Celadon Poetry Plate of Tang Dynasty

In early 1950s, archeologists found many tombs of Tang Dynasty in Changsha, Hunan, and unearthed a batch of under-glazed color paintings and porcelain articles decorated with poetry of Tang Dynasty. The experts could not quickly determine in which kiln they were unearthed. Until 1956, an occasional discovery by experts made this batch of porcelain articles return their own original home. In Wazhaping, Tongguan Town, Wangcheng County, Changsha, Hunan Province, the local residents had already been used to everywhere in very early time. There were also beautiful designs on the porcelain pieces. The children often took them for fun. People could occasionally pick up some relatively complete small articles. One day in 1956, a person informed this situation to the heritage experts of Hunan Province by chance. The experts thought this phenomenon was not common, so they soon came to Tongguan Town, Wangcheng County for site investigation and brought back some porcelain places for research. The result of research made the expertsí surprisingly joyful.  They believe there inconspicuous porcelain pieces were unexpectedly very similar with the bath of porcelain articles with under-glazed color unearthed in the tombs of Tang Dynasty. They should be fired and made in the same kiln, and the kiln site was very possibly located in Wangcheng County.

In 1957, two experts of Beijing Palace Museum came to Changsha for resurvey of the site of Changsha Kiln. They believed the porcelain products of this kiln were with unique features and different with most porcelain articles of Tang Dynasty in the aspect of decoration.

According to introduction of experts, Changsha Kiln was established in early Tang Dynasty and became prosperous in middle and late Tang Dynasty. Till Five Dynasties, it began to go downhill. In early Tang Dynasty, the porcelain produced in China focused on celadon of Yue Kiln in the south and Xing Kiln in the north. The sites of Yue Kiln and Xin Kiln were respectively located in today's Zhejiang and Hebei Provinces. While the porcelain articles with under-glazed color fired by Changsha Kiln broke the pattern that in Tang Dynasty, glaze in single color dominated the whole world. Porcelain articles of Changsha Kiln were various in types, which was rare in kilns of Tang Dynasty. In its early times, it mainly fired porcelain for daily use, including bowls, plates, kettles and cans, etc. Later, it began to fire tools used in study such as paperweights, ink slabs and writing brush washer and various porcelain toys of shapes of cows, sheep, dogs, horses and human. The most distinctive decoration of porcelain articles made by Changsha Kiln is under-glazed color painting. Their colors mainly include brown and green. This Celadon Bow with Brown and Green Flowers of Changsha Kiln is now collected in Changsha Municipal Museum. It is blue-green as a whole and is square inside. Its body is painted with petals in black and brown color, which makes the overall shape of the bowl look like a blooming flower. Though the design is simple, the shape is perfectly imaginative.

Celadon Plate with Liu Changqing's Poem was unearthed in the relic of Changsha Kiln in 1978. A large quantity of under-glazed colorful porcelains with inscription was also unearthed at the time. According to experts, poem inscription on porcelain is also a very unique decorative technique of Changsha Kiln. It started the tendency to inscribe poems on porcelain in the ancient tines of China.

This Celadon Poetry Plate of Tang Dynasty is collected in Changsha, Municipal Museum, Hunan Province, China. The modeling of porcelain plate is neat and ordered. All its body is decorated with celadon and there is a round exposed body in the center of plate. There are four lines of Tang Poetry in brown color on it. The meaning of the dour lines is that bird are flying in flat and vast plain from far to near, as if people are wandering along with running water. Wish white clouds can tell my friends far away how much I miss them; Wish the bright moon can carry my melancholy to friends together with running water. This poetry is created by Liu Changqing, a poet of Tang Dynasty. Liu Changqing was a famous poet from Chinese prosperous Tang Dynasty a middle period of Tang Dynasty. He was a third-degree scholar during period of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty. He had ever been an official during four periods of Emperors Xuanzong, Suzong, Daizong and Dezong of Tang Dynasty. He served as Censor of Supervision, Sima of Muzhou and prefectural governor of Suizhou. The poems of Liu Changqing mainly include five-character and seven-character poems. The poetry recorded in the porcelain plate is named "Writing after Entertaining Liang Geng in Tiaoxi Stream for Farewell". It was written when Liu Changqing was demoted as Sima of Muzhou since he wad framed up by power and imperious officials in the court. Muzhou was located in today's Chun'an region, Zhejiang. The whole poem expressed feelings of melancholy of the author after he left his hometown and was underappreciated by describing flying birds, running water, clouds and bright moon.

Currently there are almost a hundred pieces of poems on porcelain of Changsha Kiln unearthed in Changsha area. However, only a few of their authors can be confirmed. That's less than one tenth. Most of the poems are folk poetry. The contents of those poems reflect love between men and women, business activities, homesick of wanderers, thoughts and emotions and scenes of life of ordinary people in Tang Dynasty, which enable the later generations to see aspect f Tang poetry of China.

Porcelain of Changsha Kiln, expect decorated with poems, also records epigrams, sayings and proverbs in the society at that time. There are seven characters on this porcelain omit, "All praise across the world". Experts tell us that this is an advertisement slogan. It means that people across the world praise porcelain of Changsha Kiln. In Tang Dynasty of China, porcelain of Changsha Kiln was sold well. Besides home market, they were also sold overseas through the Marine Silk Road. As the foreign trade in Tang Dynasty grew constantly, the production of porcelain for export sales developed rapidly. In order to meet the needs of foreign trade, porcelain of Changsha Kiln with design of music and dance of Hu People, lion dancing, grapes, coconut trees and other designs of Persian Style of West Asia began to appear. Though the export sale of porcelain of Changsha Kiln was later than that of Xing Kiln and Yue Kiln at that time, as porcelain of Changsha Kiln could better cater to the aesthetic taste of foreigners, they became the leader among the porcelain for export sales in China.

Porcelain of Changsha Kiln started under-glazed color painting and poetry decoration of Chinese porcelain. This Celadon Plate with Liu Changqing's poem not only enables the later generations to enjoy the unique decorative art of porcelain of Changsha Kiln, but also provides precious historical material to experts for the research of poetry of Tang Dynasty in China.

 

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