Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History of Art and Archaeology & School of Arts

Module overview

Using the Percival David Collection in the British Museum as primary source material, this course examines the history and development of ceramics in China from the 10th to the 18th century (Song – Qing periods). The role of ceramics in Chinese culture forms a focus for the course, which aims to place ceramics in the contexts of both ceramic history and Chinese visual and material culture. Using critical approaches from art history, archaeology and materials science, students will explore aspects of the subject in detail, as they pertain to ceramic analysis, including: design, style, production, consumption, connoisseurship and historiography. Practical learning approaches include visits to the British Museum galleries, object handling and cataloguing exercises.


  • Students enrol via the online Module Sign-Up system. Students are advised of the timing of this process via email by the Faculty Office.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

This course will enable students to:

  • identify and analyse critically a wide range of Chinese ceramics
  • develop familiarity with the technological development of Chinese ceramics
    and its impact on visual and aesthetic properties
  • demonstrate an understanding of the cultural and historical contexts for ceramic production in China


  • One hour Lecture, one hour Seminar

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction to the course and the Percival David Collection
  2. Ceramic Technology in China
  3. Historical overview: Neolithic to Tang ceramics
  4. Song Ceramics I
  5. Song Ceramics II
  6. Yuan Ceramics
  7. Ming Ceramics I
  8. Ming Ceramics II
  9. Qing Ceramics I
  10. Qing Ceramics II + review

Method of assessment

  • One 1,000-word object report (worth 40%)
  • One 2,000-word essay (worth 60%)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules