Porcelain in the art of China

Porcelain in the art of China

Old experienced masters of artistic painting on porcelain at work in one of the workshops of Jingde City.

Porcelain in the art of China
In China, in ancient times, clay products were made. Primitive people, blinded from a clay vessel, dried it in the sun. Later they learned how to burn clay products in ovens, and over time invented a potter’s wheel; by rotation of its object from the clay gave the correct round shape. The invention of the potter’s wheel in China in the middle of the II millennium BC. e. is proved by the presence of a hieroglyph, which in a schematic form reproduces this important for the development of ceramic production device.

In the transition period from the new stone century to the bronze in China, dishes were made of red clay, the so-called Yanshao ceramics, the surface of which was decorated with complex patterns of curls and spirals of black and purple color, as well as Chengziai black-eared pottery.
During the excavations in the area of ​​An’yana (Henan province), white clay ware dating back to the 2nd millennium AD was found. e., to the so-called Shan-Yin period (XVIII-XII centuries BC). The patterns that adorn it resemble the ornamentation of bronze ware of the same time. Some vessels from Anjan are made of white clay and have thin walls, others are covered with gray-yellow and brown glaze (watering).
In the period of Han, which was closer to us (III century BC-III century AD), considerable shifts are evident in the Chinese ceramic industry. During this period, the Chinese word “china” – “porcelain” appeared in Chinese. However, the appearance of this name at that time did not yet imply the invention of porcelain, since this name, at a later time, applied not only to porcelain, but also to porcelain products.
In the period of Han, this word meant the best ceramic material compared to the one from which simple clay ware was formerly made, but not yet porcelain. The vessels of the Han period were made according to the pattern of bronze utensils. Therefore, their ornament is very close to the ornament of bronze vessels, which consisted of strips. These stripes are filled with relief images of hunting scenes with riders shooting arrows from the rushing beasts against the background of a primitive landscape. Vessels were covered with glazes, which made them waterproof and gave a beautiful look to nm. Han vessels are distinguished by their shiny white, green and brown glazes with dots on the surface. The green color of the glazes was obtained from the presence of copper oxide in the glaze, brown from iron oxide.
Some Chinese researchers believe that glazes appeared in Chinese ceramic production in the Han period thanks to glass, which was imported together with the material for its manufacture from the Roman Empire and from Kashmir (India). But since the traces of glazes were found on the vessels of the Shan-Yin period, produced one and a half millennia before, it should be considered that the imported glass and the material for its production contributed to the improvement of the composition of Chinese glazes, but not their invention. Such products of the Han period are known not only from the previous collections of museums around the world, but also in those subjects that are now found in China during archaeological excavations and construction.
They noted the historical events that took place in this area of ​​China, indicated the characteristics of different species of plants and animals, given information about various sights and outstanding people, told about different types of production.

Porcelain in the art of China

Vessel with lid, with ornament u-wye (“five-colored” glaze). 1522-1566 years.

After inventing in the Tang period of this translucent porcelain, distinguished by its sintering and glassy properties, the Chinese masters began to work hard and painstakingly to select the best materials for glazes, to establish the norms and conditions for firing.
Glaze, as already known, is one of the most important elements in the process of making porcelain products. With its help, Chinese masters have sought and are now achieving great artistic effects. Glaze is a vitreous layer covering the surface of a clay or porcelain object. It is, like all glasses, a supercooled liquid.
In the period of Tan for glazes, mainly iron was used, the presence of which in the glaze gave yellowish, brown, black colors, as well as oxide copper, which gave a greenish shade, and manganese ore, which gave a bright purple hue. During the excavations that have been carried out recently in China, some samples of porcelain of the Tang period with tricolor pigs “mm” glazes – sang-yai, are found. Until recently, these glazes were known mainly for the products of the Ming period (XIV-XVII centuries). In the same period the vessels made of porcelain and clay, which served as musical instruments, became very popular. Water was poured into the vessels. Adding and subtracting it while tapping with a stick on the vessel, the musicians received different notes of scale. It is also known from modern excavations that later, in the period of the “Five Dynasties” (918-960), very thin brown porcelain was produced.
