De­con­struct­ing Chi­nese An­tique Porce­lain

Porce­lain is a pro­found in­ven­tion of an­cient Chi­nese peo­ple and also a ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to hu­man civ­i­liza­tion from the Chi­nese na­tion.

China Pictorial (English) - - NEWS - By Fan Dongqing, pub­lished by Shang­hai Peo­ple’s Pub­lish­ing House, July 2018

Porce­lain emerged in China as early as the Shang Dy­nasty (1600-1046 B.C.), mak­ing it the world’s ear­li­est porce­lain-pro­duc­ing coun­try by far. Porce­lain is not only a pro­found in­ven­tion of an­cient Chi­nese peo­ple, but also a pow­er­ful con­tri­bu­tion to hu­man civ­i­liza­tion from the Chi­nese na­tion.

Since the 17th cen­tury, Chi­nese porce­lain has been trans­ported around the world by sea, and China gained a rep­u­ta­tion as “the coun­try of porce­lain,” so much so that the ma­te­rial is called “china” in many English- speak­ing coun­tries.

The Song Dy­nasty (960-1279) fos­tered a boom in the an­cient Chi­nese porce­lain in­dus­try, dur­ing which time porce­lain kilns were con­structed across the coun­try. With con­trast­ing strong lo­cal fla­vors, the Guan, Ru, Ge, Ding and Jun kilns were dubbed the “Five Fa­mous Kilns” of China at that time.

Com­piled from the manuscripts writ­ten by Ms. Fan Dongqing, one of the ear­li­est dis­cov­er­ers of the Ru Kiln, the book De­con­struct­ing Chi­nese An­tique Porce­lain

de­scribes the styles, fea­tures and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tips of 13 rep­re­sen­ta­tive an­cient ce­ramic kilns in the Tang ( 618- 907) and Song dy­nas­ties in­clud­ing the “Five Fa­mous Kilns.” The pub­li­ca­tion also in­cludes pic­tures from var­i­ous as­pects of dis­cov­ered pieces, his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ma­te­ri­als and ex­ca­va­tion work.

It should be noted that the porce­lain in­cense burner with a lid in the shape of a deer hold­ing a Lingzhi mush­room ( Gan­o­derma lu­cidum) fea­tured on the cover of this book is owned by a pri­vate col­lec­tor in Bei­jing and had never be­fore been dis­played to the pub­lic. The piece has only been par­tially cat­a­logued as part of the col­lec­tion of the Palace Mu­seum in Bei­jing.

The pub­lisher of the book has also cre­ated a 720- de­gree 3D in­tern­ter-ac­tive panoramic im­age to en­able ble read­ers to en­joy the ex­quis­ite ware in de­tail by scan­ning a QR code e on the cover.

Lu Chen­g­long, a re­search li­brar­ian, deputy chief of the An­tique Uten­sil Depart­ment of f the Palace Mu­seum and di­rec­tor or of the Chi­nese So­ci­ety for An­cient cient Ce­ram­ics, penned the pref­ace of the book, in which he called it an au­thor­i­ta­tive and cred­i­ble source rce on an­cient Chi­nese porce­lain.

He also noted that Ms. Fan an has been study­ing porce­lain for most ost of her life and pro­duced a mas­sive ssive vol­ume of notes and manuscripts through hard work. There­fore, the book is not only in­for­ma­tive but also easy to un­der­stand, mak­ing it well worth read­ing and study­ing.

Fan Dongqing was formerly di­rec­tor of the Ce­ramic Re­search Depart­ment and re­search li­brar­ian at the Shang­hai Mu­seum and re­mains a mem­ber of the Shang­hai Cul­tural Relics Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee. She now serves as a con­sul­tant with the Shang­hai Of­fice of China Guardian Auc­tions Co., Ltd. and an in­vited ex­pert with an art auc­tion pro­gram of the China Busi­ness Net­work un­der the Shang­hai Me­dia Group.

While liv­ing in the United States in the 1990s, she worked as a con­sul­tant for the Chi­nese Art Depart­ment at Sotheby’s, chief ap­praiser of the Ori­en­tal­ist Art Depart­ment at Christie’s in New York and spe­cial re­searcher at the Brook­lyn Mu­seum, the Freer Gallery of Art in Wash­ing­ton and the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Art Gallery.

“This book ends at the Song Dy­nasty, but there are so many more sto­ries re­lated to an­cient Chi­nese porce­lain that I must con­tinue to share them,” Fan said.

An an­tique porce­lain elain plate.

A jar with carved de­signs from the Cizhou Kiln, dat­ing back to the Song Dy­nasty (960-1279), 20.5cm in height.

A painted vase with crabap­ple flower and bird pat­terns.

A brown- glazed an­tique porce­lain ware from the Shanxi Kiln.

A painted pow­der box with plant pat­terns.

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