China has one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations—despite invasions and occasional foreign rule. A country as vast as China with so long-lasting a civilization has a complex social and visual history, within which pottery and porcelain play a major role.
The function and status of ceramics in China varied from dynasty to dynasty, so they may be utilitarian, burial, trade-collectors', or even ritual objects, according to their quality and the era in which they were made. The ceramics fall into three broad types—earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain—for vessels, architectural items such as roof tiles, and modeled objects and figures. In addition, there was an important group of sculptures made for religious use, the majority of which were produced in earthenware.
The earliest ceramics were fired to earthenware temperatures, but as early as the fifteenth century B.C., high-temperature stonewares were being made with glazed surfaces. During the Six Dynasties period (AD 265-589), kilns in north China were producing high-fired ceramics of good quality. Whitewares produced in Hebei and Henan provinces from the seventh to the tenth centuries evolved into the highly prized porcelains of the Song dynasty (AD. 960-1279), long regarded as one of the high points in the history of China's ceramic industry. The tradition of religious sculpture extends over most historical periods but is less clearly delineated than that of stonewares or porcelains, for it embraces the old custom of earthenware burial ceramics with later religious images and architectural ornament. Ceramic products also include lead-glazed tomb models of the Han dynasty, three-color lead-glazed vessels and figures of the Tang dynasty, and Ming three-color temple ornaments, in which the motifs were outlined in a raised trail of slip—as well as the many burial ceramics produced in imitation of vessels made in materials of higher intrinsic value.
Trade between the West and the settled and prosperous Chinese dynasties introduced new forms and different technologies. One of the most far-reaching examples is the impact of the fine ninth-century AD. Chinese porcelain wares imported into the Arab world. So admired were these pieces that they encouraged the development of earthenware made in imitation of porcelain and instigated research into the method of their manufacture. From the Middle East the Chinese acquired a blue pigment—a purified form of cobalt oxide unobtainable at that time in China—that contained only a low level of manganese. Cobalt ores found in China have a high manganese content, which produces a more muted blue-gray color. In the seventeenth century, the trading activities of the Dutch East India Company resulted in vast quantities of decorated Chinese porcelain being brought to Europe, which stimulated and influenced the work of a wide variety of wares, notably Delft. The Chinese themselves adapted many specific vessel forms from the West, such as bottles with long spouts, and designed a range of decorative patterns especially for the European market.
Just as painted designs on Greek pots may seem today to be purely decorative, whereas in fact they were carefully and precisely worked out so that at the time, their meaning was clear, so it is with Chinese pots. To twentieth-century eyes, Chinese pottery may appear merely decorative, yet to the Chinese the form of each object and its adornment had meaning and significance. The dragon represented the emperor, and the phoenix, the empress; the pomegranate indicated fertility, and a pair of fish, happiness; mandarin ducks stood for wedded bliss; the pine tree, peach, and crane are emblems of long life; and fish leaping from waves indicated success in the civil service examinations. Only when European decorative themes were introduced did these meanings become obscured or even lost.
From early times pots were used in both religious and secular contexts. The imperial court commissioned work and in the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1279-1368) an imperial ceramic factory was established at Jingdezhen. Pots played an important part in some religious ceremonies. Long and often lyrical descriptions of the different types of ware exist that assist in classifying pots, although these sometimes confuse an already large and complicated picture.
西方与沉稳繁荣的中国朝代之间的贸易引进了新的形式和不同的技术。最深远的例子之一是公元9世纪精细的影响。中国瓷器进口到阿拉伯世界。所以他们钦佩的是，他们鼓励模仿陶瓷制作的陶器的发展，并对其制造方法进行研究。中国从中东获得了一种蓝色色素 - 一种当时在中国只能得到纯化的氧化钴的纯化形式 - 只含有少量的锰。在中国发现的钴矿石含锰量高，产生更为柔和的蓝灰色。十七世纪荷兰东印度公司的贸易活动，使大量的中国瓷器被带到欧洲，刺激和影响了各种各样的器皿，特别是代尔夫特的工作。中国人自己改编了许多来自西方的具体船型，如长嘴巴的瓶子，并且特别为欧洲市场设计了一系列装饰图案。
从早期的宗教和世俗的情况下使用锅。宫廷委托工作，元朝（公元1279 - 1368年）在景德镇建立了一个皇家陶瓷厂。盆在一些宗教仪式中扮演重要角色。存在着对不同类型的器皿的长时间的抒情描述，这有助于对器皿进行分类，尽管这些描述有时会混淆已经很大而且复杂的图片。
The word “status” in the passage is closest in meaning to