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Article

Sheila S. Blair

[Abu Ṭāhir]

Persian family of potters. The family is sometimes known, somewhat improperly, by the epithet Kashani [al-Kashani, Qashani], which refers to their home town, Kashan. It was a major centre for the production of lustre pottery in medieval Iran, and they were among the leading potters there, working in both the Monumental and the Miniature styles (see Islamic art, §V, 3(iii)). As well as the lustre tiles for many Shi‛ite shrines at Qum, Mashhad, Najaf and elsewhere, they made enamelled and lustred vessels. Three other families of Persian lustre potters are known, but none had such a long period of production. At least four generations of the Abu Tahir family are known from signatures on vessels and tiles, including dados, large mihrabs and grave covers. The family may be traced to Abu Tahir ibn Abi Husayn, who signed an enamelled bowl (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A.). A lustre bowl in the Monumental style (London, N.D. Khalili priv. col.), signed by ...

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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....

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Chancay  

Jane Feltham

Pre-Columbian culture of South America. It centred on the Chancay Valley of the central Peruvian coast, ranging north and south to the Fortaleza and Lurín valleys, and is known for its distinctive pottery and textile styles. Chancay culture flourished between c. ad 1100 and 1470, under Chimú rulership in the 15th century. Vessels and textiles have been found at such sites as Cerro Trinidad, Lauri and Pisquillo, mostly in graves covered with stout timbers and a layer of earth.

Chancay vessels were made by coiling; modelled features sometimes occur, but elaborate jars were moulded. The fabric, fired to a light orange, is thin and porous. Some vessels are covered with a plain white slip, but most are also painted with brownish-black designs. Forms include bowls, goblets, tumblers, cylindrical jars and ovoid jars with rounded bases and narrow, bulging necks that sometimes end in a flaring rim. Vessel heights range from 60 mm for bowls to 750 mm for jars. Animals (especially birds and reptiles) and humans are frequently modelled on the upper shoulder or around a handle. More elaborate jars are zoomorphic or consist of two flasks connected by a bridge. Some show scenes, such as a dignitary being carried on a litter. Vertical black bands often divide design areas, within which are patterns of stripes, wavy lines, crosshatching, diamonds, triangles and dots, chequers, volutes and stylized birds or fishes, sometimes in assymetrical halves. Characteristic of the style are large, necked jars with faces (known as ...

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Echizen  

Richard L. Wilson

Centre of ceramics production in Japan, based on some 20 kiln sites 7 km north-west of the city of Takefu (Fukui Prefect.). Echizen is known as one of Japan’s ‘Six Old Kilns’. It is one of three centres that arose in the area (the others being Kaga and Suzu) in the 12th century in response to increased agricultural production. Ceramics appeared in Fukui Prefecture in the 6th century ad with the manufacture of Sue stoneware, fired in tunnel kilns (anagama; see Japan §IX 2., (ii), (a)). In the 12th century, however, increased agricultural production, coupled with the introduction of new technology, encouraged the development of a higher-fired brown stoneware. The use of a tunnel kiln with a dividing pillar, the manufacture of jars with everted rims and incised horizontal bands and the use of the coil-and-paddle technique in the early Echizen wares point to origins in kilns such as ...

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George Bankes

Pre-Columbian culture of South America that extended throughout several valleys on the south coast of Peru and flourished between c. ad 1000 and 1476. The Ica–Chincha pottery style was first recognized by the German archaeologist Max Uhle, and regional variations have since been defined by archaeologists from the University of California at Berkeley, especially by Dorothy Menzel. The Ica Valley appears to have been the main cultural centre, while the Chincha Valley seems to have had greater political significance. Commerce was important; pottery was clearly held in high esteem, since it has been found at sites on the central coast and inland in the Río Pampas area near Ayacucho, and it seems, moreover, to have formed the principal indicator of cultural cohesion and diversity between the valleys. The main feature of the decorated wares is a polychrome style, usually with a red base overpainted with white and black designs. Motifs are frequently geometric, with many designs taken from textiles, including diamonds, stepped lines and zigzag lines. There are also many depictions of birds and fish that are difficult to see in the maze of angular designs. A characteristic vessel shape is a jar with a rounded base, globular body, narrow neck and flaring rim. Dishes with a flanged rim are also common. As on ...

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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 (...

