Talk:Chinese ceramics

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Old talk[edit]

This article broken out of the main article on Porcelain on 1st March, 2006. Chinese porcelain section of the Porcelain article deleted. Regards, Nick. Nick 11:45, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Jian tea wares[edit]

I was thinking about extending the notable Chinese porcelain wares part of the article with a piece on Jian black tea wares (sometimes called by the Japanese Tenmoko wares). Is this pushing porcelain a little too far? Regards, Nick. Nick 13:23, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Pottery stone, et cetera[edit]

Hello Andy, at present the article says: Porcelain stone, also known as Pottery stone and petunse (baidunzi), is a micaceous rock of variable composition which includes quartz and sericite (Kerr and Wood 2004), and other minerals including feldspar. Porcelain stone can also occur kaolinised to a greater or lesser extent. A commonly-held but erroneous belief that Chinese porcelain stone is feldspathic in character was disproved early in the twentieth century (Kerr and Wood 2004).

We have a problem here, because we're saying one thing in one sentence and something entirely different in another one. We are talking about Chinese porcelain stone (petunse/petuntse/baidunzi) as used mainly at Jingdezhen here. I'm not sure that your pottery stone is the same thing. Regards, Nick. Nick 14:09, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi Nick, Thanks for the message and sorry I'm sorry I'm so late in replying - I've been away & then v. busy at work. Anyway I had added a mention of feldspar as mineralogically Stones can be very complicated. Whilst many are rich in various micas all contain amounts of other minerals, and it is not unusual to find varying amounts of feldspar. I think the entry does need some reference to the complex mineralogy. Kind regards, Andy

Hi Andy, oddly enough, I came across some oxide analyses of Chinese porcelain stone and Cornish pottery stone on the 'net recently and it appears that the two are quite alike in terms of chemistry, but no mention was made of mineralogy. If you can find anything on the mineralogy of Chinese porcelain stone (CPS) that suggests it contains feldspar, this should obviously go into the article. To be honest, in view of where it comes from it seems likely to me that CPS must contain at least some feldspar, but I just can't find a reference to support this view (beyond the old "porcelain is made from china clay and feldspar" thing, which has been handed down from one generation to the next). Once a myth gets embedded in a discipline it's the Devil's own job to shift it (for a laugh, see my posting today in Talk:Ammonite). Regards, Nick. Nick 14:21, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

New pictures[edit]

Oh dear, what do we do about this? I suppose people are trying to be helpful, but a load of pictures dumped into an article without explanatory text doesn't seem to add much value. Someone did this with that Tang horse and I suppose I'd better write this up. The picture of the Dehua figurine I'll move to the Dehua article and if no-one objects in a few days I'll comment-out the pointers to the other newly posted pictures (unless someone feels like writing them up). Regards, Nick. Nick 09:00, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

To the anonymous user who posted the new pictures. I've just reverted your changes because I believe that dumping a load of pictures at random into the article doesn't help in any way to tell the story of Chinese porcelain. There is a page for Dehua porcelain, BTW, and I've moved the picture of the Dehua figurine there. If you care to contribute some text on the other pictures you posted, that would be fine, but pictures on their own without context are very confusing. This isn't Flickr! <grin>. Regards, Nick. Nick 15:32, 3 August 2006 (UTC)


Hello Andy, I wasn't proposing to change what you've written, but I am a little puzzled by the notion that Porcelain stone & kaolin are rocks not minerals. They're both, I'd have thought. Regards, Nick. Nick 09:17, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi Nick, Thanks for the question, and to reply:

  • Minerals - are naturally and industrially occurring chemical compounds with characteristic atomic structures and chemical compositions that vary within limits
  • Rocks are aggregates of minerals

So as an example: granite is a rock, the major constituents of which are the minerals quartz, mica and feldspar (this of course ignores that there are diferent micas & feldspars)

Oh addition to the above after posting:

  • Kaolin is a rock that consists primarily of the mineral kaolinite plus various accessory minerals
  • Pottery & Porcelain stones is a very large group that is not well-defined. However they are all aggregates of minerals, and in the different sorts can be found micas, kaolinite, quartz, feldspar + others

Kind regards,


No mention of Ming?[edit]

