UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

The origin of white porcelain: transformation of ceramic technology in sixth century North China

Huang, Shan; (2021) The origin of white porcelain: transformation of ceramic technology in sixth century North China. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), University College London. Green open access

[thumbnail of The Oringin of White Porcelain Transformation of Ceramic Technology in Sixth Century North China.pdf]
Preview
Text
The Oringin of White Porcelain Transformation of Ceramic Technology in Sixth Century North China.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (109MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Appendix.xlsx] Spreadsheet
Appendix.xlsx - Supplemental Material

Download (178MB)

Abstract

A major transformation of glazed ceramic technology occurred in the sixth century AD in North China: at the end of the fifth century, the primary northern product was dark lead-glazed earthenware; while by the end of the sixth century, celadon and porcelain are the dominant glazed ceramic types found in northern burials and on residentials sites. This transformation is a turning point in the history of Chinese ceramics, as the discovery of porcelain initiated a new era characterised by porcelain and polychrome decoration, overturning the earlier pattern of earthenware and stoneware production which had lasted for thousands of years. However, the process of this dramatic transformation has been unclear. Previous discussion of the relationship between the existing celadon technology and early porcelain production has been constrained by an insufficiently detailed understanding of the archaeological material from both typo-chronological and scientific perspectives. Key issues such as the timing and location of the introduction of celadon technology into the North from the South, and the processes underlying the discovery of porcelain require a technological understanding of the materials. Furthermore, the role played by northern lead-glazed ceramic technology in this transformation has been neglected, which has also been a significant limitation. The present study first focuses on the typo-chronology of the three major categories of glazed ceramic recognised in sixth century North China. In-situ pXRF analysis was undertaken to allow the discrimination of lead-glazed ceramics from celadon and porcelain. The typologies and chronologies of the three technological groups were then established, based upon objects excavated from well-dated burials. On the basis of the typo-chronological understanding, examples of the ceramics were selected from a number of archaeological sites, representing the earliest northern celadon, white porcelain and white lead-glazed wares. On this basis, chemical and mineralogical compositions of the body and the glaze, glazing method and firing conditions were studied on the basis of analysis by optical microscopy, scanning electronic microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thermal expansion measurement. These provide insights into the trajectory of innovation of lead-glazed earthenwares, the transfer of ash-glazed stoneware technology from the South and the emergence of the earliest white porcelain. The exploration of kaolin as body material, its regional variations, the use of ash glaze, the addition of siliceous material as a third glaze component in addition to ash and body clay, and the development of firing technology are among the issues investigated in this research. Finally, the social dynamics that drove the transformation and integration of ceramic technology in sixth century North China and its impact on the succeeding period are discussed. The significance of the dynamic interactions between the South and North, the influence of the Silk Road and the establishment of a new social identity in the North are among the issues considered to obtain a holistic understanding of the development of ceramic technology in this key period.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The origin of white porcelain: transformation of ceramic technology in sixth century North China
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124545
Downloads since deposit
12Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item