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Article

Bizen  

Richard L. Wilson

Japanese centre of ceramics production. High-fired ceramic wares were manufactured from the end of the 12th century in and around the village of Inbe, Bizen Province (now Okayama Prefect.). This region had been a centre for manufacturing Sue-style stonewares and Haji-style earthenwares from the 6th century ad (see Japan, §IX, 2, (ii), (a)). At the end of the Heian period (794–1185) the potters moved from the old Sue-ware sites around Osafune village to Inbe, just to the north. In response to increased agricultural development, the new kilns manufactured kitchen mortars (suribachi), narrow-necked jars (tsubo) and wide-necked jars (kame). During the 13th century the wares show less of the grey-black surfaces typical of the old Sue tradition and more of the purple-reddish colour characteristic of Bizen. In the 14th century Bizen-ware production sites shifted from the higher slopes to the foot of the mountains. Kilns expanded in capacity, ranging up to 40 m in length. Vast quantities of Bizen wares, particularly kitchen mortars, were exported via the Inland Sea to Kyushu, Shikoku and numerous points in western Honshu, establishing Bizen as the pre-eminent ceramics centre in western Japan. By the 15th century the Bizen repertory had expanded to include agricultural wares in graded sizes; wares then featured combed decoration and such functional additions as lugs and pouring spouts. Plastic–forming was assisted by the introduction of a fusible clay found 2–4 m under paddy-fields. This clay, which fires to an almost metallic hardness, is still in use today....

Article

Regina Krahl

[Ching-te-chen]

Town and county seat in north-east Jiangxi Province, China, and the country’s main centre of porcelain production. For most of its existence the town was part of Fouliang, in Raozhou Prefecture, and in historical records its ceramics are generally referred to as Raozhou ware. With a continuous history of manufacturing porcelain from the Tang period (ad 618–907), it is the source of most Chinese porcelain.

The imperial kilns were located at Zhushan in the centre of modern Jingdezhen city; many lesser kilns were situated in Hutian, 4 km to the south-east. The area is supplied with fine-quality porcelain stone, the basic raw material for Chinese porcelain; it is surrounded by forests that provided fuel for the kilns; and it is conveniently connected to the major ports of southern China by rivers. Recent excavations have brought to light several different kiln types, including egg-shaped zhenyao kilns, bread-roll-shaped mantou kilns and dragon kilns (...

Article

Pomposa  

Charles B. McClendon

Italian former Benedictine abbey near the mouth of the Po River and 45 km north of Ravenna in the province of Emilia Romagna. Although first documented in ad 874, a monastic settlement probably existed there at least two centuries earlier. Pomposa rose to prominence in the 10th and 11th centuries through the support of the Holy Roman emperors. Over the course of the 14th century, a notable series of wall paintings in three different buildings were sponsored despite the monastery’s waning fortunes. In 1663 the monastic community was suppressed by papal decree. The site was secularized in 1802 and became property of the Italian state after 1870.

The proportions of the wooden-roofed basilican church, along with the polygonal outline of its main apse, reflect influence from nearby Ravenna and Classe and suggest a date in the 8th or 9th century. An elaborate pavement of mosaic and cut stone (opus sectile...

Article

Massimiliano David

(Rome)

Massimiliano David

Situated at the end of the Esquiline Hill and formerly known as S Maria ad Praesepem, S Maria Maggiore was traditionally founded by Pope Liberius (reg 352–66) and financed by Johannes, a rich citizen, after a miraculous summer snowfall. It is more likely, however, that it was founded in the early 5th century by Sixtus III, whose name appears in the mosaics of the triumphal arch in front of the apse. The church had a nave and aisles, the nave more than twice as wide as the aisles, and there was a single apse. Monolithic Ionic columns supporting a continuous entablature divided the nave from the aisles; above these, clerestory windows corresponded to the intercolumniations below. The windows were flanked by Corinthian pilasters aligned over the Ionic columns of the colonnade, and these were inset with a double tier of stucco colonnettes with fluting that spiralled right and left. Beneath each window was an aedicule encasing a mosaic panel....

Article

Zaydi  

Muslim dynasty that ruled in parts of the Yemen from the late 9th century ad to the 20th. The Zaydi imams traced their descent to the Prophet Muhammad and took their name from Zayd (d ad 740), the son of the fourth Shi‛ite imam. The Zaydi imamate in the Yemen was established by Yahya al-Hadi (854–911) who arrived there in 889, but his austere code of behaviour initially won little success and he was forced to leave. He returned in 896 and established his seat at Sa‛da, to the north of San‛a’. He won the allegiance of several tribes by acting as a mediator in tribal disputes, but his influence remained precarious. After his death his followers remained in the Yemen, and the Zaydi imamate continued to claim authority by divine right, although there was no strict dynastic criterion for the election of imams. Based in the north of the country, the power of the Zaydi imams varied over the centuries; occasionally it reached as far as San‛a’. The movement was forced underground by the advent of the ...