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Eventually, porcelain and the expertise required to create it began to spread into other areas of East Asia.During the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD), artistry and production had reached new heights.The composition of porcelain is highly variable, but the clay mineral kaolinite is often a raw material.Other raw materials can include feldspar, ball clay, glass, bone ash, steatite, quartz, petuntse and alabaster.There is no precise date to separate the production of proto-porcelain from that of porcelain.Although proto-porcelain wares exist dating from the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC), by the time of the Eastern Han Dynasty period (206 BC – 220 AD), glazed ceramic wares had developed into porcelain, on a Chinese definition as high-fired ware.

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Its manufacturing process is more demanding than that for earthenware and stoneware, the two other main types of pottery, and it has usually been regarded as the most prestigious type of pottery for its delicacy, strength, and its white colour.The manufacture of porcelain became highly organised, and the kiln sites excavated from this period could fire as many as 25,000 wares.By the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD), porcelain wares were being exported to Europe.Porcelain has been described as being "completely vitrified, hard, impermeable (even before glazing), white or artificially coloured, translucent (except when of considerable thickness), and resonant".Traditional East Asian thinking only classifies pottery into low-fired wares (earthenware) and high-fired wares (often translated as porcelain), without the European concept of stoneware, which is high-fired but not generally white or translucent.

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