On March 15th, 2002, I went to the Harn Museum at the University of Florida with my China and Japan class, where I saw the Ancient Chinese art exhibit.
The 1996 World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 15, pg's: 675-676 describes porcelain as a type of ceramics highly valued for its beauty and strength. It is often called china, or chinaware, because it was first made in China. Porcelain is known primarily as a material for high quality vases and tableware as well for figurines and other decorative objects. Porcelain differs from other types of ceramics in it's ingredients and in the process by which it is produced. Porcelain is basically made from a mixture of two ingredients: kaolin and petuntse. Kaoilin is a pure white clay that forms when the mineral feldspar breaks down. Petuntse is a type of feldspar found only in China. It is ground to a fine powder and mixed with kaolin. There are three main kinds of porcelain: hard-paste porcelain, soft-paste porcelain, and bone china. The differences between these types of porcelain are based on a material from which they are made. This material is called the body or paste. The Chinese made the first true porcelain during the Tang dynasty (618-907). During the Song dynasty (960-1279), Chinese emperors started royal factories to produce porcelain for their palaces. Since the 1300's, most Chinese porcelain has been made in the city of Jingdezhen. During the Qing period, the Chinese developed a great variety of patterns and colors and exported porcelain objects to Europe. By the 1100's, the secret of making porcelain had spread to Korea, and to Japan in the 1500's. .
My trip to Harn Museum included a guide tour of the Ancient Chinese art exhibit. The art of Ancient China represents the most unique and beautiful works of the world. The recent exhibit at the Harn Museum showed many examples of these superb pieces, made by different ingredients and materials that are still used today.