Iron in the Fire: The Chinese Potters’ Exploration of Iron Oxide Glazes
Iron in the Fire: the Chinese Potter’s Exploration of Iron Oxide Glazes: An Exhibition Held at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
The 1988 exhibition and the catalog provide technical information on the wide range of iron-based colors found on Ming and Qing porcelains. This is a very good book with beautiful illustration of a number of very good and important pieces. I also find it quite interesting to see the variations of color that could be accomplished by one metallic colorant oxide – iron. As usual the people at Percival David Foundation felt we should know this and as usual, they are right.
Hard to find.
London: The Oriental Ceramic Society, 1988.
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: Ashmolean Museum Publications (January 1, 1988)
Organized geographically by provinces, the guide provides information on pottery in these provinces, with informative descriptions and illustrations. The book is from 1983 and when it comes to historical reference literature I feel this is actually good. This is just a few years after the Cultural Revolution and the modern industrialization have not yet altered all traditional industries.
I have seen this book availavle from around $30 to more than $300 and would like to suggest that you look around some before you hit the ‘buy’ button.
Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1983. Illustrated with photographs in colour and black and white, maps. 28 cm. XIII, 144 pages
The book also on the Smithsonian reading list.
Catalog of a traveling exhibition with an excellent overview with details of Chinese celadon, its history and technological aspects. Appendix A is an article by Pamela Vandiver and David Kingery, ceramics scientists, entitled Celadon: The Technological Basis of Their Visual Appearances, providing technical aspects of this ware.
Ice and green clouds: traditions of Chinese celadon. By Yutaka Mino and Katherine R. Tsiang. pp. 240, illus. in col. and b. and w., map. Indianapolis, Indianapolis Museum of Art in co-operation with Indiana University Press, 1986.
Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr (June 1987)
Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
Porcelains of Jingdezhen (Colloquies on Art & Archaeology in Asia; no. 16). Rosemary E. Scott (Ed.)
A seminar held on June 15-17 1992 in Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Sir Percival David and the 40th Annive (Colloquies on Art & Archaeology in Asia)
Contains 12 papers on the Jingdezhen kilns and their products, the most recent archaeological finds, types of wares from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, and export porcelain.
London: Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, 1993.
ISBN. 0 7286 0216 4
This is my favorite among the books that details Straits Chinese porcelain. The first edition appeared in 1983 but was soon followed by a second, amended, updated and corrected. For the casual browser the first edition would be perfectly all right while if you are more stringent with getting everything right you would want as late edition as possible of this book.
This beautifully illustrated volume presents Straits Chinese porcelain, an outside South East Asia little known category of 19th century polychrome enameled porcelain made in China, exclusively for export to the Straits Chinese communities of Southeast Asia. Some marks, glossary and bibliography included.
Begun with an unnumbered issue for 1921/22, it is published annually. Many of the articles are studies on Chinese ceramics, but also on other aspects of Chinese and Asian art. The entire series as well as individual issues are unequaled sources of scholarly discourse on Chinese ceramics. Highly recommended.
Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society,
ISSN 0306-0926. London: The Society, 1923-
There is archaeological evidence that ceramics have been made in Vietnam for ten thousand years. This monograph describes the different categories and the location of their manufacture. With examples presented in color.
This is the first comprehensive book of its kind in English, focused exclusively on pottery – the technology, production and artistic development – in Thailand in prehistory. Spanning the period from about 2200 BC to 500 AD, a rich repertoire of pottery working techniques, forms and decorative schemes is uncovered. This book examines pottery production in the Northeast, Central and Southeast seabord regions of Thailand. Differences and similarities in production are noted by site, region and chronology. Lavishly illustrated with color plates, maps and charts.
Catalog of an exhibition at China Institute Gallery, New York, it describes porcelains made at Jingdezhen between 1630 and 1700, focusing on the motifs of landscapes, scholar’s pursuits and the influence of Chinese landscape painting on the decoration of ceramics.
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: China Institute in America, New York 1995.
Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
Chinese Ceramics of the Transitional Period: 1620-1683, by Stephen Little
(New York, 1983)
Exhibition catalog. One of the earlier books that specifically tried to deal with the Ming / Qing Transitional period. Quite interesting and with some good explanations of porcelain motifs of the period and quite some attention spent on explaining the last decades of the Ming dynasty. Recommend as good and interesting. A bit too thin though, to be enough to cover this period.
