The History of China Dinnerware
The creation of dinnerware dates back to prehistoric times when man first tried to improve his crude wooden baskets by plugging them with bits of sticky red earth. The first fire-hardened pottery, called redware, was shaped by hand over forms or built up in coils of clay from a flat base. Simple designs were cut into the unglazed surface with a pointed tool or painted on with different colored clay. Many ancient societies developed unique techniques to create pottery. The Egyptians were the first to use the pottery wheel to create symmetrical pieces; Persians may have been the first to glaze their ware around 4000 B.C.E.; and Greeks developed elaborate decorations of mostly black and red. The Chinese, however, made the greatest contribution to the art of porcelain. They experimented for centuries with higher firing temperatures, better quality clays, and a variety of additives. What we recognize as porcelain today first started to appear in China during the Eastern Han period between 25-200 C.E.