Tang Dynasty Antiquities (1)
Tang Dynasty Antiquities (2)
Amphora in white glaze
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In the exhibition, The Best of Both Worlds, treasures that show the broad range of items in the Hong Kong Museum of Art’s Chinese Antiquities collection are on display. The most abundant category is ceramics.

The evolution of Chinese ceramics chronicles the long history of Chinese culture and the rise and fall of dynasties.

Much of what we know of the development of Chinese art and culture is based on ancient artefacts. Most of these, particularly pottery and ceramic pieces, were found in ancient tombs and burial sites. The items unearthed from these graves give insights into the life and the society of ancient China.

From Neolithic times, the burial of the deceased was ritualised and filled with pottery items, such as food vessels and personalised possessions, to accompany the passage of the departed into the next realm. 

During the Han dynasty, burials and funerary figurines and tributes became more sophisticated. Objects that were reminders of a comfortable life here were placed in tombs so the deceased would be provided with the same in the afterlife.

Funerary pottery reached its peak of technical brilliance in the middle of the Tang dynasty (618-907). The dynasty spanned three centuries and saw an enormously successful and continuous era of ceramics production. It is regarded as one of the most glorious eras in Chinese history as it was a single unified empire for a considerable period.

The ceramics produced during this period reflected the prosperity of the times and the foreign trade that proliferated along the Silk Road. The influence of different societies and cultures fostered the development of innovative decorations, styles, and techniques.

Text & photos by Cammy Yiu