  • "The best periods of Ming porcelain arranged in order of merit, and not in order of date, were Suen-tih (1426–1436), Ching-hwa (1465-1488), Yung-lo (1403-1425), Keatsing (1522-1567)." [1]

Yet this article seems to suggest that the interesting period for chinese porcelain finishes perhaps 1300. It seems something of a gap. Regards, Ben Aveling 11:05, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

For what they're worth, most of the words in this article seem to be mine and I've not been working on it for the last few months (we're on holiday in New Zealand, but returning to England next week). I'll get back to work on it soon. In the article, I've tried very hard to avoid ranking Chinese ceramics according to some notional system of merit, but yes, there are huge holes to be filled-in, including the porcelains of the Ming dynasty. The trouble is that as it stands, the article reflects my personal taste, unfortunately. Anyway, I'll finish the section on sancai wares and then try and broaden things out. Regards, Nick. Nick 00:59, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Ming vase redirects here, and that's why I'm here. I was wondering what makes a Ming vase so special that it's iconic for something expensive and fragile. How much do they cost? How big are they? How many are there? —Ben FrantzDale 15:11, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your interest. I don't think I can answer your question about what makes them special. To be honest, I find it difficult to put into words the reasons why I like the things I like; I do however know what I like. Some everyday Ming ceramics aren't expensive to buy, while at the other end of the market you can pay millions. But who's to say that an expensive Ming pot is 'better' than a cheaper one? Nick 12:56, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

The present day[edit]

Quote "from early times until the present day" yet the article is all about old Chinese porcelain. Maybe the description needs to be changed or extra sections addedTheriac 17:11, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

  • I agree completely with the idea that the article needs expanding along the lines you suggest. What we need is more people ready to contribute, but these are a bit thin on the ground, I'm afraid. Regards, Nick. Nick 18:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Messed-up article[edit]

I noticed someone deleted the article and replaced it with HAHAHA. I pasted a copy of the original article, minus the HTML format. Perhaps someone could fix this? YIGMoA

Porcelain stone[edit]

Hi Nick, I can't say I agree with your recent edit, as:

  • There are many stones. I tried to reflect this in my version. Your current version suggest there is just one.
  • There are so many different stones it is impossible to say what the composition is, and hence why I went for "no fixed composition"

ThanxTheriac 21:31, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Hello Theriac, I'd take variable composition and no fixed composition as meaning the much the same thing, it's not something I'd argue about. The reason I made the edit is that as it stood the article suggested that Chinese porcelain stone is micaceous in character, which it is, but that in addition it also contained a separate constituent, sericite. But sericite is a mica, it's one of the things that makes the stone micaceous. You'll see the problem I'm sure, if you look back to the older edits. Regards, Nick. Nick 11:08, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi Nick. Perhaps a bad choice of words as variable composition and no fixed composition are different:

  • variable composition means that the materials are inconsitent. This can lead to difficulties for manufacturers.
  • no fixed composition. There is no single stone. There are many different types. Some can be very different from others. They are not like, say, quartz where a theoretical composition of SiO2 can be quoted.
  • Most are micaceous but there are other types also.
  • Not all stones are sericitic.
  • Micas are a group. Sercities are a group. They are related but not the same.

A lot to get in an article about Chinese porcelain I know. But maybe that's why my original words were not so good! ThanxTheriac 04:01, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

That picture[edit]

The Ming jar or vase from the Freer is hardly Ming. Can't anyone find something better. Iwanafish —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It's very difficult, people trying to be helpful dump pictures in the article that really serve no purpose without words of explanation in the text. That Tang horse was one of several that arrived in this way, I commented-out the pictures except for the horse, which I started to write up some time ago, but it still needs more work. If you felt inclined to blow the picture of the jar away I certainly wouldn't object, Ming or not. Regards, Nick. Nick 10:24, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I have several possible pieces to put on. Will do in a few days. But I do not have a real classic early to middle Ming official ware example. Hummm. Another matter that seems out of whack is the title for this page. Why not a "Chinese ceramics" page. The fact that Chinese and Japanese makes no distinction is not a reason for an false-inclusive term. User:Iwanafish.

