Chu-lu : a northern Sung ceramic legacy
Xie, Margaret Carney
University of Kansas
History of Art
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In 1108 A.D., Chu-lu Hsien and neighboring areas, all located in China's present-day southern Hopei Province, were inundated by a flood of the Yellow River. Northern Sung Chu-lu, including its ceramics, remained preserved, intact, buried in the silt of the Yellow River for nearly 800 years, until 1919 when drought-stricken farmers were digging wells.At that time, farmers unearthed ceramic wares--cream-colored porcellaneous stonewares with a characteristic rust-colored crackling and staining in the glaze caused by burial in the silt of the Yellow River for over 800 years. Hundreds of pieces were unearthed, many being taken abroad by foreign collectors.In the early 1920's inscribed Chu-lu ceramics were collected and published by the Tientsin Museum, and two dwelling sites were excavated by a team of archaeologists from Peking.The primary ceramic ware recovered from this inundated area were Tz'u-chou wares, wares distinguished by the use of a white slip over a buff or light grey body with a clear glaze over the white slip.This site offered several unique opportunities. Chu-lu contained datable (inscribed) pieces from a datable site. By gathering the pieces together that had been scattered throughout the world, there was still the opportunity to identify a significant and comprehensive collection of datable ceramics from one Hopei Province site--and see how it has influenced our perception of Sung ceramics. Additionally, insights into the innovations and vitality of Tz'u-chou wares in 1108 A.D. were gained. These Chu-lu wares were put in historical perspective with earlier and later periods, and contemporaneous Sung materials. Through this investigation, their significant contribution to the modernization of the ceramic industry in China became clear, in terms of both the evolution of true porcelain and overglaze and underglaze decorating techniques, and the practice of marking ownership on Chinese ceramics.Gathered together during this project, this comprehensive collection of datable materials from one site has given undeniable proof of the high level of technical virtuosity and creativity which existed in 1108 A.D. Furthermore, it has given us both a collection to use for later comparative purposes, and a glimpse into Northern Sung China.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of Kansas, History of Art, 1989.
- Art History Dissertations and Theses 
- Dissertations 
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