Thus, comparatively meager information makes it possible to establish an overall picture of ceramic production in China during the Tang period.
The next period, the Song period (960-1276) was the heyday of medieval culture, philosophy, poetry and art: at that time the Academy of Painting and Calligraphy was opened, the production of art products was more and more perfected. From the Song period, remarkable examples of catalogs and works on art, and, in particular, on the art craft, have come down.
In China, archeology, which was limited mainly to collecting and collecting, existed for a very long time. For many centuries, Chinese scientists and amateurs have seriously studied the monuments of antiquity of different periods, collected collections of ancient paintings and drawings, bronze vessels, carved stones, ceramic products, embroideries. Traveling around the country, they removed the photographs from the stone walls and other monuments to
to study the inscriptions on them. As a result of such painstaking work of many generations, information on a large number of non-existent monuments of antiquity, with their exact description and drawings, has reached us in the catalogs. Similar catalogs were collected and compiled from the fifth to sixth centuries, but the most reliable were the catalogs of the Sun scientists.
In the years of Xuanhe (1119-1125), the following catalogs were collected by the special commission of scientists marked with the creation of the Academy of Painting and Calligraphy: “Illustrated description of the famous antiquities of the Xuanhe period”, “Description of specimens of calligraphy”, “Description of pictures” (catalog of the palace gallery). During the invasion of China by foreigners – first the Jurchens in 1127, then the Mongols in 1279 and the Manchus in 1644 – many paintings and art objects perished. Therefore, the Sun catalogs, which give a lot of important information from the history of earlier Chinese art, acquired special significance.
During the period of the Sun, the ornamentation of the vessel consisted in various ways of applying a pattern to the shard of the vessel before coating it with glaze. The pattern was either engraved with a knife, or pierced with a thin needle and an awl. In other cases, a relief contoured ornament or nalepa made of clay was applied to the vessel. The vessels of the Song period were distinguished by their beautiful, harmonious proportions and monochrome glaze, but there were also vessels with underglaze blue painting, which were very famous. For the production of this sort of porcelain Arab merchants brought to China blue sumani paint with Fr. Sumatra, or botsin with about. Penang off the western coast of the peninsula of Malacca, or blue paint for the heads, or rather the hair of Buddha statuettes – photo from India.
The very fact of the importation of this paint testifies to those lively intercourse that continued at this time, as in the Tang period, with the countries of Asia. This was told by the famous traveler Marco Polo, who visited the 13th century. in China.

Porcelain in the art of China

The heroes of the play of the Chinese classical theater called “The Western Wing” (“Spilled Bowl”). Figurines from the clay of the modern master Zhang Jing-gu from Tianjin.

One of the cultivars of celadon was guan-yao, which means “state ceramics”. This variety was produced at the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, namely in 1107-1117. in Kaifeng for supplies to the court. After the crossing of the court in 1127 to the south, in Hangzhou, due to the invasion of the Jurchen enemies and the conquest of the northern regions of China, Master Shao Cheng-chang again created workshops in Hangzhou near the temple of Heaven, where they produced celadon guan-yao, even better than before, more thin-walled, equated to the best grades of porcelain.
In the province of Zhejiang (in the home of the modern great writer Lu Sin), Shaoxing, porcelain with blue underglaze painting was made.
In Sichuan province, very valuable, fine porcelain was produced; it was called “hard and light, like real jade, superior to snow and hoarfrost” in its whiteness.
