Green-glazed storage jar
China, Zhejiang province
Western Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 8)
Glazed stoneware, with incised and combed decoration
Museum no. C.138-1913
The clays of southern China need a relatively high temperature to mature. This led to advances in kiln technology, and by 1500 BC southern Chinese potters were using firing temperatures up to 1200ºC. The stonewares they made were the world's first high-fired ceramics.
The olive-green glaze was made using a mixture of clay and wood ash. The colour resulted from minor impurities in the clay.