I'd go along with the idea of the article changing its name to "Chinese ceramics", looking back it would have been better had it been created under that name (I am the person to blame here). How one goes about changing it I'm not sure and I suppose we ought to consult before we do, because it might broaden the scope of the article in unexpected ways (to include bricks, tiles, technical ceramics, et cetera). But on the other hand it would also allow things like Neolithic pottery to be covered. Regards, Nick. Nick 08:42, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Just click on the "move page" tab at the top of the article. Or click here. I'd just suggest waiting a few more hours first, in case anyone wants to object. Regards, Ben Aveling 09:50, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Moved. Regards, Ben Aveling 10:58, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Ben, that's given me some work to do <g>.

Scope of article[edit]

Now that the scope of the article has been extended to cover all Chinese ceramics, I think it might be time to move the notable Chinese porcelain wares to separate articles (they were written with this possibility in mind). Oh, and at the top of the article I was thinking about defining its scope to include bricks, tiles, ceramics used in the casting of bronzes, pottery and porcelain, but excluding pretty much everything else (technical porcelains, for example). What do we think? Regards, Nick. Nick 08:44, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I'd be tempted to leave those sections where they are, unless you want to expand them considerably. Neither they nor the page as a whole is too big. I agree with your temptation to expand the scope to fit the new title. What are technical porcelains? Regards, Ben Aveling 10:07, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

False teeth, ceramic bearings, ceramic filters, abrasion resistant linings, ball mills for the cosmetics industry, that sort of thing. I'll leave the notable porcelains in place for the time being. Regards, Nick. Nick 12:09, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh I see. Modern stuff, that doesn't fit here. I don't think that needs to be made explicit, at least, I hope not. Hmmm. I guess we could rename the page to "Traditional Chinese ceramics" or "Historical Chinese ceramics"? But maybe we don't need to. Perhaps wait and see, maybe there isn't going to be a problem, and if it does turns out to be a problem, at least we'll know what we need to fix instead of trying to preempt we don't know what. Regards, Ben Aveling 06:05, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

The discussion of "notable" is good here. The article should be a general introduction access or reference area for specialized articles. As such the article should be revised with extraneous material edited out. As specialized articles appear then new references can be added. The article suffers from an information overload. Tight and to the point? Iwanafish

Sorry Iwanafish, I'm not the brightest lamp in the barn. Does your comment immediately above mean that you agree that the notable porcelains should be farmed out to separate articles? Regards, Nick. Nick 15:53, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Pictures, again[edit]

Perhaps it might be a good idea to move all of the pictures in this article, except for those of items discussed in the text, to a new section, Gallery, down at the bottom. This would allow us to put in pictures of a good range of Chinese ceramics without cluttering up the text too much. How do we feel? Regards, Nick. Nick 15:53, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Go for it. If there are better pictures, add them. If a gallery adds value, add one. Cheers, Ben Aveling 09:16, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Done! The more pictures the merrier now. Regards, Nick. Nick 18:40, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I like it. Needs more pictures, but I like the way the galleries are set up to showcase the different eras. Regards, Ben Aveling 11:35, 28 April 2007 (UTC)


The article today says both that "Qingbai in Chinese literally means "clear white", and "qingbai in Chinese means greenish-blue". Can anyone clear this up?

Rose Kerr and He Li both say that 'qingbai' may be translated as 'bluish white'. Margaret Medley says 'clear white'. Nigel Wood says 'blue white'. Regards, Nick. Nick (talk) 13:34, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
So there is no source for "greenish-blue". These words should be removed. Marshall46 (talk) 22:41, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I checked with a Chinese speaker who said that bai means white and qing means blue, green or black! I suggest the consensus in English language literature on the topic is "blue-white". Marshall46 (talk) 22:52, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
This seems to be confusion between 清白 and 青白; they are pronounced the same but the characters are different. 清 is 'pure' and 青 is green/blue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by EastAsiaStudent (talkcontribs) 09:33, 14 April 2011 (UTC)


