Cover image for Chinese glazes : their origins, chemistry, and recreation
Chinese glazes : their origins, chemistry, and recreation
Wood, Nigel, 1947-
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Publication Information:
London : A & C Black ; Philadelphia : University of Pennylvania Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
280 pages : illustrations (some color), map ; 29 cm
Neolithic and Bronze Age ceramics -- South China's early lime glazes -- The porcelain glazes of southern China -- Longquan, Guan and Ge -- The porcelains of north China -- The stonewares of north China -- The blackwares and brownwares of China -- Iron in Chinese glazes -- Copper in Chinese glazes -- Chinese low-fired glazes -- Chinese alkaline glazes -- Chinese overglaze enamels -- Reconstruction of Chinese glazes -- Glaze recipes.
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TP812 .W65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 2000

Chinese glazes have been admired throughout history for their extraordinary qualities and colors--not least in China itself, where their appearance has been compared variously to jade, to tea-dust, to hare's fur, or to the "color of the sky after the rain." Some Chinese glazes are vibrant and brilliant in tone, while others are deep, complex, and subtle, their properties seeming to change according to ambient light. Chinese glazes have long presented a technical challenge to Western potters, and this book is the most complete account yet of their nature and their reconstruction. The story of Chinese glazes is also the story of Chinese ceramics itself, one of the most fascinating and influential traditions in ceramic history.

Chinese Glazes traces the development of China's great high-fired glaze tradition from its roots in the Bronze Age, through the famous monochrome stoneware glazes of the Song dynasty, to the fine porcelain glazes of southern China. The book also examines in detail the story of China's low-fired glazes, from the time of China's first emperor to the present day. The book shows clearly how the potters of ancient China were able to work their ceramic miracles from the simplest recipes, and how modern potters can use and adapt these principles for their own work. The book contains hundreds of recipes for formulating Chinese glazes with Western materials, simple and advanced calculation techniques, as well as efficient blending procedures with local materials.

The book is lavishly illustrated, with nearly three hundred photographs, one hundred in full color. These depict examples of the Chinese arts as found in pottery ranging from simple earthenware jars excavated at Neolithic sites to exquisitely designed dishes found in imperial tombs. They also show examples of modern Western ware that employ these remarkable glazing techniques.

Author Notes

Now retired from teaching, Nigel Wood was Professor of Ceramics at the University of Westminster, Harrow; Honorary Research Associate at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Oxford University; and Visiting Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. His current research interests include Middle Eastern ceramics and eighteenth-century European porcelain.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Wood is a well-known English potter and respected authority who has been associated with the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford), the British Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In this extraordinary volume, he provides a window, an avenue perhaps, into the composition and techniques used by ancient Chinese potters to achieve superb glazes admired by potters all over the world. It is an exhaustive study of both high and low temperature glazes; in a clear, straightforward manner, Wood explains how old recipes can be transcribed for today's raw materials. In a well-documented text, beautifully illustrated by both color and black-and-white photographs, Wood describes Chinese ceramic development, from the Bronze Age through Tang and Song dynasty monochrome stoneware glazes, to the fine porcelains of Southern China. Included as well is a chronology of low-fire glazes from the beginning to the present day. Introduction; author's note; 14 chapters; chronology of Chinese history; chapter bibliographies "for further reading." A must-have volume not only for potters but for those seeking information on Chinese glazes. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals; two-year technical program students. A. C. Garzio; emeritus, Kansas State University