Celadon on the Seas: Chinese Ceramics from the 9th to the 14th Century


Denise Patry Leidy

Cover of the publication: Celadon on the Seas.

Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, Celadon on the Seas explores the development of the southern Chinese ceramic industry from the ninth to the fourteenth century. Drawing on the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, it examines the artistic, historical, and technical aspects of dozens of ceramic objects, offering an overview of the industry and its unique relationship to maritime trade. Thousands of kilns throughout China flourished at this time; some produced elegant wares with lush green glazes, known as “celadons,” while others created imaginative pieces in shades of white, black, and brown. The Gallery’s collection includes superb examples of celadons as well as an unusually rich group of the less-studied green, white, and brown wares produced in Hunan, Fujian, and Guangdong Provinces, many of which are previously unpublished. An introduction and seven chapters examine not only the use of these ceramics—primarily as ritual objects and vessels for dining and drinking—but also the exchanges among production centers that contributed to the vibrancy of the southern Chinese industry. Chinese ceramics also influenced competing kiln centers in Vietnam and Thailand, the distinctive Korean celadon tradition, and the evolution of the Japanese ceramic industry and tea ceremony. The broad approach and new research presented in Celadon on the Seas make this book the first of its kind.