China plates wiki

China plates wiki DEFAULT

Yangtze Plate

Small tectonic plate carrying the bulk of southern China

The Yangtze Plate, also called the South China Block or the South China Subplate, comprises the bulk of southern China. It is separated on the east from the Okinawa Plate by a rift that forms the Okinawa Trough which is a back-arc basin, on the south by the Sunda Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate, and on the north and west by the Eurasian Plate. The Longmenshan Fault on the latter border was the site of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.[1]

The Yangtze Plate was formed by the disaggregation of the RodiniaSupercontinent 750 million years ago, in the Neoproterozoicera. South China rifted away from the Gondwana supercontinent in the Silurian. During the formation of the great supercontinent Pangaea, South China was a smaller, separate continent located off the east coast of the supercontinent and drifting northward. In the Triassic the Yangtze Plate collided with the North China Plate, thereby connecting with Pangaea, and formed the Sichuan basin. In the Cenozoic the Yangtze Plate was influenced by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates creating the uplifting of the Longmen Mountains.[2] Its southward motion is accommodated along the Red River fault.




Vehicle registration plates of China

This article is about the People's Republic of China. For Taiwan, the Republic of China, see Vehicle registration plates of Taiwan.

China vehicle license plates

Vehicle registration plates in China are mandatory metal or plastic plates attached to motor vehicles in mainland China for official identification purposes. The plates are issued by the local traffic management offices, which are sub-branches of local public security bureaus, under the rules of the Ministry of Public Security.

Hong Kong and Macau, both of which are special administrative regions of China, issue their own licence plates, a legacy of when they were under British and Portuguese administration. Vehicles from Hong Kong and Macau are required to apply for licence plates, usually from Guangdong province, to travel on roads in Mainland China. Vehicles from Mainland China have to apply for Hong Kong licence plates or Macau licence plates to enter those territories.

The font used on the plates were said to be modified from the East Asian Gothic typeface, but speculations exist as the numbers and letters somewhat bear similarity with the German font DIN 1451.[citation needed]


Blue PRC licence plates of the 1992 standard. This is an example of a vehicle registered to a Chinese citizen or entity.

Black PRC licence plates of the 1992 standard. This is an example of a vehicle registered to a foreign national, or a Chinese person who is not a citizen of Mainland China

1986-series plate[edit]

Layout and examples of 1986-series plates.

In July 1986, the 1986-Series Plates were put into use. The layout and format for them are listed out as follows:

Vehicle type Colouring Size (mm) Notes
Light passenger/cargo vehicles White-on-light green 300 x 165 May come with a letter replacing the first number.
Heavy goods vehicles White-on-violet
Heavy/light hand-assisted tractors,

special-use vehicles, electric cars

Testing vehicles and training vehicles White-on-blue
Foreigner-owned vehicles White-on-black Red-on-black for limited-activity

(i.e. only allowed to drive within city limits denoted by the regional code)

Trailers Black-on-white
Plate replacement permits Red-on-white 200 x 120
Temporary plates Black-on-white
Two/three-wheeled motorcycles White-on-light green
Light motorcycles Violet-on-white

Hong Kong and Macau vehicles are issued with plates for Shenzhen (广东02) and Zhuhai (广东03), respectively. Red-on-black plate-bearing vehicles are only allowed to drive within said cities. White-on-black vehicles are permitted to drive within Guangdong province, while if the vehicles are issued with green or violet plates according to their types, they have no area limitations.

Public security vehicles (e.g. police) are issued with single-line plates with the format GARR-####, where the RR is the regional code, and the following numbers are the serial number, with the "GA" (Abbreviation for 公安, Gong An, "Public security") in red.

