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Art critic Julie Salamon wrote in the New York Times, that artists in the Tang dynasty “absorbed influences from all over the world, synthesized them and a created a new multiethnic Chinese culture." Proto-porcelain evolved during the Tang dynasty.
It was made by mixing clay with quartz and the mineral feldspar to make a hard, smooth-surfaced vessel.
The oxides included copper for green and iron for amber or brownish yellow.
Ranging in color from nearly white to buff, red, or brown, depending on the mineral content, this earthenware was fired in kilns at a temperature between 6 degrees Celsius.[Source: “Reflections of a Golden Age: Chinese Tang Pottery,” Mc Clung Museum, December 13, 1997 |::|] “Figures and vessels were produced in three basic ways: 1) Molded, 2) Hand-built with individually made parts combined, 3) Thrown on the potter’s wheel, The hallmark of Tang tomb wares is the sancai, or three-color, lead-silicate glazes.
These glazes were produced by melting lead with clay and then finely grinding the resulting glassy material before mixing it with water for application to the already fired earthenware.
Sancai traveled along the Silk Road, and was later extensively used in Syrian, Cypriot, and then Italian pottery from the 13th to the middle of the 15th century.
Sancai also became a popular style in Japanese and other East Asian ceramic arts.” ^|^ “However, it was in the making of functional ceramics for daily use and export that Tang potters achieved their greatest technical innovations and artistic refinements.
These objects were buried in tombs to provide for the needs of the deceased in the afterlife.
[Source: “Reflections of a Golden Age: Chinese Tang Pottery,” Mc Clung Museum, December 13, 1997 |::|] “Preparations for the tomb, which usually began well in advance of death, included the purchase of literally hundreds of pottery ming qi, or “articles of the spirit,” such as figures of servants, musicians, and professional attendants; models of domestic and foreign animals; guardian spirits; and vessels from everyday life.
Using a transparent glaze as a base: 1) Iron oxide was added to produce tones ranging from straw to amber to dark brown, 2) Copper oxide was added to impart rich greens, 3) Cobalt oxide was added for dark, vibrant blues, Tang ceramics generally have an unglazed area above the bases of figures or the footrings of vessels, because the potters were not able to control the flow of the lead glazes during firings.
During the seventh century, many figures were fired with a clear glaze or left unglazed with features painted on them.
[Source: ^|^] “Three northern kilns were responsible for producing the majority of lead-glazed Sancai, or "three-color" ware that furnished the tombs of the aristocracy for more than one hundred and fifty years of the Tang Dynasty.