Judging by the latest information from Chinese sources, during the Song period there were also important ceramic works for the history of porcelain in the northern regions of China, where utensils for the population were manufactured. Therefore, these products, even more than other varieties, reflect the taste of the freely created craftsmen from the people who did not work for the order of the court and nobility, but to meet the needs of the population of the basin of the river. Yellow River – from the province of Shaanxi and to the Yellow Sea, especially in the northern regions of the Chinese lowland. In times of feudal power, these products were treated with great disdain and did not consider them one of the best varieties. Therefore, in historical records there is no information about them. Only now has the study of this variety begun, with the following locations for its production: Danyangu-yao (Xiu County, Henan Province), Shenqiang-yao (Dengfeng County, Henan Province), Patsun-yao (Yuixian County, Henan Province), Huangbao – yao or Yaozhou-yao (Tongchuan County, Shaanxi Province).
From the content of her found that in this place were concentrated ceramic workshops, producing good varieties of porcelain and porcelain products in 1100 and 1103 years.
In the inscription on the stella was a song:
In Daian there are amazing bronze vessels,
But even more beautiful are the ceramic products of skilled craftsmen.
Information from the inscription on the stall about the concentration of ceramic workshops here was confirmed by a number of nearby fragments of clay and porcelain.
These products are made by craftsmen with great taste and love. Their ornaments most of all reflect the beautiful flora of China in a free, unified composition according to the shape of the vessel.
During the Song period, a variety of Jian-yao porcelain ware was produced in Jianyang and Dehua, the areas in the north of Fujian Province. The products of this brand were distinguished by their dense white shining, and also by brown-black and black glazes of great viscosity, which covered a thick layer of the body of the vessel. Fine figurines were also made there.

Porcelain in the art of China

A vessel made of clay with an ornament made of bright red and black spirals. Yangshao Period, ca. 3.5 thousand years before and. e.

A variety of isyan-yao is known in Japan under its Japanese name temmoku. Products of this variety are pialls, tea utensils. Due to the thick walls of tea in such dishes for a long time did not cool, which was the reason for the popularity of these products in Japan.
The glaze of the jian-yao or temmoku articles of the Song period was feldspar, with its characteristic features: high viscosity, considerable acidity and usually a large layer thickness.
Temmoku cups have a shard with a high content of iron. The glaze of these items seems to be usually black with a bluish tinge, but when scrutinized, it turns out to be not black, but brownish-black. At separate vessels on a black field of glaze there are still vertical strips of light brown color. Such strips resemble a hare’s skin and therefore bear the name “temmoku with fur of a hare”. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that in these products, the oxide iron is released from the glaze, contained in it in too high a concentration, resulting in the formation of light brown strips. Known temples are also decorated with drawings of flowers, geometric figures or birds and insects on a black glaze with a lighter glaze around or drawings on a light glaze with black glaze around.
One of the varieties of sun porcelain products is the jun-yao variety, which, like other varieties, is named for the area in which it was produced, namely, Junzhou (Yuxian County, Henan Province). These were products, which in Chinese sources say: “These are vessels of dark red color, like cinnabar, green.
Porcelain production in the Ming period reached a very high level. During this period, it was concentrated in the city of Jingdezhen, the glory of which eclipsed all other areas. By the end of the XVI century. in Jingdezhen there were up to 300 imperial stoves, not counting a very large number of private furnaces producing articles for the population.
In the period of Ming, blue-white porcelain is known, with underglaze blue painting. For this grade, a “Muslim blue” paint was used, made from finely divided cobalt ore, imported from Iran instead of the previous blue paint from Fr. Sumatra and Fr. Penang. From the same time, glazes of purple color, obtained due to the presence of manganese in them, were used.
Garden decorative objects were also made, including typical Chinese benches made of porcelain instead of the accepted in Europe cast iron, wooden, turf benches. Porcelain was used even for whole architectural structures: for example, in 1415 a famous porcelain Nanjing pagoda was built, destroyed in 1856.
The porcelain of the Ming period is distinguished by a great variety of forms, as well as new ways of decorating along with the skilful imitation of the former Sunni varieties.
In the period of Ming, the method of porcelain painting was distributed in three colors – san-i, ai (lead glaze), according to new data, known from the Tang period. These paints had the ability to spread easily and therefore were applied to a pre-burned vessel, and the ornament was separated by partitions along the contour. Usually these were combinations of three colors – green (or emerald), yellow and purple or yellow, purple and dark-lilac.
