A Celadon Journey: Featuring Antique Crackle-Glazed Vases & Lamps and Gourd Vases


There’s nothing quite like cycling on the
open road whilst holding a celadon vase. Today, I’m surrounded by celadon – and that’s
no bad thing – because it is glorious and has a wonderful history. Look at the colour, look at the form! As a colour in ceramics, it originated in
China in the very first century A.D. through pottery manufacturing and later when porcelain
was developed. It has a semi transparent green glaze which is achieved by firing ceramics
at 1200°C or 2200F. That’s pretty hot. It can be produced in a variety of pale green
shades including hues of grey and yellow. It was hugely popular at the Chinese Imperial
Court, no less. ‘But where is the decoration? ’I hear you
ask! Decoration is mostly absent in celadon wares -and potters favoured the celebration
of form. Less is more. Having said this, you do see shallow carving
in the body of certain objects – for instance in this example where there’s over glazed
decoration in pink, black and red glazes. Here we see a beautiful stylised Peach tree.
It’s worth remembering the peach is an ancient Chinese symbol of immortality and longevity. The gourd form appears regularly in the Chinese
decorative arts. Its Chinese name is Hulu. The first written character of the word gourd
“Hu” translates as “perfect”. Therefore the gourd is indeed a very noble
fruit, as well as delicious!. And in it’s unripened form, it is the same colour as celadon!
The form is also close to the number 8 – the luckiest number! Lucky, lucky, lucky. But it just doesn’t stop there: Celadon
has also been popular in Japan for the last 1000 years. During the Song Dynasty in China,
celadon wares made their way to Japan via Korea. In Japan saki cups and bowls and other ceremonial
objects were decorated using celadon glazes. This large crackle vase is a good example
of Japanese celadon from the 19th century – it also has a crazed surface. Celadon porcelain has a wonderful softness,
warmth and vibrancy and will exist in harmony with other antique or modern pieces. It never
distracts the eye. Instead, it provides a soft and pleasing foundation of colour to
tantalise – ever so subtlety. Pop in to Timothy Langston Fine Art & Antiques
and I’ll show you my celadon.

4 Replies to “A Celadon Journey: Featuring Antique Crackle-Glazed Vases & Lamps and Gourd Vases”

  1. the real celadons were made on Longhuan in(China Viet Nam) many centuries ago ,are MATTE or semi Matte in texture ,very beautiful and nearly impossible to reproduce . David Morris in California produced them in the 50's 60's 70's and 80's .I have been unable to find anther producer of genuine SEMI MATTE satin finish celadons at high temperature .

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