The regional codes are as follows:

Region Code
Beijing 11
Tianjin 12
Hebei 13
Shanxi 14
Inner Mongolia 15
Liaoning 21
Jilin 22
Heilongjiang 23
Shanghai 31
Jiangsu 32
Zhejiang 33
Anhui 34
Fujian 35
Jiangxi 36
Shandong 37
Henan 41
Hubei 42
Hunan 43
Guangdong 44
Guangxi 45
Hainan 46
Sichuan 51
Guizhou 52
Yunnan 53
Tibet 54
Shaanxi 61
Gansu 62
Qinghai 63
Ningxia 64
Xinjiang 65

Note: Chongqing was separated from Sichuan as a directly-administered city in 1997, and the 1986-series standard was abolished in 1997 as well, therefore Public security vehicles in Chongqing bear the Sichuan code of GA51, instead of the later-introduced GA50.

1986-series plates are allowed to have the first number in the serial replaced by a letter with a special meaning, such as T for "Taxi", Z for "自备车" (Zi bei che, "self-reserved vehicle"), G for "个体户“ (Ge ti hu, "entrepreneur").

Current Series types[edit]

Common types[edit]

Schematic diagram of plates (1)
Schematic diagram of plates (2)
Schematic diagram of plates (3)
Schematic diagram of plates (4)
Schematic diagram of plates (5)
Schematic diagram of plates (6)

The current plates are of GA36-2014 standard, a further update of the original GA36-1992, made from GB/T 3880.1 and GB/T 3880.2-compliant aluminum material with a thickness of no less than 1.2mm (for rear plates for large vehicles and trailers) or 1.0mm (for any other non-temporary plates), or 200-220g dedicated watermarked paper with plastic sealing for automobiles and motorcycles entering the border on a temporary basis, or 125g white paper-card for temporary license plates. The plates accommodate a one-character provincial abbreviation, a letter of the Pinyin alphabet, and five numbers or letters of the alphabet (Ex. 沪A·12345; 京C·A1234; 苏A·1P234; 浙B·AB987; 粤Z·7C59港). Previously, all licence plates had used the five-number designation. As the number of motor vehicles grew, however, the number had to exceed what was the maximum previously allowable—90,000 or 100,000 vehicles. Therefore, there had become a need to insert Latin letters into the license plate to increase the number of possible combinations (for the full list of alphanumeric sequences permitted see below). This was first done in the bigger cities with only one prefix. Nanjing, for example, began the change with only the first number, which increased the number of possible combinations to 340,000 (with the exceptions of O & I, which cannot be printed without confusion with the numbers 0 & 1). Further changes allowed the first two places, or the second place alone on the plate to be letters, allowing 792,000 more combinations mathematically. More recently, cities have taken to having the third letter alone being a letter, the rest numbers.

Permitted alphanumeric combinations per GA36-2014 standard are listed in the table below. Should the number of combinations issued exceed 60% of the theoretical capacity of its type, the combination next in the list may be put into use after approval from the Vehicle Management Office of the provincial Public Security authority and reporting to the Vehicle Management Office of the Ministry of Public Security.

Note: Y and N in this table reflects whether or not this combination type may be used in registration plates with 4 or 5 places for digits/numbers, while D and L represents any permitted digit or letter respectively.

OrderCombination4 places5 places

The numbers are produced at random, and are computer-generated at the issuing office. Numbers with a sequence of 6s, 8s, or 9s are usually considered to be lucky, therefore special sequences like "88888" or "86888" can be purchased. (A previous licence plate system, with a green background and the full name of the province in Chinese characters, actually had a sequential numbering order, and the numbering system was eventually beset with corruption.)

License plates have different formats that are issued to different vehicles:

Vehicle Type Example Coloring Issued to
Small/Compact Vehicles China license plate Beijing 京 GA36-2007 C.3.jpgWhite-on-Blue Regular vehicles
Small/Compact Vehicles (New Energy) 京A·D12345


Black lettering on Gradient green Start with D (stands for 电) and A, B, C, E is for regular EV vehicles, start with F (stands for 非电) and G, H, J, K is for regular plug-in HEV vehicles
Large Vehicles China license plate Beijing 京 GA36-2007 C.1.1.jpg(front)

China license plate Beijing 京 GA36-2007 C.1.2.jpg(rear)
China license plate Beijing 京 GA36-2007 C.2.jpg(trailer)

Black-on-yellow Vehicles longer than 6m or certified to carry 20+ passengers
Large Vehicles (New Energy) 京A·12345D


