Introducing the Porcelain (Ci Qi)
China is the first nation to manufacture true porcelain in the world, as suggested by its name, china. Seven or eight thousands years ago during the new Stone Age, the inhabitants of the Yellow River Basin began to make pottery. The larger quantities of unearthed vessels showed that the vitreous glazes had come into use by the time of the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th centuries B.C.). The Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) Dynasties were a time of rapid development in porcelain manufacture. And porcelain manufacture reached its pinnacle in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. The Ming and Qing porcelain ware, such as the polychrome, blue and white bowls, jugs and vases, are even better known today.During these dynasties, almost the entire porcelain industry was concentrated in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province. In the Ming Dynasty, porcelain painted in cobalt oxide under a glaze became the most famous and was shipped in large quantities to the Middle East and Near East. Actually, porcelain made in Jingdezhen began to find its way to Europe from the 17thcentury onwards and can be seen in many large museums today. Among the most famous types of porcelain during the Ming and Qing Dynasties are famille rose, blue and white Doucai, sacrificial red, rouge ware and misty blue eggshell porcelain.