Zhejiang province—the Longquan kilns

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ZHEJIANG PROVINCE–THE LONGQUAN KILNS

Kilns in Longquan county in southern Zhejiang province began operating during the tenth century. At first they produced stoneware with a thin, gray-green glaze in the manner of Yue ware, which had been made at kilns to the north in the same province since the third century.

With the move of the Southern Song court to Hangzhou in 1127, production increased and changed. Under the influence of court taste for opaque blue-toned glazes, the celadon glaze used at Longquan was developed to be thicker and translucent. Bowls, dishes with flat rims, and covered jars bearing this glaze were the main export products directed to Mainland Southeast Asia. Many kilns in southern China produced Longquan-style vessels and participated in international trade (Ho 1994, Ye 1994, Hu 1994).

As production and trade increased even more during the Yuan period in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Longquan wares bore a thinner, more transparent olive-green glaze applied to heavy, durable shapes. Huge quantities of such Longquan ware dispatched from the ports of Mingzhou (Ningbo) in northern Zhejiang and Quanzhou in Fujian province were dispersed in Southeast Asia (Lin 1994, Lam 1997, Yajima 1993/94–1995, Amara 1994, Miksic 1994, Ronquillo and Tan 1994, Ridho 1994, Harkantiningsih 1994, Edwards McKinnon 1994, Sasaki 1994, Dupoizat 1999). Export of Longquan ware continued through the end of the Ming dynasty (1644), although celadon gradually lost market share to blue-and-white porcelain.