The name "Celadon" has long been thought to have come from the analogy of the color with the green ribbons of the robe worn on stage by the shepherd Celadon, hero of the pastoral romance L'Astrée, by Honoré d'Urfé.
Recently, scholars have put forth the theory that the name "Celadon" might alternatively derive from a corruption of the name Saladin, a Sultan who in AD 1171 are known to have sent a gift of such ceramics to the Sultan of Damascus.
The term "Celadon" is today used in at least three different ways as denoting a color, a glaze and a ware.
1. Ware - A term first minted in Europe to describe the wares decorated with a subtle sea green glaze - obtained by slight underfiring - and made at the kilns centered in the Longquan area of southern Zhejiang province. These wares are among collectors recognized as a specific group and are referred to as Longquan Celadon to avoid mistakes. One of the world's largest collections of 14th-century Longquan Celadon is kept in the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.
2. Color - High-fired green wares in general, in China known as qingci Typically first made in Zhejiang during the Eastern Han dynasty but occurring as far back as the Shang dynasty. The production spread to Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangxi in the 3rd and 4th centuries; the wares of superior quality were fired at 1300' C and had a porosity of under 0,5%. Commonly produced at kilns in both the north and the south from the 7th century on. From a ceramic point of view this is not a good classification headline since, when failing to maintain the reducing atmosphere in the kiln, a yellow or brown glaze would be obtained on the same wares. The term in this case thus applies only to the visual appearance.
3. Celadon glaze - greenish, high-fired, and used on top of a white porcelain body.