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Jizhou  

Peter Hardie

[Chichow; Chi-chou; Ji’an; Chi-an]

Site in central Jiangxi Province, China, and former centre of ceramic production. Jizhou is the Sui- to Song-period (581–1279) name for modern Ji’an, a town on the Ganjiang River, which flows northwards into the Yangzi Basin. Ceramic kilns operated from at least the Tang period (ad 618–907) until the end of the Yuan (1279–1368) at the village of Yonghexu, about 8 km outside the town. The site is recorded in Wang Zuo’s 1462 edition of the Gegu yaolun (‘Essential criteria of antiquities’). Archibald Brankston visited it in 1937 and took sherds to England (London, BM), and from 1953 the local authorities have continued the investigation and excavation of the remains of some 20 kilns and other structures.

After some experimentation with whitewares and celadons in the Tang, the kilns’ range of activity was developed during the Song (960–1279), especially the Southern Song (...

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Lyveden  

Michael R. McCarthy

English centre of ceramic production. Excavations have revealed potters’ settlements dating to between the 13th century and early 15th at Lyveden in the Rockingham Forest, Northants. The tenements incorporated workshops with hearths, deposits of unused clay in stone-lined pits, drains, industrial waste, kilns, knives, hones and a bone stamp. Sometimes clays from within the tenement boundary were used with such tempers as crushed shell and limestone. Decoration embellished several forms and included rouletting and applied strips on kitchen wares and white slip and applied pads on jugs. Forms included cooking pots, bowls, shallow dishes, cisterns, curfews and building materials....

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Michael R. McCarthy

English town in the county of Warwickshire. Named after a 12th-century Benedictine nunnery that was founded at Eaton. The abbey, like so many other buildings, fell into disrepair in the Reformation when the church was converted into a private residence. Very little survives today of the original building apart from a tiled floor, the crossing piers, and some low walls; these are incorporated in the parish church of St Mary the Virgin (the Abbey Church), which is largely a 19th-century recreation (with some later 20th-century extensions).

The town is also renowned as a centre of ceramic production. Over 40 kilns and parts of workshops dating to between the 13th and 16th centuries have been excavated at Chilvers Coton, now in Nuneaton. Varicoloured local clays were used with tempers, and wares were initially fired in simple kilns with wood and later in multi-flued kilns with coal. Saggars were also used in some late kilns. Much tableware was lead glazed, and, although plain vessels predominate, decoration in the form of incised and combed lines, applied pads and strips, stamps and rouletting is found mainly on jugs. Other forms included aquamaniles, costrels, cups, chafing dishes, bottles, and a wide range of kitchen wares and building materials. Anthropomorphic forms and motifs occur but are rare (e.g. jug, late 13th C.; Coventry, Herbert A.G. & Mus.)....

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Sanage  

Richard L. Wilson

Centre of ceramics production in Japan. It flourished from the 5th to the 16th century. The large complex of kilns is clustered around Mt Sanage near Nagoya (Aichi Prefect.). Sanage wares are understood, through extensive archaeological research carried out from the mid-1950s, to have been the earliest glazed stonewares (kaiyūtō) to have been made in Japan. Probably due to its proximity to transportation routes and because of ample supplies of refractory clay, Sanage became established as a centre of Sue ware production in the late 5th century (see Japan §IX 2., (ii), (a)). In the mid-8th century, inspired by imported Chinese celadons, particularly Yue wares (see China, People’s Republic of §VIII 3., (iv), (b)), the Sanage potters began to move away from the Sue styles and techniques in favour of new continental models. More refractory, whiter-firing, levigated clays were employed, and the Sue style tunnel kiln (...

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Seto  

Richard L. Wilson

Centre of ceramics production in Japan, near Nagoya (Aichi Prefect.). The area occupies an important place in Japanese ceramic history, because, together with neighbouring Mino, it was the only ceramics centre to produce glazed ware before the Momoyama period (1568–1600). Its importance as a producer of utilitarian wares in the early modern period is reflected in the word setomono (‘things from Seto’), which is synonymous with ceramics in eastern Japan (see Japan §IX 3., (i), (c)).