I have just tagged the following Both are composed of platy minerals consisting of small platelets that ultimately allow the material to hold large amounts of water. This is important as various methods used for forming the body parts depend on the application of compression to align the platelets. This is because it's pants!! Before I remove I have noted it here to allow a citation - which given it is pants I bet can not be found - or a re-write. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Certainly agree so will remove —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:06, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Famille jaune, noire, rose, verte doesn't really look like it belongs as a seperate article to me, could it be merged in here? Mutt (talk) 14:15, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I agree; it's hardly long enough to merit its own article, and there is scarcely enough information for it to stand alone. It would be much better placed within the Chinese Ceramics entry - perhaps under 'Types' as a general heading 'Enamel ware' ? I don't really know how to do mergers (just copy & paste?), or I'd go ahead and put them together.Isocephaly (talk) 17:29, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Of course it should be merged: I just can't think of any valid reason why it should be separate. As it is, not having them here is confusing. -- (talk) 01:58, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
This is certainly too limited to be a stand-alone page, especially since these terms are variably defined and were invented by Europeans (note the language) in the nineteenth century as convenient in describing porcelain that was decorated in translucent enamels, usually with a background of the specified color. There is a good description and history of these terms in Margaret Medley's The Chinese Potter, Cornell Univ. Press, NY, 1976, pp 242-243. Since these terms are still seen in books and articles, they should be included somewhere, perhaps under Chinese Glazes or Ceramic Glazes, but not as a separate item under Chinese Porcelain.Geldanus66 (talk) 18:59, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

I believe that each of the "famille"types should have their own articles eventually and not simply merged. Two reasons: (i) each famille color has a long tradition in Chinese ceramics that deserves its own pedigree and description; (ii) terms like famille noir and famille rose have a mild secondary meaning.-----Chris

RFC on China and PRC[edit]

There is a discussion open on the naming of various articles, China and the People's Republic of China. This article has been mentioned in relation to the request. (talk) 04:54, 15 May 2008 (UTC)


  • "The Chinese term for porcelain (Chinese: 瓷, cí) covers a wide range of high-fired ceramics, some of which may not be recognized as porcelain by Western definitions." Has the writer spoken to anybody in China about porcelain? They use very similar definitions to the rest of the world.
  • "Porcelain is usually green-fired or once-fired, which means that the body and the glaze are fired together." Not necessarily as twice firing is common.
  • "After the body of a piece is formed and finished it is dried, coated with a glaze, dried again and fired. In the high temperature of the kiln the body and the glaze are fused together to become a unit. Chinese enamelled wares are also produced in this way, except enamels are added after the first high-temperature firing. The pieces are then fired again in a second round via a smaller, lower-temperature kiln." This is a not a very good description of the production process which has no relevance in a section called Terminology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:12, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps you could suggest a re-working? I agree that there are a number of problems with this article and it's quite confusing in general. I made some pretty minor changes & don't really have time for a major edit right now, but I think it could use some TLC; it's quite fragmented right now. Cheers, Isocephaly (talk) 17:30, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

  • OK, I gave a try on editing that troublesome into section; I merged the "terminology" and "category" sections, and tried to reword a bit. I left the 'dubious' tags, so please take a look if you like and add your edits. Cheers, Isocephaly (talk) 01:08, 18 September 2008 (UTC)


This needs to be changed. The vast majority of the articel is about porcelain, which is only a small part of the wide field of ceramics. The article completely ignores virtually all ceramics, which inclues bricks, wall tiles, toilets, high-tension insulators, ballstic protection plates, missile nose cones etc etc etc etc

I think you raise a fair point; would you like to suggest a new title? Maybe something like "Chinese Porcelain Ceramics" would be more fitting ? Isocephaly (talk) 04:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Chinese ceramic art would cover it fine, or leave it as it is. Stoneware should be here - tiles were never that important in China, were they? Johnbod (talk) 04:01, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Maybe Chinese ceramic and porcelian arts? This article can be a gateway article or an introductory article. Enfermero (talk) 22:07, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


