Ceramic design encapsulates various types of practice from outstanding and talented makers who create valuable artifacts to product designers who introduce refined pottery and porcelain with regard to cultural and social environment. Between ancient and modern ceramic work, there is a great gap due to the social and political changes that are constantly occurring. Nevertheless, ceramic design culture has still managed to preserve its aesthetic value for each country.
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Aesthetic judgment and appreciation of works created by potters are closely connected with the past traditions and the necessity to preserve the uniqueness of each culture. In this regard, ceramic works can be considered as the bears of history and culture; they can serve as the basic artifacts for reading the history of different people of Westerns and Eastern civilizations. Therefore, it is imperative to analyze the actual significance of ceramic works with regard to aesthetic culture presented in various countries.
Describing the Main Characteristics of Ceramic Design in Various Countries
Eastern Ceramics. Ceramic design in Eastern cultures has always been marked by the cuteness of styles and techniques. This particularly concerns Chinese pottery and porcelain and the rise of cuteness in Japan, or the advent of “kawai culture” in the second half of the twentieth century. Although ceramic design culture dates far back to ancient times, the modern tendencies in contemporary design have still preserves the main peculiarities of Eastern culture (Marshal Cavendish Corporation, 2007, p. 1034).
It should be stressed that both Japanese and Chinese potter design has a rich tradition and heritage. Hence, even current trends in Japanese ceramic design reflect the nobility and aesthetic sensibility of the past times, yet with the introduction of modern trends (Sosnovsky, 1999, p. 22).
In comparison with others pottery designs, Japanese pottery developed to the highest level of aesthetic appreciation. Special significance to Japanese pottery was given in the appearance of tea ceremony. The potters produced various objects, such as kabin, hand-held censers, and suiteki (Sosnovsky, 1999, p. 23).
In comparison with Japanese potters, Chinese ceramic ware became popular much earlier, in Paleolithic era (Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2007). It is also known for its refined porcelain whose production flourished during the Song Dynasty. There were different techniques in producing porcelain in various historic periods. Nowadays, Jingdezhen is
Chinese Porcelain (Chinese Ceramics Part II, 2009)
considered to be the main center of ceramic art and design together with Guangdong Chaozhou and Dehua.
Indian pottery also has a great value for the people for the people’s traditions and culture. Like Japanese pottery, its development originates from the Neolithic period during which the pottery was represented by “palegrey, red, orange, or pale-red, brown, pale brown, or reddish-brown and black and cream slipped wares…” (Gupta, 1988 p. 18).
Indian potters make use of pottery wheel techniques and create vases and vessels of various forms (Indian Potter, 2008). The Indian potters resort to various techniques for manufacturing different pots such as pressing, scooping, coiling, molding, or throwing (Lemonnier 1993, p. 160).
Western and European trends of ceramic design. In the course of world’s pottery-making history, it was possible to pursue different trends and styles in making ceramic ware. The concentration of potter production was influenced by major trade routes in the Eastern region, including Eastern ports of Europe (Hopper, 2000, p. 48).
Through these trade routes, the craft was gradually transferred to the Mediterranean region. Therefore, European ceramic production was largely affected by Chinese and Japanese pottery, which became popular and fashionable. Until 19th century, the European pottery craft fell into several categories: tin-glazed earthenware, lead-glazed earthenware, stoneware, soft and hard porcelain, stoneware, and bone china. (Hooper, 2000, p. 50)
Italian ceramic ware (European Pottery, n .d)
Describing the Differences in Ceramic Designs Culture in Various Countries
Although the European ceramic design has been influenced by Eastern trends, there are still some differences and shift in trends and styles development. The explicit differences could be already viewed in the end of the 19th with the foundation of the Roseville Pottery Company, which began the production of utilitarian pottery (About Roseville Pottery, 2010). It specialized in the
production of stoneware, flower pots, cuspidors, umbrella stands that were of the highest quality. It should be stressed that the company gave priority to producing commercially beneficial pottery, although aesthetic conception was also of great value.
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When discussing the major difference between Asian and European ceramics, it is purposefully to pay attention to timing and historic circumstances. Indeed, Chinese, together with Japanese and Indian ceramics refer to ancient times. The Eastern culture has a much richer history of development, specifically for China and Japan where ceramic was closely related to traditions, rites, and ceremonies.
In contrast, European craft was primarily developed for practical purposes. Specifically, Chinese pottery also played an important role in various ceremonies and customers. According to the rise of pottery in China is closely connected with Song ceramics and its aesthetic trends.
Evaluating the Differences in Culture of Ceramic Design
According to Pierson (2007), “interest in earlier Chinese ceramics, as opposed to porcelain, coincided with the development of the studio pottery movement in English and the craft ideal associated with this” (p. 114). In this regard, Chinese pottery presented ideal images and trends in the craft; it personified high quality and impeccable forms, symmetry and equilibrium.
Therefore, Chinese ceramic ware harmonized with philosophic and cultural views on the Chinese people who strived to harmony and reconciliation. They gave priority to aesthetics as the main essence of life. Therefore, the Chinese ceramics was highly appreciated in Western and European countries where pottery was considered as an object of aesthetic art, but not as an object that could be utilized.
Nevertheless, trends in European potter ware highly affected by the Eastern development. In particular, the potters were trying to imitate the forms and ingredients. In the 20th century, the dominant ceramic aesthetics was primarily connected with the idea of visual harmony based on using simple materials and hand-making tools. Later, the art of ceramics was primarily aimed at striking the balance between aesthetics and practical use.
A brief analysis of ceramic art and design in various countries provides a clearer picture of differences and similarities of people’s attitude to this craft. In particular aesthetic appreciation of the works produced by potters is closely associated with past traditions, ceremonies. Each country and culture strive to introduce unique features to their nation and historical heritage.
In this regard, ceramic has much in store for historians to disclose the essence of Eastern and Western understanding of aesthetics. Hence, the presented overview of designs and techniques show that Eastern civilizations, particularly China and Japan gave great important to aesthetic representation and cultural concepts. In contrast, Western civilization are more considered as the followers of those aesthetic values.
About Roseville Pottery. 2010. Just Art Pottery. Web.
Chinese Ceramics Part II. 2009. China Ceramic Plaza. Web.
European Pottery. n. d. Guest and Gray. Web.
Gupta, K. C. 1988. Progress and Prospects of Pottery Industry in India: A Case Study of U. P.
Hopper, R. 2000. Functional Pottery: form and aesthetic in pots of purpose. US: Krause Publications Craft. Indian Potter. (2008). YouTube. Web.
Lemonnier, P. 1993. Technological Choices: Transformation in Material Cultures since the Neolithic. NY: Routledge.
Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 2007. World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia. NY: Marshal Cavendish.
Pierson, S. 2007. Collectors, collections and museums: the field of Chinese ceramics in Britain 1560-1960. UK: Peter Land.
Sosnovski, D. 1996. Introduction to Japanese culture. US: Tuttle Publishing.