Chapter One: Ceramics in China and the Near East


Bowl with cobalt-blue inscriptions, 9th century. Iraq, probably Basra

After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

  • identify how trade and cultural ties led to artistic exchange between China and the Near East from the tenth to the seventeenth century
  • recognize visual evidence of these exchanges in ceramic works of art

This chapter explores how trade connections between China and the Near East informed Near Eastern ceramic production, beginning in the eighth century.

Contact between China and the Near East predates the advent of Islam in the seventh century; sea and land routes connected the two regions as early as the third century B.C.

On their journeys, traveling merchants were exposed to different peoples, places, and cultures.

In the Islamic world, luxury ceramics became popular and were appreciated for their aesthetic appeal and affordability.

Read in-depth information about featured works of art related to this unit.

A list of resources for additional reading, with grade levels indicated

A list of sources used to compile the information in this unit

Unit Seven: Chapter One Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan: Ceramics in China
and the Near East

Students will be able to identify ways works of art reflect exchange between Chinese and Near Eastern civilizations; recognize ways animals act as symbols in various cultures; and create a tile that highlights the qualities and traits commonly associated with an animal.

Tile with image of a phoenix

The lesson plan related to Ceramics in China and the Near East features a late thirteenth-century tile with the image of a phoenix.