The Chinese have long been known for their ceramics and there are several pieces which are commanding very high prices in auctions and other sales around the world. There is evidence that shows that the first ceramics in China were created during the Palaeolithic era and ever since the Chinese have been producing the finest quality ceramics.
Porcelain is a form of ceramic that is very closely associated with China and it is usually referred to as ‘China’ as a result. The later pieces were mass-produced and this means that they are less valuable than the older pieces and often the name of the potter was not noted. In China the majority of the major kiln workshops were directly owned by the Emperor or were used solely to create ceramics for him and there was a difference in quality between the works that were produced for the court and for the public.
Almost from the time production began at the workshop, large quantities of ceramics were exported to other countries, reaching Europe in the 16th century. The way in which the Chinese developed their ceramics had a strong influence on the way in which other countries developed their ceramics industries.
There have been several instances of people finding valuable Chinese vases and other pieces and being able to sell them for a lot of money. Certain types of ceramics are associated with specific eras in Chinese history and eras such as Ming and Tang are familiar names with many people. A recent example has seen a Chinese vase dating from the 18th century sell for around £14 million. It was part of a family inheritance and had spent decades tucked away in a shoe box as the owners were unaware of its value. This vase dates from the time of the Qianlong Emperor and was sold to an Asian buyer.