Evidence from more than 500 kiln sites dating back to the Kamakura (1185–1333) and Muromachi (1333–1568) periods demonstrates that, under the influence of Sanage, a major kiln centre in the south-west, Seto began to show distinction as a ceramics centre in the 12th century. This development was made possible by the rise of eastern Japan as a political centre; newly empowered warrior élites, lacking the access to Chinese imports that the residents of older urban centres enjoyed, commissioned the Seto kilns to produce ash-glazed ceramics in the style of Song period (...

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Richard L. Wilson

Japanese centre of ceramics production, in the foothills flanking the Daido River valley in south-west Ōmi Province (now Shiga Prefect.). Together with Seto, Echizen, Tanba, Bizen and Tokoname, Shigaraki is one of Japan’s oldest continuously functioning traditional pottery centres (see Japan §IX 3., (i), (d)). Sue stonewares and green-glazed earthenwares were produced in various locations in the Shigaraki region between the 6th century ad and the 10th, but the relationship between this early manufacture and the production of the subsequent period, evidenced in the appearance of large-mouthed jars (kame), small-mouthed jars (tsubo) and kitchen mortars (suribachi), is unclear. Although over 50 early kiln sites have been identified, only one group, the Nakaide kilns at the northern part of the valley, have been scientifically excavated. The earliest Shigaraki wares so far discovered seem to date from the 13th century, and suggest an influence from Tokoname, a large kiln complex in neighbouring Aichi Prefecture. Dated wares from the 14th century show the emergence of the distinctive Shigaraki clay body, characterized by large grains of feldspar and quartz and fired to a warm orange colour. The ware was fired in an excavated tunnel kiln (...

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Walter Spiegl

German centre of ceramics production. From the late 14th century a greyish-white, salt-glazed stoneware was produced in Siegburg in the Rhineland. Among the earliest Siegburg wares were Jakobakannen (tall, slender jugs with ring handles at the neck), which were only sometimes decorated with incised or relief motifs. Other products included Ratskannen (council pots) with a conical foot and flaring mouth and Sturzbecher (beakers with a stem but no foot, which when empty had to stand inverted). Sturzbecher, in the form of a human figure represented three-dimensionally, were a special line (e.g. mid-16th century; Berlin, Tiergarten, Kstgewmus.). Production fell in the mid-16th century, when for a time Siegburg was supplanted as the leading producer of stoneware by Cologne. Following the example of Cologne, vessels were then more commonly decorated with relief patterns. Potteries belonging to members of the Knütgen family family are recorded from 1425, and they made an important contribution to the manufacture of Siegburg stonewares. ...

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Tanba  

Richard L. Wilson

Centre of Japanese ceramics production based in and around Tachikui and Kamaya villages (Hyōgo Prefect.). Together with Bizen, Shigaraki, Echizen, Seto and Tokoname, Tanba is one of the few Japanese kiln centres that has been active from the 12th century to the present day. The origins of Tanba ware are not perfectly understood, but recent excavations of the Sanbontōge kiln (late 12th century–early 13th), thought to be the earliest Tanba kiln, suggest that the Echizen (Fukui Prefect.) and possibly the Tokoname (Aichi Prefect.) kilns played a central role in the ware’s development. The principal wares, which reflect improvements in Japanese agricultural production in the 12th century, include a limited number of kitchen mortars (suribachi), and greater quantities of wide-mouthed jars (kame) and narrow-mouthed jars (tsubo). Ten kiln sites, spanning a period from the 12th to the 16th centuries, have been identified, and it is thought that these were single-chamber tunnel kilns (...

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Richard L. Wilson

Centre of ceramics production in western Chita (Aichi Prefect.), Japan. Tokoname, together with other important centres such as Bizen, Shigaraki, Seto, Tanba and Echizen, is famous for its continuous production to the present day (see Japan §IX 3., (ii)). The origins of the ware can be traced back to the 12th century, when increased agricultural development encouraged the spread of high-fired ceramics techniques from the central Sanage kiln complex, near the city of Nagoya, to neighbouring districts, including Higashiyama, Atsumi and Tokoname. Evidence for the Sanage lineage is seen in the Tokoname tunnel kilns (anagama; see Japan §IX 1., (v)) with a dividing pillar, variously placed at the fire-mouth or inside the kiln at the base of the slope. Unlike the Sanage potters, however, the Tokoname potters made larger vessels by coiling rather than with the potter’s wheel.

Before the 16th century, Tokoname kilns made three principal products: narrow-mouthed jars (...

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