Black lettering, yellow for the province code, green for the rest End with D is for large EV vehicles, end with F is for large plug-in HEV vehicles
Agricultural/Municipal vehicles (i.e. forbidden to leave city territory) 京01-00001




White-on-green Mainly agricultural vehicles. Vehicles operating in transport hubs (e.g. airports, ports) receive the "民航"(civil aviation) (for operation in airports) or "X港" (port X) (for operation in seaports, where X is the name of the port) instead of the Chinese character and the first pair of digits.
Coach cars China license plate Beijing 京 GA36-2007 C.7.jpgBlack-on-yellow Cars belonging to driving schools
Test car 京A·0001试
Temporary license (intra-province) China license plate Beijing 京 GA36-2007 C.16.1.1.jpgBlack on patterned light blue (paper) Cars eligible for on-road driving but have not received a license plate yet
Temporary license (cross-province) China license plate Beijing 京 GA36-2007 C.16.2.1.jpgBlack on patterned brown (paper)
Prototypes 沪A·1234超 Black on patterned light blue (paper)
Foreigner-owned (Discontinued) 京A·10000
White-on-Black Cars belonging to foreigners, joint-stock companies, foreign companies and diplomatic staff.
Small Motorcycles (50cc or below) 54321 (Front) (discontinued per GA36-2014 standard)

沪 · C

54321 (Rear)

Large Motorcycles (Above 50cc) Same as above Black-on-yellow
Foreigner-owned motorcycle Same as above White on black Discontinued from Oct 2007

Since October 2007, black plates are no longer issued for vehicles belonging to foreigners, as this was "deemed discriminatory" and instead standard looking blue plates are now issued. However, foreigners still are issued a separate dedicated letter/number sequence to denote that they are a foreign owned/registered vehicle—e.g. in Beijing, the foreign owned plates are in the 京A·#####, 京L·B####, and 京L·C#### sequence. The black plates are still issued to those who registered in both Mainland China and Hong Kong or Macau, specifically in Guangdong province, which are in the sequence of 粤Z·####港/澳.

Registration combinations of written-off vehicles may be "recycled", or used again on a different vehicle only after 6 months from the write-off according to relevant regulations, but as a matter of fact, certain serials of number like 京A·##### in Beijing is not available for general public once recycled for unspecified reasons, and there is reasonable doubt that corrupted officials benefited from the issuance of these special combinations. For example, Song Jianguo, former Commissioner of Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, the traffic branch of Beijing Municipal Public Safety Bureau, was sentenced for life, found guilty of corruption relating to registration plates issuance fraud.[1]

Police Service, Armed Police Force, and Military[edit]

Licence plates for China's Police Service, Armed Police Force, and Military are in a white background, with red and black text.

Police Service plates have a designated format of X·LLNNN警 (X is the geographical abbreviation, N is a digit, and L is either a digit or a letter; "警" means police and is coloured red, but the separator dot is no longer a circle, rather, a dash). These plates are issued to traffic police, some patrol vehicles, court, and procuratorate vehicles.

Sample of a 2012 series CAPF plates (Replaced by the 2019 series as of Oct 2019)

The plates’ combination of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force ("武警") begins with the pinyinwujing abbreviation WJ.

The 2012 series of CAPF vehicle registration plates is in the WJ P NNNNL pattern, where the stands for a Chinese character i.e. for Beijing, serving as the provincial identifier, and the L denotes the first letter in pinyin of the branch of service. e.g. WJ沪 1234X = a vehicle for firefighting use in Shanghai

The 2004 series use the format WJNN-NNNNN.

The first two small letters behind the WJ are area prefixes:

  • WJ01-NNNNN. = Headquarters
  • WJ31-NNNNN. = Beijing
  • WJ14-NNNNN. = Shandong
  • WJ21-NNNNN. = Hainan

The Alphabet Numeral behind the area prefix shows the section of the Armed police:

  • WJ01-JNNNN. = Official Guards, Official and Diplomatic Escorts
  • WJ01-BNNNN. = Border Police
  • WJ01-XNNNN. = Firefighter (Fire Department)
  • WJ01-1NNNN. = Headquarters

Military vehicles previously had plates using a code of heavenly stems in red. After reorganization in 2004, again in 2013 military vehicles now use a more organized prefix. These licence plates use the format XL·NNNNN (X is a prefix, L is a letter).

