Chinese ceramics is a form of fine art developed since the dynastic periods. China has always been richly endowed with the raw materials needed for making ceramics. The first types were made about 11,000 years ago, during the Palaeolithic era. Chinese Ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns to the sophisticated porcelain wares made for the imperial court.
The Chinese term for porcelain (Chinese:) covers a wide range of high-fired ceramics, some of which may not be recognized as porcelain by Western definitions. Porcelain is usually green-fired or once-fired, which means that the body and the glaze are fired together. After the body of a piece is formed and finished it is dried, coated with a glaze, dried again and fired. In the high temperature of the kiln the body and the glaze are fused together to become a unit. Chinese enamelled wares are also produced in this way, except enamels are added after the first high-temperature firing. The pieces are then fired again in a second round via a smaller, lower-temperature kiln.
Chinese porcelain is mainly made by the following two materials or a combination of the two. Both rocks derive from the weathering and decomposition of granitic rocks. China clay / (Gaoling) - composed largely of the clay mineral kaolinite. Chinese porcelain stone - also generically known as petunse, is a micaceous rock containing sericite and other minerals including quartz. Both are composed of platy minerals consisting of small platelets that ultimately allow the material to hold large amounts of water. This is important as various methods used for forming the body parts depend on the application of compression to align the platelets. One example is throwing on a wheel to increase the plasticity and workability of the clay body.