During the Min period, porcelain yu-yam products were also produced – “spotted”, covered with a painting of transparent colored enamel paints, which, thanks to the presence of lead, had great fusibility and could be fixed at low temperatures. They were essentially polychrome objects covered with murals of dark green, bluish-violet, blue, yellow and purple-brown color. Since these paints could spread, a special technique was used to obtain a drawing: 1) the contours of the drawing were made in the form of deeply engraved lines – grooves; 2) partitions were applied to the contour; 3) the picture was cropped and had a rise to the edge, which was called the Chinese “hidden pattern” (anh-hua). In addition, there was a sort of the finest porcelain items that were called “incorporeal” (that-gai).
In the period of Ming, among other varieties, the products of the variety and, zyan-yao (“Blanche de Shn”), brilliant white porcelain figurines of Buddhist deities, especially appreciated in Japan, became very popular.
By the end of the Ming period (the first half of the 17th century), the gradual separation of craft from agriculture began. Different branches of the handicraft industry begin to occupy an independent position. In the porcelain artisan industry, as in a number of other industries, a fairly large number of private workshops and manufactories with a detailed division of labor appear. However, the activities of private workshops were to a rather strong extent limited by feudal power, which supported and expanded the imperial manufactories that produced articles for the court and the court nobility, and not for the broad masses of the people. These imperial manufactories prevailed in the country and occupied a dominant position in the cottage industry.
In connection with the development of the cottage industry, the activity of commercial capital was revived not only within the country, but also beyond its borders. During the Min period, there was a lively trade with the sea route with India, Indochina, Iran, Japan, the islands of the Indian Ocean, as well as with European countries – Portugal, Spain, Holland.
In connection with the development of crafts and trade, commercial cities began to grow and new centers appeared on the coast, on the banks of rivers, canals, on important trade roads. The urban population grew at the expense of the landless peasants who, because of heavy taxes and taxes, lost their piece of land and became tenants or went to work in cities and regions with developed handicraft industry. Craftsmen were a significant force in the peasant uprising of the end of the Ming period, which led to the fall of this dynasty.
The establishment of the new Qing dynasty (1644-1911) was accompanied by the destruction of the Jingdezhen and other ovens as a result of the invasion of the Manchus, who conquered all of China.
The production of porcelain in this period, both in Jingdezhen and elsewhere, is known from the best porcelain manual published during the Qing period and called “Jingdezhen Tao-lu’s Porcelain Production Notes”. This book is the main source for later works on the history of porcelain both in China itself and in Europe. It gives a lot of valuable information about the various details of the production process, about the ways of ornamenting porcelain, etc.
In the Qing period a variety, known in Europe as the “green family”, appeared: in the painting of the products of this variety, the color predominates; Additional colors for it are yellow, purple, brown-red, red-coral and black. This sort was close to the polychrome objects of U-Tsai, but it had some differences in the painting: the yellow paint was lighter than the Minsk grade u-yai, there were also new shades of green, in particular light-green, apple, and finally, instead of turquoise was introduced violet-blue color, which was one of the features of the “green family”. Products painted with enamel paints directly on the glaze. The background outside the pattern was also covered with a colorless glaze, but did not have a dirty shade.
In addition to the “green family”, the “black family” and “yellow family” varieties were produced, with a predominance of black and yellow colors.
Under the Emperor Kangxi (1662-1723), special refinement was achieved in the finishing of porcelain objects with a blue underglaze painting. And at the end of the Ming period, and especially under Kangxi, the division of labor was introduced: some masters painted only the sides of the plates, others only their surface. In addition to small porcelain figurines, made since the first century, huge figurative objects appeared in museums of both the Soviet Union and European countries.
