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Anything other than green (replicating jade) or white (replicating silver) belonged in tombs.

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1823 which received the highest price paid at auction for early American pottery, thus illuminating the status of historic pottery in today’s art economy.

The 1840 William Henry Harrison transfer print pitcher by David Henderson speaks volumes about the part ceramics played in the development of our national politics.

The growing impact of ‘aliens’ led to a vicious reaction, with widespread looting and killing of resident foreign traders. The incoming Song Dynasty reverted to safe, comfortable celadons and whites.

The world had to wait another five hundred years for Persian traders to (again) ask Yuan Dynasty potters to put Mesopotamian cobalt on their new porcelain.

Arabic was the ‘official language’ of the entire trade network connecting southern China to the Persian Gulf and beyond.

Arab potters noticed Chinese stoneware encroaching into their home market.

Everybody knows the story of how Chinese blue and white porcelain thoroughly influenced world ceramic history.

But we look at this story backwards, from its results.

Cobalt blue was the first new hue, followed by many others.

Then someone in Basra invented lusterware, truly replicating copper and silver. They also sent it back to China, along with Mesopotamian cobalt, to try this new look on white Chinese stoneware glazes.

Their response – tin glazes, cobalt blue, polychrome, and luster ware – set the whole story in motion. Reading: Shipwrecked, Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds.

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