China is the land of many arts such as bronze casting, ivory carving, textile weaving, wood carving, jade fashioning and painting. The list will remain incomplete if we do not add porcelain, the glorious craft the Chinese gave to the world.
Chinese porcelain is prepared out of ‘Kaolin’ (white china clay) and ‘patuntse’ (white stone) fired at very high temperature for fusion, glazed and finally decorated with various coloured enamels.
Chinese porcelain has got continuity of tradition and undiminished royal patronage. The best periods of porcelain manufacture are : T’ang (220-618 AD), Sung (960-1279 AD), Ming (13th to 17th century AD) and Ching (17th to 19th century AD).
Salar Jung Museum has got a fair number of porcelains belonging to important periods except T’ang.
Late 12th century Sung period porcelains present in the museum consist of ‘Celadon’ (a French term denoting sea green, pale blue, mild green) comprising dishes, bowls in various shapes and decorations. The Museum’s blue and white porcelains, rich in decorations and lavish in shapes, belong to Ching- te period (1506 to 21)of Ming dynasty.
Valuable products are the polychrome and monochrome porcelains of Ching era, a rare piece being a saucer/ plate bearing paintings of HoHo birds, dragons and mythical symbols and the imperial mark of Wan li (1573-1619), Ming period.
Also praiseworthy are the Museum’s 17th century Tehua white porcelain figures which look like sculptures.
Retired Keeper, Salar Jung Museum