Under the emperor Yongzheng (1723-1736) the successor of Kangxi, monochromes prevailed, and the blue underglaze painting went out of fashion. The brand “green family” also came out of fashion, and became a fashionable brand “pink family”, where pink predominated. To obtain a pink color in the glaze, well-ground gold in the amount of one particle per 100 ltd. Of glaze particles is necessary. To obtain the golden glaze for the “pink family”, you also need a very small amount of gold as a dye, namely: one particle of gold per 50 ltd. Of glaze particles. The action of gold is similar to the action of colloidal copper, giving the icing of the color of “bovine blood” (yang-yao).
The glaze of the upper part of the neck of a vase of “bull blood” color is often white, not red. This is due to the fact that in such parts the glaze layer is always thin, and the oxygen of the air can easily act on the reduced copper. Consequently, it was oxygen that oxidized glaze in this place throughout its entire thickness and bleached red colloidal copper, turning it into oxide copper.
The production of blue specks of the glaze of flambé products is due to a number of phenomena. The glaze can change in its structure and form tiny crystals that reflect a pearly white or bluish white color and give a bluish tinge to parts that also change. The alternation of such bluish stripes with the underlying red layer (from the reduced copper) creates the impression of a purple flame, from which the name “flame” or flambe appeared.
In the XVIII century. The black mirror glaze was also known, which was obtained due to the addition of cobalt-iron ore of manganese.
The products with coral-red glaze, which were obtained due to the action of oxide iron on the glaze, were very popular. These glazes are fired at low temperatures in the same way as enamel glazes, and firing at this temperature does not last long, to prevent the particles of iron oxide from dissolving into the glaze, but only to help them distribute in it.
In the XVIII century. masters began to apply one more new technique: instead of underglaze colors and colored enamels, they began to leave glaze-free places (reserves) for the paintings.
During the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1796), the same porcelain varieties as before were in vogue, as well as new varieties of the “green family” of lemon yellow and mustard yellow and dark blue porcelain with medallions in the spirit of the “pink family”.
During the Qing period, especially under Qianlong, many valuable catalogs were published, for example, the catalog “Collection of the Ancient Architecture of the Sicin Palace”, “Illustrated catalog of bronze objects”, etc. Already in the XIX century, namely in 1822, catalog “Collections of bronzes and stones” in 12 books. In all these catalogs there are illustrations and detailed descriptions of objects.
At the end of the XVIII and XIX century. in the porcelain industry, the tendency to imitate other artistic techniques – ivory, jade, red lacquer, inlaid with gold and mother of pearl, bamboo, and pumpkin artifacts – are increasing.
During the reign under the name “Jing-de” (1004-1007, under the Song dynasty), the so-called Jingdean porcelain was manufactured here for the court, and why the city was subsequently renamed Jingdezhen.
Jingdezhen is on the river. Changjiang, which flows into the lake. Poyanghu (Jiangxi Province), in turn connected to the main waterway of South China – a large navigable river. Changjiang. This advantageous location of the city made it possible to distribute porcelain products throughout the country.
As the center of China’s ceramic production, Jingdezhen emerged in ancient times, back in the Han period. In the period of Tang (VII-IX centuries), porcelain was already produced here. In 621, a special department was established, which oversaw the fulfillment of orders for the imperial court. The production in Jingdezhen was particularly expanded in the 17th-18th centuries. By this time 58 furnaces of several enterprises were operating here. Most furnaces belonged to the imperial court, some were in private hands.
At the beginning of the XVIII century. In Jingdezhen, the Monk d’Antrecol, who came from Europe, lived. He was sent by the Jesuits order from France to China in order to find out the secret of porcelain production, strictly guarded by the Chinese government. There are letters from D’Antrecoil in which he describes Jingdezhen. Zhen in translation means “posad, slobodka.” But “in fact,” wrote D’Antrecol, “there are not only walls, so that this place can deserve the name of the city and be compared with the most populated and largest cities in China … there are no walls for greater convenience to import and export goods. In Jingdezhen, there are 18,000 families. There are also rich merchants, whose houses occupy a large area and contain a huge mass of workers.
