Glazes in China

  • Weidong Li
Living reference work entry

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Introduction to Chinese High-Fired Glazes and Low-Fired Glazes

Glaze is a vitreous coating of glass that has been fused to a body through firing; it can color, decorate, strengthen, or waterproof the coated body. Ancient Chinese glaze is both a beautiful and mysterious science that includes high-fired glaze and low-fired glaze. High-fired glaze is applied to porcelain or stoneware, whereas low-fired glaze is applied to pottery. Traditional Chinese high-fired glaze falls into the category of calcium glaze, calcium-alkali glaze, or alkali-calcium glaze, which originated from the plant ash glaze from the Shang dynasty (1700–1027 BC) (Li, 1998). Adding calcined plant ash and limestone was advantageous for the vitrification of glaze; the addition serves as a flux, enhances the glaze’s stability, minimizes glaze defects, and modifies the fit and bonding between the glaze and body. Chinese low-fired glaze is either lead glaze or lead-barium glaze and originated in the Warring States Period...


Song Dynasty Firing Process Residual Glass Kiln Site Physicochemical Basis 
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This work was supported by key project of Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51232008) and National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (No. 2012CB720901). The author would like to thank Fujian Museum, Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, and Chengdu Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology for providing ancient porcelain samples for scientific research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Key Scientific Research Base of Ancient CeramicsState Administration for Cultural HeritageShanghaiChina