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lyle

Life Expectancy Of Ceramics

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In church today, somebody described a glazed pot she had purchased and really liked. She asked the store proprietor how long the pot would last. He replied that it would last her lifetime. (The shop is described here: https://www.facebook.com/thepotshop)

 

I have always assumed that the life expectancy of a ceramic work is pretty much limited only by its exposure to clumsy humans. The little pots thrown by the girls in our church group and fired in the garage should last thousands of years, if archeologists can find intact pottery that is tens of thousands of years old, made under primitive conditions.

 

Have I missed something?

 

Thanks in advance!

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Guest JBaymore

I have seen pots in museums in Japan that are dated to 15,000 years ago.  Recently there have been excavation s in CHina that found older pieces.

 

I have some Jomon Period pot shards that are about 5000 years old.

 

best,

 

..............john

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I use this as a selling point. I have a bit of schitck were I describe how beakers thousands of years old exist, and that the beaker they purchase today could be found by the archeologists of the future....it works pretty well, too!

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I visited the Banpo Museum, Xian, China, that had several most impressive hand-built pottery, circa 4500 B.C. to 3750 B.C. As this is very close to the site of the Terracotta Warriors, it was on the tour I was on. I think I was as impressed by some of this museum that housed the entire village excavation as I was the warriors. They also had the kiln site included in the museum.  The warriors were way up on my list of things to do when my wife and I went to China, paid a little extra to do that leg of the trip. Banpo was worth the extra money in itself, but then I like museums, and historic sites.

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The real question is when they find them will they be great pots or lesser wares?

Without being able to see the ones not available/unearthed, how can you tell? Many of the pots in museums we hold so dearly as "great" may have been the discards and throw-aways. One man's/woman's shard pile is another man's/woman's treasure.

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I think great pots are a little like great houses.

 

There's a theory that houses that are loved (because they perform their function so well) are the ones that are preserved down through the centuries, that we come to think of as being great. 

 

It might be the same with pots.  Pots are breakable.  The ones that are best-loved may survive a little longer than pots that are not well-loved.

 

Think of it as survival of the fittest.

 

On the other hand, in our house, the pots that get broken are the ones that we use the most, because we love to use them, so I'm probably wrong.  Houses are not as fragile as pots.  But looking at great pots in museums make me think that like other art forms, the ones that survive down the centuries have passed some kind of esthetic test.

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Guest JBaymore

 Many of the pots in museums we hold so dearly as "great" may have been the discards and throw-aways.

 

I've often wondered about the museum curator's lovely designation of Korean "Yellow Celadon".  Potters trying to get the wonderful celadon color get that yellow when the kiln is not reduced enough at the right time.  Likely there are dead Korean potters spinning in their graves.  ;)

 

best,

 

...................john

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 Many of the pots in museums we hold so dearly as "great" may have been the discards and throw-aways.

 

I've often wondered about the museum curator's lovely designation of Korean "Yellow Celadon".  Potters trying to get the wonderful celadon color get that yellow when the kiln is not reduced enough at the right time.  Likely there are dead Korean potters spinning in their graves.  ;)

 

best,

 

...................john

 

 

Very true John.  A lot of what is in museums, is there because we like the aesthetic now.  They may not have liked it then; see Van Gogh.  

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It's probably useful to remember that pottery as an intentional art form is relatively new.  If you go back more than a few centuries, the pots you see are likely the pots that sold the best.  That everyone wanted.

 

Of course, there were exceptions.  Makers of imperial ware, for example, probably considered themselves to be artists, though perhaps they were not self-directed in the way that we think of artists today.

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My Lladro lasted about three years after my oldest started to walking. The museum pieces were lucky to be sold to people without young children or grandchildren in the home. In my experience, the life span of any piece is directly proportional to the age of the children around the studio/home.

 

Jed

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My Lladro lasted about three years after my oldest started to walking. The museum pieces were lucky to be sold to people without young children or grandchildren in the home. In my experience, the life span of any piece is directly proportional to the age of the children around the studio/home.

Jed

Location is everything.

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