"Chinaware" redirects here. For general information about the material, see Porcelain.
Covered red jar with dragon and sea design from the Jiajing period(1521–1567) in the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty Xuande mark and period (1426-35) imperial blue and white vase.Chinese ceramics show a continuous development since pre-dynastic times and are one of the most significant forms of Chinese art and ceramics globally.
The first pottery was made during the Palaeolithic era. Chinese ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court and for export. Porcelain is so identified with China that it is still called "china" in everyday English usage.Most later Chinese ceramics, even of the finest quality, were made on an industrial scale, thus few names of individual potters were recorded.
Many of the most important kiln workshops were owned by or reserved for the Emperor, and large quantities of ceramics were exported as diplomatic gifts or for trade from an early date, initially to East Asia and the Islamic world, and then from around the 16th century to Europe. Chinese ceramics have had an enormous influence on other ceramic traditions in these areas.
Increasingly over their long history, Chinese ceramics can be classified between those made for the imperial court, either to use or distribute, those made for a discriminating Chinese market, and those for popular Chinese markets or for export. Some types of wares were also made only or mainly for special uses such as burial in tombs, or for use on altars.