThe techniques of manufacturing porcelain have developed rapidly since the Eastern Han Dynasty (dōng hàn 东汉). Famous kilns producing porcelain products with unique features and new pottery and porcelain varieties constantly came forth in subsequent dynasties. Celadon (qīng cí 青瓷) manufactured in the Yue Kiln (yuè yáo 越窑) of Zhejiang Province (zhè jiāng 浙江) and white porcelain (bái cí 白瓷) produced in the Xing Kiln (xíng yáo 邢窑) of Hebei Province (héběi 河北) in the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝) are very precious. White porcelain of the Ding Kiln (dìng yáo 定窑) in Hebei Province, Jun porcelain (jūn cí 钧瓷) of the Jun Kiln (jūn yáo 钧窑) in Henan Province (hé nán 河南), and celadon of the Longquan Kiln (lóng quán yáo 龙泉窑) in Zhejiang Province in the Song Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝) are all priceless treasures. After the Song Dynasty, celadon wares produced by the Longquan Kiln in Zhejiang began to be exported abroad.

Colored PorcelainAfter the Yuan Dynasty (yuán cháo 元朝), the porcelain industry rose swiftly in Jingdezhen (jǐng dé zhèn 景德镇) of Jiangxi Province (jiāng xī 江西), which became known as the Capital of Porcelain (cí dū 瓷都). The porcelain ware of Jingdezhen is light and artful in weight, refined and exquisite in design. The most precious items include Blue and White Porcelain (qīng huā cí 青花瓷), Colored Porcelain (fěn cǎi cí 粉彩瓷), Exquisite Blue and White Porcelain (qīng huā líng lóng cí 青花玲珑瓷) and Eggshell Porcelain (bó tāi cí 薄胎瓷).

By the Sui (suí 隋)and Tang dynasties, porcelain had become widely produced. Eventually, porcelain and the expertise required to create it began to spread into other areas; by the seventeenth century, it was being exported to Europe.

Chinese porcelain wares are not only daily handy necessities, but also precious arts and crafts. From the Han and Tang dynasties, Chinese porcelain wares and their manufacturing techniques gradually spread all over the world. Today, China continues to create new varieties of pricious porcelain wares.
Blue and White Porcelain      中国是瓷器的故乡,瓷器的发明是中华民族对世界文明的伟大贡献,在英文中“瓷器(china)”与中国(China)同为一词。





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