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Guide to Early Chinese Ceramics

T'ang Ceramic Innovations

The T'ang dynasty is famous for its energetically modeled and brightly colored tomb figurines. Made from low-fired earthenware and intended exclusively for burial, these charming horses, camels, and civil officials have become immensely popular. In their own day, however, they were neither in the forefront of ceramic technology nor highly regarded by collectors or connoisseurs.

It was in the making of functional ceramics for daily use and export that T'ang potters achieved their greatest technical innovations and artistic refinements. They invented porcelain, underglaze painted décor, phosphatic glazes, perfected high-fired celadon, and experimented with cobalt blue glazes. Their interest in single color wares, especially white ware, brown ware, celadon, and cobalt blue laid the groundwork for Sung (960-1279) taste in monochrome glazes, refined ceramic shapes, and splashed brown and black wares.

Of the innovations shown here, the inventions of porcelain, underglaze painted décor, splashed black ware, and monochrome glazes had a tremendous effect on subsequent dynasties and influenced ceramic styles throughout the world.



Bottle Vase
Bottle Vase

Tomb Figure
Tomb Figure

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