“Jingdezhen occupies a large space along the banks of a beautiful river. . . Houses are crowded one to another, and the streets are very narrow; when you cross them, it seems that you are in the middle of the bazaar – cries of porters who try to make their way are heard from everywhere. . .
“Despite the high cost of living, Jingdezhen is a haven for many poor families who have nothing to live in neighboring cities. It uses both youth and people less healthy. Even the blind and the disabled earn their living by wiping the paint. ”
Although Jingdezhen also gave jobs to many people, but they dragged on a miserable existence, receiving insignificant pennies for their work. Huge profits fell into the treasury, as well as into the pocket of merchants and masters of manufactories, ie, large workshops, where a wide division of labor was applied. Each vessel passed through the hands of seventy workers. “It’s amazing,” writes D’Antrecolle, “how quickly and deftly they hand over the vessels from hand to hand. No one does unnecessary movements. ” There were masters who made only porcelain mass, others – molded a variety of objects, and others – subjected them to roasting. Particularly great was the division of labor in the painting of the vessel: some masters painted only the contours of objects, others painted them, some did only inscriptions or stamped that indicated the place of manufacture of the object, the years of reign of the emperors, often the owners of such large manufactories. In one of them there were 23 compartments.
Many skilled craftsmen worked in these workshops. Some specialties were very difficult. In all of Jingdezhen, with d’Antrecole (1721 -1722), there were no more than two or three modelers who made samples, which required great knowledge and skill. Talented people’s masters of China created glory to the Chinese porcelain all over the world, but their skilful hands worked only to satisfy the needs and whims of the upper strata and, above all, the imperial court.
In 1554, at the manufactories of Jingdezhen, the imperial order for 26,350 cups with lids, 6,000 wine vessels and 6,900 wine cups was made. Porcelain goblets could also serve as musical instruments: they were arranged in a row, according to the tone they issued, and, striking them with chopsticks, you could perform various tunes.
Often the caprice of the ruler demanded the fulfillment of orders, which it was almost impossible to accomplish. There is a story about how one emperor ordered a huge vase of an unusually complex shape. No matter how hard the craftsmen worked, the vase cracked in the oven. Meanwhile, non-fulfillment of orders resulted in a decrease in wages, which was already insignificant, beatings, and perhaps death. After another failure the vase was again fashioned and put in the oven. Masters lost hope for a successful outcome of the case. One of them, dreading the death penalty, rushed into the oven, where the fire was burning, and burnt. This time the vase did not crack. The perfect product came out of the furnace intact. The Chinese believed that the vase was so successful that the master sacrificed his life for her. His name was Pu Tsai. After his death, he began to be considered the patron of all masters of porcelain. “But miserable honors,” D’Antrecol wrote in one of his letters, where he told of the death of a Chinese master, “rendered to him after death, did not tempt anyone else to follow his example.” Later, a special memorial plaque was built in memory of this master, which is now kept in the museum of Jingde (formerly Jingdezhen).
In addition to the city of Jingde, which is now the center of porcelain production, porcelain products were manufactured in other places and differed in their varieties, artistic painting and engraving.
In addition to porcelain and clay products for decoration of everyday life, in China, tiles for decorative decoration of buildings were made. Unfortunately, at the present time there is a very small number of such old tiles: the reason for this were disasters and wars, accompanied by the destruction of architectural monuments. The greatest flourishing of this production dates back to the 16th-19th centuries. At that time, entire guides for the manufacture of tiles were written. These books have been lost – since then there has been no new scientific study of the production of tiles in China.
One of the largest pottery centers that existed throughout the country, scattered throughout the country, was Mr. Yixing in Jiangsu Province near Lake. Taihu. It has long been known not only for its clay utensils, but also for colored glazed tiles, as well as for decorating the roofs of houses in the form of figures of war deities and the heads of dragons with an open mouth.
