Impressions of China 2: The colour of porcelain.

In Jingdezhen an Imperial Kiln was built in 1369 to produce porcelain that was “white as jade, thin as paper, bright as a mirror and tuneful as a bell”. It’s the colours of the glazes that caught my eye, achieved by a combination of oxidative and reductive firing in the kiln, coupled with exquisite control of the temperature.

The photo below represents the glaze master weighing out the transition metal salts required to produce the colours, with abacus to hand! The labels on the bottles are not translated (I forgot to load up the camera-based translator onto my iPad, which I am using to write this post). Question: what colours does oxidative or reductive firing with vanadium salts produce?



And in Tunxi in the old village of Xidi the bridge made famous by the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. image

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