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In Yingjing, Sichuan Province, China, unusual coal-clay pottery is removed from the kiln while still orange-hot, using a removable ceramic cover that is levered up. The pots are placed into a deep pit in front of the kiln, with organic matter; once covered, a thin ash glaze forms.
In 2014 the Laboratory, in collaboration with
the Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and
Archeology in Chengdu, China, began a series of field investigations to
survey the remaining traditional pottery workshops of Sichuan Province.
Observations, interviews, and collection of raw materials and products
for laboratory study included many workshops throughout the
province. A startling discovery was
an unusual material (a clay-coal cinder composite) not previously known
to exist in China or anywhere else in the world. The firing process
and kiln design are also unique and not previously documented. The most
recent fieldwork on this project occurred in Fall of 2017. A paper
detailing field and laboratory research results was published in a
journal of the Materials Research Society:
Chandra L. Reedy, Pamela B. Vandiver, Ting He, Ying Xu, and Yanyu Wang.2017. Research into Coal-clay Composite Ceramics of Sichuan Province, China. MRS Advances, 2(37-38): 2043-2079.
Funding: National Science Foundation grant #1339530; U.D. Center for Global and Area Studies; Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research
Project Participants: University of Delaware (Chandra L. Reedy, Ying Xu); Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology (Gao Dalun, He Ting, Wang Yangyu), University of Arizona (Pamela B. Vandiver)
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In Puma village, Derge County, Sichuan Province, China, potters add about 50% talc stone to a black clay (calcareous and rich in carbonized organic material). This produces ceramics very well suited to rapid heating, cooking, andd retaining heat for serving during long meals.
An unusual material was also found in Puma Village, in Derge County. Here the potters add about 50% talc stone to black clay (a calcareous, carbon-rich clay). A two-stage firing process is used, and the result is a black or silvery-gray ceramic that has a shiny, almost lustrous surface. This material is similar to modern industrial ceramics in its suitability to rapid heating with very even heat distribution, quite good for cooking and retaining heat during long meals. A paper detailing field and laboratory research results was published in a journal of the Materials Research Society:
Chandra L. Reedy, Pamela B. Vandiver, Ting He, and Ying Xu. Talc-rich Black Tibetan Pottery of Derge County, Sichuan Province, China. 2017. MRS Advances, 2(35-36): 1943-1968.
Funding: National Science Foundation grant #1339530; U.D. Center for Global and Area Studies
Project Participants: University of Delaware (Chandra L. Reedy, Ying Xu); Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology (Gao Dalun, He Ting), University of Arizona (Pamela B. Vandiver)