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Chinese ceramics show a continuous development since pre-dynastic times and are one of the most significant forms of Chinese art and ceramics globally. The first pottery was made during the Paleolithic era. Chinese ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court and for export. Porcelain was a Chinese invention and is so identified with China that it is still called "china" in everyday English usage.
Though there is much dispute over the origins of porcelain, traces of ceramic ware have been found that date back to 17,000 or 18,000 years ago in Southern China, an age that makes it among some of oldest ceramic vestiges found in the world. These old traces display evidence of pottery being created in the crudest and most basic of fashions, so that the finished product can be used as some archaic form. Porcelain as an art-form and skill, however, has some evidence which can be traced back to 7th century AD (Tang Dynasty), the 3rd century AD (the ‘Six Dynasties’ era), and even the 2nd century AD (the eastern Han Period), though academics often disagree over the validity of these sources.

Types of Chinese Pottery
Though Chinese pottery can be classified relatively neatly using the eras in which they were produced, certain technological and artistic developments spanning the dynasties occasionally makes it more useful to group such pottery according to type. There is extensive range of ceramics created for a wide range of uses, from decoration, to storage facilities, to tea-ware, and even for burial purposes, but there are a select few that are so unusual that they have to be mentioned.

Sancai Pottery
The first of these is Sancai pottery, a term that is derived from the literal Chinese term ‘three colors’ – which is indicative of the character of the pottery itself. Though Sancai pottery does not necessarily have to have three colors (it sometimes has more), the subtlety in the effect of the three-color glazes on the pottery has endured through the ages. The use of such a glaze seems to be especially popular with decorative ceramic statues, such as miniature clay horses or other such animals.

Ding Ware
Ding ware, on the other hand, is famed for the purity of the shade of its white paste, and the translucence of its glaze, a glaze so fine that it tended to run down the pottery and pool at the base, creating a ‘pool of tears’ effect, which was very much praised. Even so, as its beauty mainly relies on the purity of its color and the elegant simplicity.

Ru Pottery
Another popular pottery type during the Song period was Ru pottery. It used the ‘crazing’ of a glaze (the crackles caused on the surface of a glaze when it cools and contracts too quickly), to a highly stylized effect that was made deliberately, despite the previous perception that ‘crazing’ was a defect in glazed ceramics.

Jun Ware
 Jun ware also became popular in the Song Dynasty. The thicker pieces of ceramic were covered with a turquoise or purple glaze, which was so thick that the viscosity created a shimmering opalescence on the surface of the ceramic once it was placed in the kiln. Though considered cruder in its structure and bulk, the sheen of such pottery was very much appreciated at court, and is still the object of much acclaim in the modern day.