The People's Liberation Army vehicle prefixes 2013:

Military vehicles can be identified by having a red letter from the alphabet *V

  • V PLA Central Military Commission
  • K PLA Air Force
  • H PLA Navy
  • B PLA Beijing Military
  • VA PLA Central Military Commission
  • VB PLA Political Works
  • VC PLA Logistical Support
  • VD PLA Equipment Development

The People's Liberation Army vehicle prefixes 2004:

Vehicles of the Central Military Commission
Vehicles of the Headquarters of People's Liberation Army
Vehicles of the PLA's units at Army-Grade or above.Deputy-Military-Region-Grade, Military-Region-Grade.

The Ground Force of PLA vehicle of the various military regions have their own prefixes:

The Navy of PLA vehicle prefixes:

The Air Force of PLA vehicle prefixes:

Vehicles with government or military plates are not subject to the Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国道路交通安全法); they may run red lights, drive in the wrong direction or weave in and out of traffic.[2] Communist party officials and People's Liberation Army members are also exempt from paying road tolls and adhering to parking regulations.[3][4] According to Xinhua News Agency, "police officers are also reluctant to pull over drivers of military vehicles even if the drivers are breaking the law",[4][5] which is the reason behind an emerging trend in which individuals purchase counterfeit military registration plates to avoid being pulled over by police and to avoid road fees. Xinhua News Agency reported in 2008 that since July 2006, the government has confiscated over 4,000 fake military vehicles and 6,300 fake plates and has apprehended over 5,000 people belonging to criminal gangs; under Chinese law, those caught driving under fake registration plates are fined up to 2,000 RMB, and counterfeiters can be jailed for up to three years.[4][6]


Motorcycle licence plates are nearly the same as that for ordinary vehicles, but are less in length and look more like an elongated square than a banner-like rectangle. There are two lines of text (province code and letter on the top, numbers on the bottom).

For qingqi or low-powered motorbikes, blue licence plates are issued throughout.

Embassies and consulates[edit]

Chinese diplomatic license plate. The first code is the character: 使(shǐ, literally "diplomatic"), representing the embassy. The code 132 represents the Czech Republic, but it may not be due to Beijing having codes unreleased due to privacy reasons.

Embassy and consulate vehicles have their own licence plate with a red character and six white numbers. Embassy plates have a black background (following the foreigner plate standard, as previously mentioned). Embassies use 使 (shǐ) (for 使馆, which means 'embassy') and are used only in Beijing. Consulates use 领 (lǐng) (for 领事馆, which means 'consulate') and are used for representations outside Beijing. Numbers on embassy plates are formatted so that the first three digits represent the foreign entity/organization the vehicle is registered to while the last three digits are sequential, where 001 is (generally) the Ambassador's car, for example: 使 224 001 is the car used by the Ambassador of the United States. Numbers 002 to 005 are usually reserved for official use and therefore have the comfort of the highest levels of diplomatic immunity.

In order to protect the privacy of foreign diplomats in the P.R. China, Beijing does not release information on embassies' vehicles, so it is possible that some data in the list of plate prefixes of embassies in Beijing below may not be correct.

Other types[edit]

Vehicles for use in automobile tests, vehicles for use in driving schools (examination and test-driving), and vehicles at airports all have their own separate licence plates.

For automobile tests, licence plates consist of black characters on a yellow background with the suffix shi (试 short in Chinese for ce shi or test). For driving schools, different plates apply for test-drive vehicles (jiaolian che) and examination vehicles (kaoshi che).

