Chapter II The Birth of Porcelain in the Eastern Han Period

Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) saw the birth of matured porcelain and the transition fromprimitive porcelain to modern porcelain.

Section I   Features of Eastern Han Porcelain

1.   Features of Eastern Han porcelain

Eastern Han porcelain was exquisitely produced with a hard and thin inner body, fine texture and was water-proof; the body was of grayish white or pale greenish gray and was highly vitreous. The glaze was clean, bright, and evenly applied in bluish green, a small quantity was in bluish yellow. The method of glaze immersion was used. Most products were daily necessities such as bowls, plates, jars and pots. However there had been little change in ornamental patterns from those on pottery.

 2.   The earliest black porcelain

Black porcelain came into being at the late period of the Eastern Han period. It was produced with a material of low temperature sintering at circa 1,200 , its content of ferric oxide was 2.3%-2.8% and its color was grayish black. The production of black porcelain developed fairly quickly because of lower cost, simpler technique. On the whole the quality of the inner body wasn’t as good and the glaze was not evenly applied. The picture on the left is a black glaze water pot produced in the Tang Dynasty.



Section II   Kilns of Eastern Han

The earliest Eastern Han porcelain kiln was discovered at Shangyu County of Zhejiang Province, which was the main production center of porcelain at that time, owing to its rich deposit of quartzite, kaolin and similar minerals as well as developed porcelain production technique possessed by the area.Celadon of Eastern Han was produced at a kind of kiln that was called “dragon kiln”, so named because of its long chamber in the shape of a dragon. Kiln chamber in the Eastern Han period was about 10 meters long, which could not only allow more products to be baked, but also lengthened the baking time and ensure an equal distribution of heat. Such a structure could heat up or cool off fairly quickly and formed a reducing atmosphere. At the same time kilns in the north were also greatly improved.









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