Vietnamese ceramics exhibit a unique combination of indigenous creativity plus elements derived from other cultures such as China, Cambodia, Champa, and India. Decorative motifs, glaze types, production methods, perhaps even attitudes toward potting, differed distinctly from those of China. Using excellent clay from the Red River Valley — smooth, homogenous, gray-white-the Vietnamese created the most sophisticated ceramics in South-east Asia. The most definitive study of Vietnamese ceramics to date, this volume is a collaborative effort from experts around the world, including Vietnam, Japan, England, France, and the United States. Tracing the history and development of Vietnamese ceramics, the scholars examine the kiln sites of Vietnam, study techniques, and systematically categorize the field according to different traditions that had profound influence on the production of ceramics in Vietnam.
A superbly written and well produced book. Highly interesting and one that I personally find interesting to read together with other books, on for example Thai ceramics, for a better understanding of this South Chinese coastal area trade region and their ceramics.
Straits Chinese Porcelain: A Celebration of a Unique Malaysian Heritage Showcasing the Datin Seri Kee Ming-Yuet Collection, by Ming-Yuet Kee, is quite a large book with its 28×30 cm impressive frame.
This lavishly illustrated book is a celebration to “Straits Chinese Porcelain as a Malaysian heritage”. This heavily sponsored publication is a catalog of the personal collection of Datin Seri Kee Ming-Yuet, who is also the author. The authentication of the porcelain is credited Professor Qin Xi Lin and Dr. Cao Jian Wen of the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute.
The book features more than 150 pieces dating from the late Qing dynasty and the early years of the Republic are featured. Among them are plates, tea sets, wine warmers, jugs, teapots and bedroom sets. Most of them in undisputed Straits Chinese decoration while a few more general export patterns also have got some recognition. Each piece is accompanied by a detailed description, which are quite interesting both for the porcelain collectors as well as those wanting to become more familiar with the Baba Nyonya culture of the Malaccan peninsula.
Beside some patriotic slants in perspective the book contains quite a lot of information of this unique type of porcelain, its history and decoration. The full color photographic illustrations are stunning of the shapes and decorations that the author chooses to show. The only week point I can think of is that the definition of what constitutes Straits Chinese porcelain could have been tighter. Some of the undisputed glory of this magnificent ware is thus maybe not coming to its right but despite this, the book is an excellent starting point.
I would say that this is currently the number one book on Song ceramics right now. This volume highlights over 118 objects from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s magnificent collection to discuss China’s great age of ceramic production (1960-1279). The book is illustrated with many of the finest examples of Song ware in the Western world, many of which look astonishingly modern. The text, including research never before published in English, is complemented by newly taken photos.
The V&A’s collection of Song Dynasty ceramics ranges from rare and precious items to many interesting study pieces. In the last twenty years new research in China has led to a great expansion in knowledge about this fascinating ear. Rose Kerr has traveled to China annually and has brought together in this book the fruits of this research, much of it now published in the West for the first time. She uses it to provide context for the remarkable pieces illustrated here, and to bring the subject up-to-date for an English-speaking audience.
Rose Kerr are the former deputy keeper of the Asian department at the V&A Museum and is a much appreciated world authority on Song ceramics.
This book is a catalog from a Southeast Asian Ceramic Society exhibition in Singapore 1993. It is a very interesting review from a Chinese Scholars point of view about small items made for his desk. They are very nice and sophisticated and from a western point of view hard to understand and to identify properly. There are seal past boxes, brush rests, brush pots, water droppers, wrists rest, ink slabs and brush washers etc.
If you have an interest in these small and sophisticated Chinese porcelain collector’s items, this book is for you. The book is fun and focused. I find it very interesting myself and to read it through is well spent time in pleasant company with the well known and accomplished scholar Maura Rinaldi as your guide. She is as you might recognize also the author of the standard reference work “Kraak Porcelain”, also mentioned on this list.
The items span from the Song dynasty up until the Early Republic period.
Paperback: 151 pages
Publisher: Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (October 1995)
Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
The publication is a detailed study on the 14th-16th century Thai ceramic wares that played a role in the local Buddhist and animist religious ceremonies, approached from an art historical point of view. It also establishes the degree of interaction between the many cultures that influenced the form, design, function and usage of these wares, and draws on the underlying historic, religious and stylistic linkages with India, China, Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia.
A background to the history, politics, and cultural practices of Thailand introduces the subject, followed by a systematic analysis of the Thai products. Throughout the study, comparisons are made with other Asian cultures, decorative styles and chronology, which add further dimensions to a hitherto relatively unexplored art form. With photographs, maps and line drawings.