Airports have licence plates with white characters on a green background with the designation min hang (民航; 'Civilian Air Transportation'). This shade of green is slightly lighter than the variant used on normal licence plates prior to 1992. Some vehicles belonging to airports that operate in its vicinity (rather than inside its perimeters) have dark-green lettering on a white background. These plates, unlike others, permit the use of letter I (as in the SPIA-A00 series used in Shanghai Pudong International Airport)

Sometimes, to avoid privacy invasion, modern Chinese TV show series are set in fictitious locations. Vehicles featured in these shows often carry registration plates with non-valid provincial abbreviations and/or invalid typefaces.

Cross-border with Hong Kong and Macau[edit]

Guangdong border crossing plate displayed on a vehicle below a standard Hong Kong plate.

Licence plates with a black background and the character 港 or 澳 in place of the last number are used for Hong Kong and Macau vehicles, respectively, when they engage in cross-border traffic to and from Mainland China. These plates often exist side by side with a local Hong Kong or Macau licence plates on the same car. See the section on Guangdong license plates.

Interim licence plates[edit]

Front of Interim licence plate (drive in an administrative area only)

Back of Interim licence plate (drive in an administrative area only)

Front of Interim licence plate (drive outside of an administrative area only)

Back of Interim licence plate (drive outside of an administrative area only)

Interim licence plates are a piece of paper to be affixed to the front of the vehicle's window, usually valid for 15 days.

Shortlived 2002 standard[edit]

Example of the 2002-standard plate.

For a short while in the summer of 2002, a new 2002 standard was instituted in several cities, including Beijing. They enabled number/alphabetical customisation. (The possible combinations were NNN-NNN, NNN-LLL and LLL-NNN, where N would be a number and L a letter. However, although the usage of "CHN", to designate China, was not permitted in the plates, that restriction, oddly enough, did not apply to the letters "PRC".) The VIN was also added to the new plates, and the plates were white, with a gradual blue tint at the bottom end of the plates. Black letters were used on the plate.

In late August 2002 new 2002 standard plates had their issuance temporarily interrupted, officially for technical reasons, but actually because some number/alphabetical combinations of a controversial nature in Mainland China were utilised. One of the biggest controversies was when a vehicle with plate number USA-911 was spotted in Beijing, causing an uproar as it was taken to be a reference to the September 11 attacks, and as such was criticized as being disrespectful to Americans. Equal uproars were created with such plates as PRC-001, and trademark violations were rife; the plate number IBM-001 and was seen. The WTO acronym was also spotted in the plates. In a society that is still rather conservative in this topic, the plate SEX-001 was the source of yet another controversy. The number 250, an insult in spoken Chinese, was also spotted in some plates.

Possibly due to the controversies as described above, as of summer 2003, the new plates are no longer being issued. Old plates of the 2002 standard are not being recalled. Cars who have lost their 2002-standard plates are disallowed to get a 2002-standard replacement. The 1992-standard plates will be issued instead.

New 2007 Standard (GA36-2007)[edit]

Ambox current red.svg

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(May 2018)

The Ministry of Public Security has announced on October 30, 2007, that the 1992 vehicle license plate system will be overhauled on November 1, 2007.

  • The current black license plates assigned to foreign-owned vehicles will be phased out. New vehicles will be issued "normal" blue license plates.
  • Two roman letters (not including O, or I, which could be confused with numerals) may be included among the last five places of the plate number.

A minor difference between the 2007- and the 1992-standard plates is that the separator dot between the regional code and the serial on 2007-standard plates is embossed along the characters, while that on 1992-standard plates are pressed into the plate, in the opposite direction of the characters.

Number plates issued in the 1992 standard will not be recalled but black plates will no longer be issued. Neither will plates issued to embassies be affected.

It is believed this is a China-wide standard. Many provinces and municipal cities have since introduced personalized number plates with different limitations. It is generally possible to choose from several alphabetical-numerical combination and personalize some of the digits.

