T’ang and Liao Ceramics

By: William Watson

Tang Figures

T’ang and Liao Ceramics, by William Watson

One of his several works on early Chinese ceramics, this one deals with the Tang dynasty (618-907) and Liao dynasty (947-1125) in his usual very well read up way, in most cases referring back to the Chinese original sources that to a large extent is excavation reports. The only critique I have ever heard about this book is that it is hard to follow from someone not professionally active in the field, who would instead go directly to the Chinese sources. Personally I don’t have a problem with this, and don’t mind having it all translated and summarized, as this have been done by an expert in the filed. Since this book now have some age there are of course more to be known by now, but it still remains a good book.

Hardcover: 283 pages
Publisher: New York : Rizzoli; 1st Edition edition (1984)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0847805263
ISBN-13: 978-0847805266

April 4th, 2010

The Quest for Eternity:
Chinese Ceramic Sculptures
from the People’s Republic of China

Tang Figures

Quest for Eternity: Chinese Ceramic Sculptures from the People’s Republic of China

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.

March 30th, 2008

T'ang Pottery and Porcelain

By: Margaret Medley

Tang Figures

T'ang Pottery and Porcelain (The Faber Monographs on Pottery & Porcelain)

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
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0571109578
ISBN-13: 978-0571109579

March 28th, 2008

Bright as Silver, White as Snow:
Chinese White Ceramics from Late Tang to Yuan Dynasty

By: Lo Kai-Yin (Ed.)

Song Dynasty // Tang Figures

whiteceramics2.jpgBright as Silver, White as Snow

Kai-Yin Lo Collection of Chinese ceramics

This book accompanied the exhibition of the Kai-Yin Lo Collection of Chinese ceramics at the Denver Art Museum from October 1, 1998 – September 30, 1999, featuring white and Qingbai wares from the Tang to the Yuan dynasty.

The catalog includes essays on such topics as life in the Song dynasty, white wares of north and south China, the development of white and Qingbai wares, material culture in the northern Song, and pictorial perspectives on Hangzhou during the Song accompany the detailed color photographs and descriptions of the pieces in this collection.

As usual with catalog’s they offer fairly good value for money. There is a lot to read since the first 80 pages are essays by eminent scholars like Regina Krahl, Li Zhiyan, Roderick Whitfield and Sören Edgren. The plate section that begins at page 85 is particularly strong with regards to Qingbai while the presentation of earlier wares doesn’t really cuts it. The strength is the essays and the presentation of Song dynasty Qingbai where illustrations of the bases are included. I would give this book an overall four stars for the essays and Qingbai presentation. When it comes to how necessary it is to have this book, I think it comes somewhere in the middle of the field.

Maps, a chronology and bibliography included.
Format: Paperback, 208 pages
Published: 1998, Hong Kong, 1st Edition
ISBN: 9789627502395

Authors: Regina Krahl, Li Zhiyan, Roderick Whitfield and Sören Edgren.
Publisher: Art Media Resources
Format: Paperback, 208 pages

March 27th, 2008

Five Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics:
From the Robin and R. Randolph Richmond, Jr. Collection

By: Lisa Rotondo-McCord

Tang Figures


Five Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics: From the Robin And R. Randolph Richmond, Jr. Collection

This catalog of ceramic artifacts created in China over the last 5000 years was published to complement the donation to the New Orleans Art Museum in 2000 of the notable Richmond Collection. A chronology and illustrated introductory essay on the history and development of Chinese ceramics is followed by 100 full-page color photographs of selected ceramic objects of many kinds. Full descriptions and provenance details are appended. With bibliography and sketch map.

This volume illustrates one hundred works from a significant and wide-ranging collection of Chinese ceramics, including works of the Chinese potters’ art from the Neolithic through the Yuan dynasties (approximately 4000 BC through the 14th century), with works from the major traditions and kilns. It showcases the extraordinary achievements of Chinese potters in both earthenware and stoneware, and in ceramics made for use in this world as well as the afterlife.
One of the earliest works included is a product of the late phase of the Dawenkou culture (c. 2800-2400 BC), one of China’s several, co-existing Neolithic cultures characterized by distinctive pottery. Examples of funerary art from the Han and Tang dynasties are included, and finally Song wares that embody a literati aesthetic.

Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Published: 2005, USA, 1st Edition
ISBN: 0894940945

March 27th, 2008

Tang Ceramics – Changsha Kilns
By: Timothy See-Yiu Lam

Tang Figures


Tang Ceramics – Changsha Kilns

By: Timothy See-Yiu Lam

That this book is an absolute necessity for anybody collecting Changsha is obvious but it goes beyond that. It is written by a collector and one of those gifted persons who have this elusive “understanding” of what he sees. That talent is very rare and worth taking care of in any form it appears.


The point being that even if I don’t particularly were looking for Changsha pieces, I would benefit greatly from this book because it helps me understand early Chinese pottery, sharpen my eyes and help me understand more about what to look for in genuine pieces in general. Besides, it is a quite interesting book. I know this is a bit on the short side for this large book, but go look for it and you will see.

This volume is the result of much careful effort and enterprise on the part of the author. For the visual documentation alone the book is well worth having in the libraries of all those interested in Chinese ceramics. (South China Morning Post, Aug. 11, 1990)

It deals almost exclusively with the pottery products from the Changsha family of kilns in Hunan province during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). The book includes information on basic pottery culture, historical background, poetry, calligraphy, and ornamentation and decoration of ceramic wares.

Library Binding: 367 pages
Publisher: Lammett Arts; 1 edition (July 1990)
ISBN-10: 9627468010
ISBN-13: 978-9627468011
Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.4 x 1.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds


March 27th, 2008

Pre-Tang Ceramics of China
By: William Watson

Tang Figures

watson_pretang1.jpgPre-Tang Ceramics of China: Chinese Pottery from 4000 B.C. to 600 A.D. (Faber Monographs on Pottery and Porcelain)

Chinese pottery from 4000 BC to 600 AD. The book divides China into seven ceramic zones and relates these to the developement of different cultures. The work traces the history of ceramics from the earliest appearance of pottery to the Tang dynasty. Information is organized geographically by regions with descriptions of local characteristics; the development of kilns and vessel shapes and models by using archaeological reports and other studies by Chinese scholars.

I don’t know of any better book on early Chinese pottery, still this subject is so large and complicated it needs a library of its own. I can also tell that if you prefer glossy pictures to academic text, this book might be a bit dry. I still would not want to be without it. That’s the way it is with quality.

Boston: Faber and Faber, 1991.

CLASSIC – Important on early Chinese pottery

March 27th, 2008

Green Wares from Zhejiang
By: Peng Shifan (ed.)

Green Wares // Song Dynasty // Tang Figures


This book is not only about Song pottery but it is so good and so important concerning the history of Song ceramics, I want it high up on this list anyway. It is a cataloge from an exhibition jointly presented by the Fung Ping Shan Museum and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum on greenwares from Zhejiang and goes to prove that the name “Celadon” needs to be reconsidered and that “Green wares” are much more than that.

Published by Fung Ping Shan Museum, The University of Hong Kong 1993.
Interesting, modern and inexpensive.

March 27th, 2008