The authors spent 20 years on the subject and examined over 800 pieces, consisting of sculptures of human beings as well as of animals, and a huge quantity of vessels made for various religious rites and rituals. They examined mostly glazed stoneware produced between 1459-1650, when the kilns at Sukhothai and Sri Satchanalai (Sawankhalok) flourished. These 800 pieces were in many different collections around the world and the authors visited many private collections and museums, including those in Singapore, during their research. A useful list of these collections is included in the book.
They did an excellent job detailing the many varieties of shapes and forms produced and adds a good introduction to the political, historical and cultural history of the period.
In her review of this book Dr. Roxanna M Brown, Director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Bangkok University, calls this book foremost “inspirational” which I choose to interpret that it contains a fair amount of guesswork. I think we should be ok with that and just keep it in mind that we actually don’t have that much written history from 1000 years back in former Siam. We need to study, compare and interpret which I also take as the common meaning that the authors of this volume have done well. All in all, a highly recommended book.
This is one of the most useful books I have found for the study of early Han, Tang, etc. pottery figures. The illustrations are plentiful and streches over such a long period of time that it is possible for the reader to see the stylistic differences that sets the different periods apart.
The book is a catalog of an exhibition, organized jointly by Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Chinese Overseas Archaeological Exhibition Corporation, with four essays on Chinese beliefs in the afterworld, the Qin and Han tombs and mortuary architecture, funerary sculpture, and sculptural development of ceramic figures.
One of the more useful books on the subject. Not complete but I would not be without this one and for to recommend something to a beginner, this would be my first choice. Considering the price this book is available at, there are no excuse to not add it to your library.
160 pages with 156 illustrations, 55 in color. Stiff Illustrated wraps. Foreword by Earl A. Powell III, Director. Published on the occasion of the exhibition from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles CA October 15, 1987-January 3, 1988. Glossary. Suggested Reading
This and a similar book with the same name seems to be available for about $1 or in other words, towards more or less the postage. I don’t know how they do this but I think there are no excuse to not get your own copies while it lasts.
This booklet is only 45 pages and in about letter format. I like to recommend it anyway since it is knowledgeable written and the pictures are of good quality. It is a fine book to be sure, full of helpful and interesting information. I think this could actually be quite useful in particular on the US market where this porcelain is more common than in Europe at a very modest price. For dating, David Howard Chinese Armorial Porcelain II cover this period too and is more all round, so if you got Howard II, you might not find that this booklet adds that much. But, there is also a difference in size, price, and scope.
As a small comment I personally prefer to reserve the famille rose name to porcelain from the 18th century and to call this porcelain Rose Medallion family, but maybe this does not matter much.
As a pure curiosity the author was also a very special guy. There was a lot of talk about this at the time. The author, John Quentin Feller, a University of Scranton professor and expert in Chinese porcelain was one of the most accomplished and compulsive art thieves in American history. Feller admitted walking off with more than 100 items from eight different museums. Interestingly, he donated many of his stolen goodies back to other cultural institutions, earning himself something of a reputation as an art world Robin Hood. He managed to carry on for almost 20 years before being caught and sent to prison in 1991.
Paperback: 45 pages
Publisher: Peabody Essex Museum (August 1982)
Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
This is a very interesting book considering the time at which this ship appears to have sunk, as in pretty much immediately after the Kangxi period.
Quite a lot of the cargo consists of pieces that in the antiques trade usually has been given the label Kangxi. Since quite a number of the pieces actually carries the Yongzheng (1723-1735) reign mark, that theory obviously needs to go. This is a really good reference book for this expansive period in the history of Chinese Export porcelain finding its palace right between the Vung Tau cargo c. 1700 and the Gotheborg cargo 1745.
The book is of 258 pages (96 pages of text, 386 photographs, and 21 pages of ceramics designs) and many line drawings. The book was based on the report complied by the Excavations Committee together with data and records relating to the artifacts collected by the two provincial museums of Binh Thuan and Ca Mau, from 1998-2000.
The contents includes the archaeological excavations of Ca Mau shipwreck, the artifacts recovered from the shipwreck site and maps.
Author: Dinh Chién, Nguyén,
Museum of Vietnamese History and Ca Mau Provincial Museum (2003),
Language: Vietnamese and English,
Focusing on the XIXth Century and Surveying Polychrome Export Porcelain Produced During the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1908
By: Daniel Nadler
This book focuses despite the impression one might get from the cover picture, on the 19th century export porcelains. I need to say I have not read this book myself but list it through recommendations. You are welcome to add your own comments.
