Porcelain is a type of hard pottery. It is white, but mildly transluscent and can be decorated to provide colour.
Chinese porcelain is made from a hard paste comprised of the clay kaolin and a feldspar called petuntse, which cements the vessel and seals any pores. China is high-quality porcelain. Most china comes from the city of Jingdezhen in China's Jiangxi province.
Jingdezhen, under a variety of names, has been central to porcelain production in China since at least the early Han Dynasty. Earliest techniques were very primitive, barely above the level of mere pottery. By the time of the Southern and Northern Dynasty period, however, techniques had been refined to the point that the clay in Jingdezhen made for what could be called porcelain.
The Sui and Tang Dynasties introduced high-temperature kilns, bringing with it the pure, translucent whites, attractive to the eye, as well as a variety of advanced glazing techniques resulting in smooth, durable porcelain. The resulting product was often referred to as "false jade".
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The Europeans used a soft paste, which makes for weaker porcelain than the Chinese method. To compensate, around 1750 the English began to use calcined bone ash to strengthen their porcelain, with the resulting material (typically comprising 25% to 50% bone ash) becoming known as bone china.