Chinese porcelain impresses with its diversity, technique of execution and the richness of the master’s imagination, manifested in truly folk paintings. Pine, bamboo, peach, chrysanthemum, plum and cherry, which blossom at the end of winter, expressed the wishes of longevity. Plum blossoms are a symbol of winter or, more precisely, the end of winter (February) – in China the plum blossoms, still covered with snow. Peony – a symbol of spring, lotus – summer, chrysanthemum – autumn.
Images of animals, whose names sounded the same as some abstract concepts, implied the wishes of happiness, wealth, offspring. For example, the figure “five bats”, called fu, figuratively meant the wish of the five “fates”, also denoted by the word fu, namely wealth, virtue, longevity, a happy life and its natural end.
Often, objects from porcelain depicted scenes with the participation of famous heroes from history, whose images were somewhat modified in popular legends among the people. Often depicted General Zhang Qian, sent in the II. BC. e. with the army in Central Asia. He became famous for having brought to China various information about the lives of people who inhabited this region, as well as the region of Central Asia bordering China (now Xinjiang Province). However, in the painting on porcelain in accordance with the legend that has developed around him in the people, he is looking for the track of the Yellow River on the Milky Way. In his search, he reaches the realm of the star, which the Chinese called Pryah. She is portrayed in the form of a beautiful woman sitting in a stroller, while the general is depicted as a rider.
In the porcelain paintings you can see the poet of the period of Tan-Li Tai-bo looking at the waterfall in Sichuan or floating in a boat with a book in his hands.
On products often there are inscriptions of a benevolent character, for example, wishes of “happiness, nobility, eternal youth”, “eternal happiness in family life” or “boundless happiness let it penetrate into all your affairs”. These inscriptions were denoted by hieroglyphics, which, thanks to their varied and bizarre form, often served as ornament in their usual or stylized form, and, like in the painting, they were painted with a brush and carcass, and on art objects – not using paints.
Most of the valuable porcelain products were stamped with stamps. They denoted the name of the house, the family, the workshop, this or that part of the palace, that is, its separate pavilion, and usually had a very magnificent name, for example, “an elegant vessel from a jasper pavilion.” On the bottom of the vessel, from the outside, hieroglyphs were often placed on the outside, indicating the purpose of the vessel: “tea”, “wine,” “for the altar.” In addition, the names of the years of the reign of one or another emperor were applied to the bottom of the vessel, as was customary in China. According to the names of the years of government, it is possible to date the subject.
The bulk of the masters remained unknown workers who worked under the harsh conditions of oppression and exploitation of feudal China. Chinese masters made high-quality porcelain not only for the imperial court, governors and the highest nobility of their country, but in the future also for export, as Chinese porcelain products received great demand outside the country.
For export to other countries, masters, as a rule, produced porcelain products, in which the shape of the object was skilfully combined with a drawing in the taste of the people of that country, and foreign motifs were combined with purely Chinese ones. So, for example, in Siam sent porcelain products with images of Buddhist deities in the Siamese style and with floral ornaments-curbs in Chinese taste. In Tibet and Mongolia, and from the XVII century. and bowls with Buddhist emblems in Tibetan style were exported to Buryat-Mongolia. Such products were preserved in the Buryat-Mongolian and Mongolian monasteries.
Vessels and jars with inscriptions-sayings from the Koran among the intertwining of vegetable or geometric ornament-went to Persia and the Arab countries. In the book of Arabian fairy-tales “Thousand and One Nights”, porcelain dishes are often described that adorn the richly decorated dwellings of the merchants of Basra and Baghdad. Arab historians and geographers often mention china. For example, Maurizi, an Arab historian of the fourteenth century, who lived in Cairo, recounts the treasures that were kept in the Fatimid palaces of Cairo, where many large porcelain vessels filled with camphor were found, and bowls with an amber from Syria. Besides them, there were many different dishes with blue painting and celadon, as well as porcelain troughs for washing clothes, each of which cost 1000 dinars. It was a very high price, as the dinar was a gold coin weighing about 2.4 grams.
Middle Eastern merchants promoted the export of porcelain from China already in the VIII – IX centuries. This is evidenced by excavations in Samarra, a city that existed near Baghdad; in the IX century. there were found many porcelain shards covered with spotted, typically Tang glaze.
