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Home > Display > Gallery of Chinese Ancient Ceramics
Gallery of Chinese Ancient Ceramics
The collection of ancient ceramics is another unique feature of Shanghai Museum. Masterpieces of pottery and porcelain selected from different periods are displayed in a green background, giving a relaxed and harmonious atmosphere. More than 500 fine specimens are shown in the space of 1,300 square meters, including painted and gray pottery of the Neolithic period, proto-type celadon of the Shang, the Zhou, the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods, fine celadon of the Eastern Han and famous polychrome-glazed pottery of the Tang dynasty. During the Liao, the Song, and the Jin dynasties, celadon kilns emerged in various places of China. Green, white, black-glazed ware and porcelain with painted designs became popular, thus a wide variety of porcelain blossomed in lots of color. Throughout the Yuan, the Ming and the Qing dynasties, Jingdezhen was the center of porcelain production and its exquisite products became well known all over the world.

Pottery of the Neolithic period
Pottery was an important innovation of the Neolithic Age. Along with domestication and sedentary life, ancient people learned how to make pottery. Neolithic archaeological sites and cultures have been found all over China. Distinctive workmanship and decoration of Neolithic pottery became representatives of different cultures in time and space.
Emergence of proto-porcelain in the Shang and Zhou dynasties
Proto-celadon appeared no later than the Shang period and was produced in large quantities during the periods of the Western Zhou, the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States. After the Western and Eastern Han dynasties, their production declined. Proto- celadon contains essential features of porcelain but still displayed some primitive characteristics, which represented the initial stage of porcelain production.
Ceramics during the periods of the Han, Wei (Wu State), Western Jin and Eastern Jin and the Northern and Southern dynasties
Celadon production was gradually matured during the Eastern Han and further developed during the Wei (Wu State) and the Western Jin periods. The scale of celadon production was enlarged during the periods of the Eastern Jin, the Southern dynasty and the Sui dynasty, but their quality declined slightly. From the Northern dynasty, matured celadon appeared at kilns in northern China and many masterpieces of high quality were manufactured.
Polychrome-glazed pottery during the Tang dynasty and the development of porcelain during the periods of the Tang and the Five dynasties
Polychrome-glazed pottery of the Tang dynasty represented a significant advance in ceramic production. The tri-colored glazed pottery was the best representative. At the same time, porcelain production also underwent rapid development in southern China. Both Yue-ware celadon in the south and Xing-ware white porcelain in the north characterized the highest achievements of ceramic production in ancient China.
Ceramics of the Song, Liao and Jin dynasties
During the Song, Liao and Jin dynasties, the ceramic production flourished spectacularly. During the Song dynasty, five well known kilns, Ru, Guan, Ge, Ding and Jun, manufactured exquisite porcelain wares for royal families. In addition, folk kilns both in the south and the north produced many unique wares of high quality. Porcelain manufacture of the Liao and Xi-Xia regimes in northern China provided many distinctive products with ethnic style and craftsmanship. Meanwhile, production of blue-white porcelain at the Jingdezhen greatly promoted its position in China.
Jingdezhen porcelain during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties
?During the Yuan dynasty, Jingdezhen had possessed mass production capability of matured underglaze blue porcelain. During the Ming and Qing periods, Jingdezhen became the royal kiln for a long period of time. Numerous new products were created, which made great contribution to the production of both folk and royal kilns. Jingdezhen porcelain with super quality and elegant style won universal appreciation all over the world. Consequently, Jingdezhen has been praised as the "Capital of Porcelain.
Ming and Qing ceramics from areas beyond Jingdezhen
Ceramics were produced all over China during the Ming and Qing periods.Famous products include white Dehua wares from Fujian Province, Yixing Zisha ("purple clay") wares from Jiangsu Province,Shiwan wares from Guangdong Province,and white Zhangzhou wares from Fujian Province. In northern China,Fahua pottery in Shanxi Province and porcelain of Cizhou kiln in Hebei Province were also well known for their mass production.
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