From the preface: “Qingbai ware, or Yingqing ware as it is commonly known, is perhaps one of the most under appreciated ceramics in the Chinese ceramic tradition. It is not one of the wu wei ci, or five classic wares of the Song dynasty. It was not made exclusively for imperial use and its decorative styles and techniques were largely borrowed from other wares such as Ding and Yaozhou wares. With the exception of Jingdezhen, where it was primarily made, it also has not drawn much interest from archaeologists. This is unfortunate because, as we will see, qingbai ware is in fact one of the most successful ceramic types produced in China and was emulated at numerous kilns in many different regions. Very high quality qingbai wares were produced in the Song period which are today some of the finest early porcelains produced in China. Qingbai was also the basis from which Jingdezhen blue and white porcelain was developed and as recent research shows, this ware was noted in ancient records and was buried in hoards and tombs of the Song and Yuan dynasties. In fact, it was considered valuable enough when it was first made that several qingbai wares can be found in the original holdings of the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
The history of this ware is fairly straightforward but has not been presented in monograph form in English before. In order to show the complete picture of qingbai production, the history of its manufacture needs to be reconstructed and its forms, decoration and patronage need also to be illustrated. This volume will present these issues along with over 100 colour illustrations of some of the best and most interesting qingbai wares in collections around the world, many of which have not been published before.
Essays have been contributed from both doctoral students of Chinese ceramics as well as established specialists in the field. Summaries of these essays as well as the catalogue entries have also been provided in Chinese. For reasons of space, this catalogue concentrates on Qingbai ware for the Chinese domestic market and on examples made at Jingdezhen. It is hoped that this catalogue will inspire further research on export wares and the products of other kilns.”
Hardcover with slipcase, 9″ X 12″, 255 pages
130 catalogue entries with complete descriptions, photos of makers marks and full page color photographs
Author: Rosemary Scott, Amy Barnes, Estelle Nikles, Catherine Teo, Edited by Stacey Pierson
Publisher: Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art (2002)
Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
This is one of my personal favorites and as I see it an indispensable companion for any collector of Song dynasty ceramics. The main reason is one that maybe was not that much of an issue at the time back in the late 1970s when Jan Wirgin was working with this, his doctoral thesis, namely the effort that went into selecting the items that were to be discussed.
Even today more than 30 years later nobody have seriously questioned the authenticity of any of the pieces that went into this book and I find it very refreshing to look through it. It has been reprinted in a second edition but the pictures, all black and white, did not come out as good in the later edition as in the first. This is not a very expensive book so try to find the first edition but if not, also the later are ok.
The work includes all kinds of Tang potteries, not only the better known Tang horses in three-colored glaze, but also lead-glazed and unglazed earthenware, as well as high-fired wares of the Tang dynasty (618-907).
Hardcover: 151 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber (September 1981)
The Faber Monographs on Pottery & Porcelain
This account of the 16th and 17th century ceramics of Zhangzhou (formerly often called “Swatow china”) is published in connection with the 2007 Yuchengco Museum/Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines exhibition. Accounts of the production methods export and trade patterns, archaeological sites and shipwrecked stock complement the 180 annotated color plates of artefacts displayed in the exhibition. With sketch maps, graphics, and index.
Bat Trang, a village not far from Hanoi, has been producing ceramic wares since at least the 14th century. This account of the industry up to the 19th century and the methods and glazes used in producing domestic, decorative and ritual artefacts includes 260 plates in color or black and white, and line drawings of patterns and designs. Bilingual in English and Vietnamese.
The Private Trade in Chinese Export porcelain, as distinct from East India Company trade, has hitherto scarcely been recoginised as a subject in its own right. And yet the officers and supercargoes of the Hon. East India Company took full advantage of their license to trade on their own account; it is just this attractive and innovative ware, chosen by them at their own capital risk, that is most collected today. David S. Howard surveys more than two centuries of manufacture, and throws new light on how the trade was actually conducted. The Hodroff collection, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world, closely mirrors the tastes of the private traders and is the ideal source of illustration for this pioneering work
Hardcover: 298 pages
Publisher: London: Zwemmer (September 1994)
Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 9 x 1 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
This second edition is virtually a new book, taking into account discoveries of new burial sites and wares as well as a spate of recent scholarship and articles on Southeast Asian ceramics. Beautifully illustrated, the text covers Vietnamese ceramics, the Go-Sanh Kilns, Khmer wares, the Sukhothai and Sawankhalok kilns, the Northern and other Thai kilns, and Burmese ceramics.