Chinese monochrome refers to ceramics decorated with a single, uniform coloured glaze. Before the Tang Dynasty, the history of Chinese ceramics was dominated by monochromes; during the Song Dynasty, monochromes entered a period of vigorous development before reaching their peak during the Qing Dynasty.
Due to their lack of colour painting, Monochromes require more attention to detail during the firing process to ensure the quality of the glaze and glossy texture. Compared with polychrome glazed ceramics, the fineness of monochrome ceramics is defined by their elegance and purity.
Celadon glaze is the earliest, longest and most widely distributed type of glaze in China. Its invention is consistent with the phenomenon that most of China’s clay mines contain a certain amount of iron ore. Celadon glaze, similar to the colour of jade, is also in line with traditional Chinese aesthetics. Proto-celadon was produced during the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (16th century BC- 256BC). From the Six Dynasties to the Tang and Song Dynasties, the southern celadon was represented by Yue kiln; the Longquan kiln from the Song Dynasty to the Yuan and Ming Dynasties; the northern celadon in the Song Dynasty such as Yaozhou kiln; and Jingdezhen celadon porcelain since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These were several important stages in the development of celadon wares.
Whitewares were already known during the time of the Northern and Southern division in the fifth and sixth centuries but became more widely known during the Tang dynasty. The Cha Jing (Tea Classic) by Lu Yu records the use of such whitewares known then as Xing wares in the tea ceremony.
Teadust-glaze is one of the important varieties of ancient iron crystalline glaze in China. A high temperature yellow glaze, it is fired at a high temperature and allowed to cool down slowly. The tea powder glaze was first produced during the Tang Dynasty, and was then successfully reproduced by the Jingdezhen during the Qing Dynasty and became one of the most precious monochromes.
Copper-red glaze is created from the colouring characteristics of copper and the different firing conditions of the process, which resultis in changes in the form, density, and particle size of copper elements in various parts of the vessels. This results in the colour tones becoming extremely inconsistent.
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