Dynasties and Their Artwork
It is said that ceramics first began in China 6,000 years ago during what is called the New Stone Age. The earliest pottery ware was made by hand. Clay was fired at a temperature of 500-600 C. It wasn’t until during the Yangshao and Longshan Cultures that painted pottery first began to appear.
The Qin Dynasty holds a responsible hand in the artwork of early China. Their statues which were called terra-cota, meaning baked earth, were discovered during the early 20th century. They provided exquisite proof of the kin-firing and sculpture skills that were very high in the Qin Dynasty. Clay was used in the making of these fine statues. The clay their was found to be coarse enough to make life-sized sculptures. The terra-cotta were fired in large brick kilns at high temperatures using wood as the source of fuel. The height of each warrior stood from 1.75 meters to 1.98 meters tall. These figures weighed over 200kg each.
What strikes the art goers are the faces expressed on these figures. The expressions represent the attitude and personality of statue, maybe even its purpose. These sculptures were often referred to as a “spirit army”.
The introduction of Tri-coloured Tang glazed pottery was introduced in the Tang Dynasty. The main colors of this ceramic was usually yellow, green, and white, although some pieces only had two or four colors. This item was well known throughout the world during its time.
These tri-coloured Tangs came in the shape of horses, camels, female figurines, dragon-head mugs, figurines of musicians and acrobats, and pillows. It was the camels though that were the most awed at. The techniques used in the making of these ceramics were clay-strip forming and incising which were used on the body, Chinese painting, and sculpture. The glazes used to liven the sculpture gave out smooth tones.
During the Northern Song Dynasty the Eggshell China was introduced. It was extraordinary for it’s exquisite thinness. It was also elegant for it’s speck less white, and translucent color. Their have been Eggshell China discovered in the shapes of bowls, vases, cups, and lamp-shades.
Craftsmanship is needed to complete this piece that required a high skill level of pottery. The finest kaolin is used in the making of Eggshell China. After mixing the ingredients and manipulating the clay to strict standards, the potter then molds this clay into the body of the object. The craftsman then follows and uses a variety of cutting tools to shape the sculpture thin and the piece is finally fired in a high temperature of 1300 C.
Chinese porcelain knocked their way in during the Eastern Han Dynasty. They were formed in the village of Jingezhen. These pieces were so popular that many government kilns were set up to meet the wants of the Imperial House. It was given so much due that eventually the chinese perfected the art of porcelain. The history of porcelain still exists in New China as a ceramic research institute, ceramic museum, the addition of 5 kaolin quarries, 15 porcelain factories, two porcelain machinery plants, one porcelain chemical plant, two refractory materials factories, and countless number of porcelain processing workplaces.
It is no doubt that the people in the various dynasties have contributed to most if not all of the artwork existing now in present day China. Their works have been astounding and resides as one of elite in ceramics.