Mini Porcelain 2
Mini Porcelain 2
China is one of the first countries that had ceramic objects in use. The invention of ceramics was one of the most important achievements of the neolithic age. In the Immortal Cave (Shenxian Dong) in the JIANGSU province, ceramics were found that were dated as early as 10 000 B.C. China was also called the home of porcelain. From here it started its triumphal course around the world. So there are 10 000 years of pottery experience between a Neolithic pot and the one I'd like to show you here - an incredible amount of time.
This small octagonal pot is 11 cm x 11 cm (4 1/4 in) wide and 6 cm (2 1/2 in) high. It was fired to ca. 1300°C, then painted and after that fired for a second time at ca. 800-900°C. An interesting detail on this pot which is about 20-30 years old is the feet - there the kiln operator had attached small lumps of clay before the first firing to prevent the pot from sticking to the kiln's interior. This is a method that is hardly ever used today.
The painting is testimony of the high technical and artistic abilities of the Chinese potteries. The figures in a garden setting create a sensuous dance of colours which was designed to brighten up the daily life with its beauty. The persons depicted are high officials or scholars, shown drinking tea, playing dice, in philosophical reflections or carrying a lotus flower. Not only the four persons are symbolic, but also the number FOUR itself. The emperor's residence had FOUR gates for all FOUR directions, surrounded by FOUR races of barbarians, between the FOUR seas. FOUR is a YIN number, and one could write a book about this alone.
At any rate, I hope you enjoy the FOUR seasons of bonsai!
Note: Mr Hoe Chuah from Huston, Texas, provided us with more information about the first scene. The cup on the low bench that the person is leaning on is actually not a tea cup; the scene shows a famous Tang poet, Li Bo, who is well know for his love of drinking, and similar scenes had been reproduced again and again in paintings and potteries.
Photographs: Bernd Braun
Pot from the collection of Paul Lesniewicz
Translation: Stefan Ulrich