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The Development of Pottery

Pottery was first found existing in the Neolithic Age. At that time, pot had to be made by hands. Clay was coiled into ropes and then carefully smoothed using a paddle on the exterior pressed against an anvil on the inside wall. Later till the primitive Yangshao Culture period, potter wheel was invented, and kiln was bettered, the production of pottery made a leap and the quality of pottery steadily improved. During the Longshan Culture period, end of the Neolithic Age, fast wheel was used and pottery reached a record height, represented by the white pottery and eggshell-thin black pottery.

Pottery continued to develop in the successive dynasties. Clear-cut division of labor appeared among potters in the Shang and Zhou dynasties (16th century-221 BC).

During the Warring States Period (475-221BC), elegant designs and pictures of flowers and birds were carved on pottery ware. Potters in this period introduced lead glaze, which made the surface of pottery smooth and fine and added luster to the vessels. 

Until the Qin Dynasty, pottery industry stepped into a new era. The world famous Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses excavated in Xian, Shaanxi, astonished archaeologists for the marvelous techniques. Innovations and experimentations went on in later dynasties until in the Tang Dynasty thus another great leap forward was made. 

In the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD) the art of glazing pottery became widespread. Multi-colored glaze was also introduced in the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). 

Tang tri-color glazed pottery came into being in the Sui Dynasty (581-618).

In the renowned Tang Dynasty (618-907) tri-color glazed pottery won world reputation. Potters introduced white, yellow, blue, green, brown, and purple glazes and skillfully applied them in combination. The appearance of Tang tri-color glazed pottery marked the entry of pottery art into an era of greater variety and color.

During the Ming Dynasty, purple clay pottery blossomed. The famous unique pottery, seldom glazed, was and still is, specially produced in Yixing, Jiangsu, since there's no purple clay in other places. It is the favorites of many people in China. The pottery usually maintains artistic beauty and daily use.

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