The function and status of ceramics in China varied from dynasty to dynasty, so they may be utilitarian, burial, trade-collectors’, or even ritual objects, according to their quality and the era in which they were made. The ceramics fall into three broad types—earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain—for vessels, architectural items such as roof tiles, and modeled objects and figures. In addition, there was an important group of sculptures made for religious use, the majority of which were produced in earthenware.
The earliest ceramics were fired to earthenware temperatures, but as early as the fifteenth century B.C., high-temperature stonewares were being made with glazed surfaces. During the Six Dynasties period (AD 265-589), kilns in north China were producing high-fired ceramics of good quality. Whitewares produced in Hebei and Henan provinces from the seventh to the tenth centuries evolvedinto the highly prized porcelains of the Song dynasty (AD. 960-1279), long regarded as one of the high points in the history of China’s ceramic industry. The tradition of religious sculpture extends over most historical periods but is less clearly delineated than that of stonewares or porcelains, for it embraces the old custom of earthenware burial ceramics with later religious images and architectural ornament. Ceramic products also include lead-glazed tomb models of the Han dynasty, three-color lead-glazed vessels and figures of the Tang dynasty, and Ming three-color temple ornaments, in which the motifs were outlined in a raised trail of slip—as well as the many burial ceramics produced in imitation of vessels made in materials of higher intrinsic value.
Trade between the West and the settled and prosperous Chinese dynasties introduced new forms and different technologies. One of the most far-reaching examples is the impact of the fine ninth-century AD. Chinese porcelain wares imported into the Arab world. [■] So admired were these pieces that they encouraged the development of earthenware made in imitation of porcelain and instigatedresearch into the method of their manufacture. [■] From the Middle East the Chinese acquired a blue pigment—a purified form of cobalt oxide unobtainable at that time in China—that contained only a low level of manganese. Cobalt ores found in China have a high manganese content, which produces a more muted blue-gray color. [■] In the seventeenth century, the trading activities of the Dutch East India Company resulted in vast quantities of decorated Chinese porcelain being brought to Europe, which stimulated and influenced the work of a wide variety of wares, notably Delft. [■] The Chinese themselves adapted many specific vessel forms from the West, such as bottles with long spouts, and designed a range of decorative patterns especially for the European market.
Just as painted designs on Greek pots may seem today to be purely decorative, whereasin fact they were carefully and precisely worked out so that at the time, their meaning was clear, so it is with Chinese pots. To twentieth-century eyes, Chinese pottery may appear merely decorative, yet to the Chinese the form of each object and its adornment had meaning and significance. The dragon represented the emperor, and the phoenix, the empress; the pomegranate indicated fertility, and a pair of fish, happiness; mandarin ducks stood for wedded bliss; the pine tree, peach, and crane are emblems of long life; and fish leaping from waves indicated success in the civil service examinations. Only when European decorative themes were introduced did these meanings become obscured or even lost.
From early times pots were used in both religious and secular contexts. The imperial court commissioned work and in the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1279-1368) an imperial ceramic factory was established at Jingdezhen. Pots played an important part in some religious ceremonies. Long and often lyrical descriptions of the different types of ware exist that assist in classifying pots, although thesesometimes confuse an already large and complicated picture.
1. The word “status” in the passage is closest in meaning to
2. According to paragraph 2, which of the following is true of Chinese ceramics?
A. The function of ceramics remained the same from dynasty to dynasty.
B. The use of ceramics as trade objects is better documented than the use of ceramics as ritual objects.
C. There was little variation in quality for any type of ceramics over time.
D. Some religious sculptures were made using the earthenware type of ceramics.
3. The word “evolved” in the passage is closest in meaning to
4. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
A. While stonewares and porcelains are found throughout most historical periods, religious sculpture is limited to the ancient period.
B. Religious sculpture was created in most periods, but its history is less clear than that of stonewares or porcelains because some old forms continued to be used even when new ones were developed.
C. While stonewares and porcelains changed throughout history, religious sculpture remained uniform in form and use.
D. The historical development of religious sculpture is relatively unclear because religious sculptures sometimes resemble earthenware architectural ornaments.
5. Paragraph 3 supports all of the following concerning the history of the ceramic industry in China EXCEPT:
A. The earliest high-fired ceramics were of poor quality.
B. Ceramics produced during the Tang and Ming dynasties sometimes incorporated multiple colors.
C. Earthenware ceramics were produced in China before stonewares were.
D. The Song dynasty period was notable for the production of high quality porcelain ceramics.
6. The word “instigated” in the passage is closest in meaning to
7. According to paragraph 4, one consequence of the trade of Chinese ceramics was
A. the transfer of a distinctive blue pigment from China to the Middle East
B. an immediate change from earthenware production to porcelain production in European countries
C. Chinese production of wares made for the European market
D. a decreased number of porcelain vessels available on the European market
8. The word “whereas” in the passage is closest in meaning to
9. In paragraph 5, the author compares the designs on Chinese pots to those on Greek pots in order to
A. emphasize that while Chinese pots were decorative, Greek pots were functional
B. argue that the designs on Chinese pots had specific meanings and were not just decorative
C. argue that twentieth-century scholars are better able to understand these designs than were ancient scholars
D. explain how scholars have identified the meaning of specific images on Chinese pots
10. Which of the following is mentioned in paragraph 5 as being symbolically represented on Chinese ceramics?
A. Chinese rulers
B. love of homeland
C. loyally to friends
D. success in trade
11. Paragraph 5 suggests which of the following about the decorations on Chinese pottery?
A. They had more importance for aristocrats than for ordinary citizens.
B. Their significance may have remained clear had the Chinese not come under foreign influence.
C. They contain some of the same images that appear on Greek pots
D. Their significance is now as clear to twentieth century observers as it was to the early Chinese.
12. The word “these” in the passage refers to
A. religious ceremonies
C. types of ware
13. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage. Where could the sentence best fit?
Foreign trade was also responsible for certain innovations in coloring.
14. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.Ceramics have been produced in China for a very long time.
A. The Chinese produced earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain pottery and they used their ceramics for a variety of utilitarian, architectural, and ceremonial purposes.
B. The shape and decoration of ceramics produced for religious use in China were influenced by Chinese ceramics produced for export.
C. As a result of trade relations, Chinese ceramic production changed and Chinese influenced the ceramics production of other countries.
D. Chinese burial ceramics have the longest and most varied history of production and were frequently decorated with written texts that help scholars date them.
E. Before China had contact with the West, the meaning of various designs used to decorate Chinese ceramics was well understood.
F. Ceramics made in imperial factories were used in both religious and non-religious contexts.
1.B, 2.D, 3.C, 4.B, 5.A, 6.D, 7.C, 8.A, 9.B, 10.A, 11.B, 12.B, 13.B, 14.ACE