Large collections of Chinese porcelain were collected in the XVII century. the Turkish sultan and the Persian Shah.
Great was the export of Chinese porcelain products and to Western Europe, where they were highly valued. The main suppliers of Chinese porcelain to Europe in the XVI century. were first Portuguese, exporting it from China through the port of Macau, later – the Spaniards – across the Philippines. After them, Chinese porcelain, mainly with blue painting, was exported through Batavia and Fr. Taiwan by the Dutch. Since the XVII century. the main supplier of Chinese porcelain was the British East India Company.
In Europe, Chinese porcelain received great recognition. There was even a special way of storing valuable porcelain objects in special silver frames made for jugs, vases and other porcelain products. The frame at the same time contributed to the luxurious design of porcelain. European nobility and courtyards, competing among themselves in the selection of collections, used all means to acquire porcelain products, sold their serfs and soldiers for them.
There is a story that Augustus the Strong, King of Saxony, gave a regiment of dragoons for several Chinese vases.
Many porcelain products exported from China to European countries did not differ in quality and ornaments from Chinese proper, intended for the Chinese court and the nobility.
A few words need to be said about the origin of the name “porcelain” taken from us, brought to Russia by Arabs and other eastern merchants who traded with Russian principalities. This name was borrowed from the middle Iranian language. The word “porcelain” according to all the data is a modified middle Iranian word fagfur (bugpur).
These names come from the Italian word porchella – a white shell, reminiscent of the color of the white-skinned pig. According to another version, a well-known traveler, the Venetian merchant Marco Polo, who lived in China in 1274-1291, connected this word with the cowrey shell, calling it a spoilage too. This shell served as a monetary unit for the population of the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
In ancient times, porcelain products were imported into Russian principalities. Up to now, a bottle with a cork made of porcelain, with a gold chain and rings, with the name of Ivan Ivanovich Prince of Ryazan (1496-1534), has been preserved.
In the People’s Republic of China, talents and talents receive all opportunities for their development. And earlier, before the liberation of the whole country, many courage and grief suffered a courageous, capable, industrious Chinese people. The need, hunger and fear of losing insignificant earnings – this was the lot of the Chinese people, as well as the masters from Jingdezhen, who carried out countless orders of the imperial courts or prepared luxurious services for the nobility of Western Europe.
After the liberation of the country and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China, a free, bright time has dawned in the life of the Chinese people. Agriculture is expanding and developing as a result of the land reform, and its own national industry, crushed by the imperialists, is being restored and growing. The Chinese Communist Party and the people’s government give all-round support to the development of porcelain production and the sale of porcelain products. Experts are sent to the centers of ceramic production to expand the assortment and improve the forms and painting porcelain. For example, since the spring of 1953, groups of artists from the Chinese Academy of Arts have visited the places of production of porcelain several times, helping the masters to develop new motifs for painting (Figure 16) and to introduce into the production ornaments of various national underglaze and overglaze ways of decorating porcelain. In the porcelain painting there are new plots on the motives of China’s modern life, on the themes of international friendship, folk legends and legends.
Also good porcelain products with blue ornamentation provinces of Hunan, Jiangxin and Zhejiang. Ceramics of Shanxi and Gansu provinces is distinguished by its mirror-black glaze, the products of Yunnan Province – with green glaze.
In addition, the methods of production are being improved. To this end, a well-equipped Research Institute was established in Jingdezhen City, which deals with the issues of porcelain production techniques, studies the properties of ceramic raw materials, and designs new plants. This institution is an unusually important institution for the further growth and expansion of porcelain production.
The Chinese worker, who works on the manufacture of porcelain, is confident in the future. The owner of his country, the builder of her happy future, he uses all the achievements of the past, and the painting reflects the rich and diverse life of the working people, full of hopes and aspirations, which leads along the way of victories to the Communist Party of China.

Porcelain in the art of China