Antique Handmade Dragon Chinese Tea Pot, 20th Century, cm. 17 x 18.
Porcelain in China
Porcelain is a type of pottery made from kaolin, a fine whitish clay composed of quartz and feldspar, that becomes hard, glossy and nearly transparent when it is fired in a kiln. The word “porcelain” reportedly is derived from the Italian word porcella, meaning little pig, or possibly from a similar word meaning female pig genitals. The name was given first to a smooth, white, cowrie shell, and then to the smooth, white finish on porcelain pottery. The term “porcelain” was used in Marco Polo’s writings. Porcelain pieces can be dated by their inscribed reign marks.
True porcelain is made of fine kaolin clay and feldspar, also known as petuntse or Chinese stone. It is white, thin and transparent or translucent. Before it is shaped the kaolin is mixed, filtered and vacuum pressed into slabs for ageing.
Blue and white porcelain has traditionally been made from kaolin clay mined near Jingdezhen, a town in southern China, and mixed with a particular kind of cobalt imported from Persia. Other kinds of porcelain include underglaze red, underglaze blue, copper red (used for imperial ceremonies), “sweet-white,” peacock blue and celadon green.
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