I'm a little concerned about the definition of porcelain again; a few months ago I made some edits that were aimed at clarifying what distinguishes porcelain from other types of ceramics, and I can see they've been altered to something that is both more general and uncited. If my source (Lion-Goldschmidt) is incorrect then that's fair, but it would be really helpful if it were replaced by something else that is concrete. (Also, by adding new information without changing the citation makes the citation wrong - the information that is now attributed to Lion-Goldschmidt is not at all what she says.) The definition now reads, "the difference between porcelain and stoneware is open to debate, but can include the raw materials used and the visual appearance of the finsihed item." So my next questions are: OK, who are the main players in this debate, then? What do they each argue? What are the relevant differences in raw materials, and what specifically are the characteristics of the finished items that separate porcelain from other types of ceramic? I'm going to reinsert Goldschmidt's definition, and would love to have other ones included. One of my biggest sources of frustration in studying Chinese porcelain and ceramics has been that this "debate" is ever alluded to and never stated outright. For the student (like me) clarification and citations on this point would be enormously helpful. I'd especially welcome users and to weigh-in since you seem to have a greater level of expertise and some strong feelings on the matter. Cheers, thanks! Isocephaly (talk) 04:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi - I guess what does not help is the title of the article is Chinese ceramics and yet the article itself is about old Chinese porcelain. This is needs clarification for a number of reasons, including 1.) ceramics is a wide ranging group of materials that includes, but is far from being limited to, porcelain. 2.) China now is making a huge amount of porcelain, and other ceramics, yet this contempoary production is ignored in an article which purports to be about it.
Regarding your request for a defintion. A good start would be that quoted in porcelain, this is [whiteware ceramic which is] "completely vitrified, hard, impermeable (even before glazing), white or artificially coloured, translucent (except when of considerable thickness) and resonant." The Goldschmidt's definition is worth ignoring. Not only is it from a unauthoritative source but it is, to put it bluntly, wrong:- 1.) High fired is rather meaningless, 2.) many porcelains are made without pottery stone, both inside and outside China, 3.) 'the presence of kaolin or pottery stone' is incorrect because after firing these will not be present, 4.) many porcelains do not have a 'glassy look on fracture.'
I personally can not see why porcelain needs to be defined on this page :- that is what the wikilinks are useful for. What I do believe is that either the article needs renaming (something like Antique Chinese Porcelain) or the content be extend beyond what is currently is to include all Chinese ceramics. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:08, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
As above, Chinese ceramic art would cover it fine, or leave it as it is. Johnbod (talk) 04:03, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Defining porcelain[edit]

"... the presence of a significant proportion of porcelain-building minerals (china clay, porcelain stone or a combination of both) as an important factor in defining porcelain." This is not correct, and as far as I can see unreferenced.

  • Neither china clay nor porcelain stone are minerals. (also pottery stone & kaolin are the more usual names.)
  • Defintions of porcelains do not necessarily reference the raw materials used.
  • No defintion would note any presence of china clay or porcelain stone as after firing (an essential stage in the production of porcelain) these would no longer be present.
  • The Chinese use the same defintions as the rest of the world (why wouldn't they?) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Chinese influences on Islamic pottery[edit]

Please introduce a link to Chinese influences on Islamic pottery. Per Honor et Gloria  08:33, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Yue ware[edit]

Please introduce a link to Yue ware. Per Honor et Gloria  13:22, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Cizhou ware[edit]

Cizhou ware, Northern Song, 11-12th century, China.

Per Honor et Gloria  08:21, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Stunning. Beautiful. A masterpiece! Thanks for sharing.--Pericles of AthensTalk 01:46, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Article doesn't address Chinese ceremics[edit]

Classification of ceramics: While name of article is Chinese ceramics, it deals mainly with porcelain (chinaware) icetea8 (talk) 12:44, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

I (partly) agree, and looking above people have said this before. What I disagree with what you say is "it deals mainly with porcelain" because it deals mainly with ANTIQUE porcelain. For a title of "Chinese ceramics" nothing is said about ceramics that are not porcelain and nothing is said about current Chinese ceramics (China makes more ceramics, and including porcelain, than the rest of the world together)!!! And I do not agree with "Chinaware", I have never seen this word before.GeoffreySuchart (talk) 04:26, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
short bit on modern stuff added. "Chinaware" is a fairly common older term. Johnbod (talk) 13:22, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

'the dynastic periods'[edit]

The first sentence is pretty bizarre. "Chinese ceramic ware is an artform that has been developing since the dynastic periods". This is extremely vague; dynastic Chinese history runs from 222 BCE to 1911 CE, so 'since the dynastic periods' places it anywhere in more than 2000 years of history. --EastAsiaStudent (talk) 09:37, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

add a "pre-" and it all makes sense. Johnbod (talk) 13:03, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Delft/faience picture[edit]

I was merely browsing through the article and found the section on famille rose but wondered why the illustrative example was not of a Chinese plate but a Delft or faience article, if indeed it is not Chinese porcelain. Skimming through the text I didn't spot a reference to the image or to Delftware. Is this a mistake? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tumblingsky (talkcontribs) 14:27, 17 July 2011 (UTC)