Professor Hai Shi Lee from the UCLA Center For Chinese Studies interviewed Dr. Wang Guanyi on the history of Chinese porcelain. Dr. Wang is the Associate Curator of Arts at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also participated in the excavation of the Qin muslin site and was a key participant in the study of the east and west. After a brief introduction to her job and her museum, Dr. Wang set about talking about the history of Chinese porcelain.
Dr. Wang said that she first became interested in Chinese art when she was a child. She would often visit the National Palace Museum in Taipei with her family, and she was always fascinated by the beauty and craftsmanship of the Chinese art on display.
Chinese porcelain is a type of ceramic ware which was first developed in China in the 7th century and has continued to evolve throughout the centuries. Widely collected and appreciated for its exquisite beauty, Chinese porcelain is a unique and highly sought-after form of art.
Porcelain is a type of ceramic made from a special form of clay called kaolin. It is a hard, dense material which is fired at extremely high temperatures, resulting in a delicate yet strong material. Chinese porcelain is distinguished by its unique glazing and distinctive colors. This is achieved by adding metal oxides to the glaze which reacts with the heat of the kiln to form a glossy, glass-like surface.
According to Dr. Wang, the origins of Chinese porcelain can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty which ruled from 618 to 907 AD. This period saw the introduction of the pottery wheel which allowed for easier production and increased quality control. The use of colored glazes and the addition of metal oxides to achieve a range of colors also began during this period.
During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), porcelain became a popular form of art, with the production of pieces for the Imperial court as well as for the general public. The Chinese developed a range of decorative techniques, such as the ‘famille verte’ (green family) in which green was used as a background color for other colors, and the ‘famille rose’ (pink family) in which pink was used as a background color. These decorative techniques were further developed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 AD).
The production of Chinese porcelain reached its peak during the Qing Dynasty, when the Imperial workshops developed a range of exquisite pieces. These pieces were admired for their delicate colors, intricate designs and fine craftsmanship. The Imperial workshops also developed a range of porcelain pieces which were exported abroad, sparking a craze for Chinese porcelain in Europe.
East Meets West
Professor Lee then asked Dr. Wang about the impact of European colonialism on the porcelain trade. Dr. Wang discussed how the Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a permanent presence in Asia, and how they used their control of the porcelain trade to make a great deal of profit. She also discussed how the European demand for porcelain led to a boom in the production of porcelain in Asia, and how this period of innovation and creativity led to the production of some of the most beautiful and intricate porcelain ever made.
The interview then turned to the topic of the current state of the porcelain trade. Dr. Wang discussed how the rise of China as a global economic power has led to a renewed interest in Chinese porcelain. She also discussed how the increasing demand for porcelain has led to a rise in prices, and how this has made it difficult for some people to afford it.
Professor Lee then asked Dr. Wang about the future of the porcelain trade. Dr. Wang discussed how she believes that the porcelain trade will continue to grow in the future, and how she believes that China will continue to be a major player in the porcelain trade. She also discussed how she believes that the increasing demand for porcelain will lead to a greater appreciation for Chinese culture and art.
Dr. Wang believes that porcelain is a symbol of Chinese culture and history, and that it is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Chinese people