A History of Song Dynasty Ceramics explores the range of ceramics produced in China and in its conquered territories from the middle of the 10th to the latter parts of the 13th centuries. It looks primarily at the pottery and porcelain dating from the Song Dynasty, but also refers to the ceramics that originated in the territories held by the Liao and Jin Dynastic rulers. It considers the range of pottery and porcelain produced by Song Dynasty potters from that made in the provinces for the non-aristocratic to the finest of the tribute wares made for the Imperial palaces.
Setting out to improve understanding of the work of the potters and the ceramic pieces that they produced, it also explores the context within which the potting, decorating and firing was done and within which the resulting products were appreciated, traded and used.
It examines how the ceramics of the Song period were the outcome of much complexity: the technologies of the times, the raw materials available, the traditions of skilled work in the kiln complexes, the socialisation of the workforce that made them amenable to organisation for mass production, the burgeoning economic climate and the development of a distinctively Song sense of aesthetic taste in which harmony between form and function was achieved by understatement and refinement.