How did I miss that celadon (青瓷) was fired so early - 3500 years ago in China - during the Zhou Dynasty (周, BC1121-BC221)? An ancient miracle!
Excavations in the 1950s and 1960s revealed that celadon was produced in the Hubei province as early as the Six Dynasty (六朝, 222-589AD), Sui Dynasty (隋, 581-618AD) and Tang Dynasty (唐, 618-907AD) as well. Huh! Excavators uncovered that China had matured to using high temperatures and reduction firing by the Eastern Han period (後漢, 25-220 AD).
Jade has been beloved in China for a long time, and the pursuit of man-made jade colors led to Qinci (青瓷). The name celadon came from the French, who associated this color with their theater character Celadon's costume color. Old China's Qinci spread throughout the world as celadon, the porcelain coated in pale blueish glaze.
Japan started importing celadon treasures from China in the Heian period (平安, 794-1185), but Japanese artists didn't start producing their own celadon until as late as the 17th century.
Celadon's colors vary due to the content of iron in the glaze and the atmosphere of firing, causing its delightful color to range from beige to blue and green. That the medium still draws practitioners over a thousand years later is a testament to its arresting beauty and the room for creativity within the medium. This group of modern masters of Japanese ceramics illustrates celadon's range, as each artist introduces his own innovations and creative sensibilities.
To be continued....