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Glossary Of Terms Of Oriental China

( Originally Published 1911 )



Base. The solid support or bottom of any vessel either simple or ornamentally shaped.

Beaker. The Chinese beaker is a trumpet-shaped vase, having neither handle nor spout nor beak.

Biscuit. Porcelain unglazed, having no gloss.

Body. The part of a vase which corresponds with the body in the human figure. The shape may be simple, or two or more forms combined.

Bottle. A vase with spheroidal body, long neck and narrow mouth. The gourd-shaped Oriental bottle may be double, having three bodies diminishing from the bottom upwards.

Burnt-in. A term used to distinguish the painted from the enamelled porcelain, the first being burnt in with the glaze, the second having the colours laid over the glaze.

Celadon. The soft green colour upon pieces of old Oriental. See further in the section dealing with colours mixed with the glaze and burnt in at the first firing. European glaze is nearly always transparent and colourless.

China or Porcelain Paste is translucid, in pottery it is opaque.

Colours. Five colours :—green, yellow, aubergine, blue, and red. Three colours :—green, a curious shade ; yellow, varying from pale to bright ; aubergine, also varying in tone.

Egg-shell China first appeared in the Yung-lo period, and later it was as thin as bamboo paper. Under the Lung-king and Wan-leih emperors pure white porcelain of this kind was called "egg-shell." In many pieces the paste is so thin as to appear to be only two layers of glaze.

Enamel. Mixed with a glassy composition were certain trans-parent or opaque colours which were used in over the glaze decoration. In pottery they are used in the glaze.

Fen-ting. Soft paste, or more correctly, soft glaze porcelain.

Figures, Figurines, Magots, Statuettes, are single, grouped, or attached as ornaments to a piece ; such as the eight immortals, etc.

Forms. These are diversified. Cylindrical, globular or spheroidal, egg-shaped or ovoid ; apple-shaped or pomiform, pear-shaped or pyriforrn ; cubical, hexagonal, etc.

Glaze. The composition used for coating porcelain or pottery. It literally means covering with glass or any vitrifiable substance having similar properties.

Grand Feu. The kiln at its greatest heat in which the clays were acted upon so as to produce porcelain or pottery. The decoration was often fixed in the "petit feu," or muffle kiln. The hard firing, when less than the maximum heat was required, was done in the "demi-grand feu."

Graviata. This name is given to patterns traced or cut on the porcelain or on the enamel.

"Hundred Antiques." A form of decoration, consisting of utensils, symbols, vases, &c., called "po-ku."

Kaolin. Porcelain or china clay, derived from the decomposition of granite rocks.

Kiln. " Grand feu " first baking, temperature about 47170 Fahrenheit. " Demi-grand feu " for fixing colours which could bear intense heat which were applied before glazing. More delicate enamel colours were applied for firing in the " petit feu" or muffle kiln.

Mandarin. A term applied to Chinese porcelain decorated with a certain class of figure subjects.

Mice China has ornament, in high relief, of the branches, leaves,

and fruit of the vine, with squirrels or foxes, so-called mice,

also in relief. It is Mandarin eighteenth century as a rule. Moulds. These are used for figures and for the various orna

ments which are fixed upon the piece.

Naga. This word translated means Dragon, which is dealt with under that name.

Neck. In the bottle, flagon, and flask, the neck is of different length and form. The throat may be narrow or wide, inclining inwards or outwards, or even perpendicular.

Ornaments. These are very varied. They may be in relief, reticulated, impressed, engraved in the paste ; or they may be arabesque, grotesque ; or they may be lines in angles, lozenges, zigzags, ribbons, and paintings of every kind.

Paste. The body of which porcelain or pottery vessels is made. Hard paste cannot be scratched or filed and resists the action of great heat. Soft paste is easily scratched and is melted by intense heat.

Pekin Ware is graviata of the Taou-kwang period. It was never made in Pekin, but the name is still used.

Petuntze. Pulverised "china rock" forming a white paste (pc-tun) made into bricks (petuntze). It melts in the heat of a porcelain furnace into a milky glass.

Pin-points are tiny holes found on the bottom of early Chinese porcelain.

Porcelain. A compound of kaolin and petuntze. The kaolin is not fusible, the petuntze vitrifies and envelopes the kaolin, producing a smooth compact body which is translucent.

Pottery. This is formed of a mixture of clays. Ordinary potter's-clay is used for common earthenware, and a bloc clay, of a greyish colour, is much used in making flint-ware.

Saucer. The old Chinese form of the plate is always saucer-shaped. The flattening of the rim produced the dish and plate. Raising the sides gave the bowl, basin, and cup. By adding a handle we have the tea-cup.

Seggar. This is the protective vessel or case in which the pieces of porcelain or pottery are burnt in the kiln.

Slip. The liquid clay which is applied to the piece, under or over the glaze, either by pouring or painting.

Stoneware. Hard pottery which forms the link between porcelain and earthenware. In Chinese products stoneware is used with self-colours applied in the glaze.

Vases. All vessels used for drinking cups and goblets, for ointments or perfumes, for holding, carrying, or pouring wine, oil, or water ; and similar or varied forms used solely for ornament.

Willow Pattern. A popular decoration of Nankin blue services. There are several varieties, but all have the weeping willow.

Yao-pien. The Chinese name for splashed, "shot" silk, or variegated glazes.



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