For some provinces it is possible to have a letter occupying the last place of the combination, possibly to increase combination numbers. [7]

New Energy vehicles license plates[edit]

Small New Energy vehicle license plate
Large New Energy vehicle license plate

On November 21, 2016, the MPS announced the New Energy vehicles license plates which have been instituted in Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuxi, Jinan, and Shenzhen since December 1, 2016. These plates consist of a one-character provincial abbreviation, a letter indicating the city, and a six-character alphanumerical string, in which "D" ("E") means Electric car, "F" means other types of vehicles powered by New Energy. For small vehicles or Large New Energy vehicles, this letter is located in the first place or the last place, respectively.[8]

New Energy Vehicle License Plates are instituted in more than 10 cities as of 2017.[9]

License Plate Fonts & Templates for New Energy Vehicles Plates & 2019-Standard Firetruck Plates

Dimensions for the Chinese character remains at 45 × 90 mm as the 1992 standard, whereas numbers are reduced to thinner 43 × 90mm dimensions alongside a change in font, which is now found on 2019-standard registration plates for firetrucks as well.

List of prefixes[edit]

The following lists all licence plate prefixes in use in the People's Republic of China, divided into four sections: municipalities, provinces, autonomous regions and others.



The initial character on licence plates issued in Beijing is: 京 (pinyin: Jīng)

  • 京A(Color in Yellow)-buses
  • 京C, 京E, 京F, 京H, 京J, 京K, 京L, 京M, 京P, 京Q - Urban area
  • 京B - Taxis
  • 京G - Suburbs
  • 京N, 京P, 京Y - Suburbs and urban area
  • 京A, 京LB, 京LC - foreigner or foreign company owned vehicle
  • 京O·A - Ministry of Public Security
  • 京V - Central Guard Bureau of Beijing Garrison Military License


The initial character on licence plates issued in Chongqing is: 渝 ()

The former division before May 18, 2017:

  • 渝A — Urban area
  • 渝B — Urban area
  • 渝C — Yongchuan District, Jiangjin, Hechuan, Tongnan County, Tongliang County, Bishan County, Dazu County, Qijiang County, Rongchang County
  • 渝D — Urban area
  • 渝F — Wanzhou District, Liangping County, Chengkou County, Wushan County, Wuxi County, Zhong County, Kaizhou District, Fengjie County, Yunyang County
  • 渝G — Fuling District, Nanchuan, Dianjiang County, Fengdu County, Wulong County
  • 渝H — Qianjiang District, Shizhu Tujia Autonomous County, Xiushan Tujia and Miao Autonomous County, Youyang Tujia and Miao Autonomous County, Pengshui Miao and Tujia Autonomous County

From May 18, 2017, Chongqing has no division for number plate prefixes, newly registed vehicles can choose any prefix among 渝A, 渝B, 渝C, 渝D, 渝F, 渝G, 渝H from any district and county in Chongqing.


The initial character on licence plates issued in Shanghai is: 沪 ()

  • 沪A, 沪B, 沪D, 沪E, 沪F, 沪G, 沪H, 沪J, 沪K, 沪L, 沪M, 沪N — Urban area and suburbs.
  • 沪C — Suburbs, not allowed to enter the urban area (i.e. not allowed to travel within the Outer Ring).
  • 沪R — Chongming Island, Changxing Island, Hengsha Island, not allowed to leave the places above.

For the third character of the license plates (with 4 digits following):

  • Z — New energy vehicles (except licenses begin with 沪A and 沪C).
  • M, N, U to X — Taxis.
  • Y — Vehicles for rent, owned by car renting operators.


The initial character on licence plates issued in Tianjin is: 津 (Jīn)

  • 津A, 津B, 津C, 津F, 津G, 津H, 津I, 津J, 津K, 津L, 津M, 津N, 津P, 津Q, 津R — General Issues
  • 津E — Taxis
  • 津O — Ministry of Public Security



The initial character on licence plates issued in Anhui is: 皖 (Wǎn)


The initial character on licence plates issued in Fujian is: 闽 (Mǐn)


The initial character on licence plates issued in Gansu is: 甘 (Gān)


Black PRC licence plates of the 1992 standard for vehicles from Hong Kong that are permitted to cross into Mainland China.

The initial character on licence plates issued in Guangdong is: 粤 (Yuè)


The initial character on licence plates issued in Guizhou is: 贵 (Guì)

  1. Barstool seat replacement
  2. Zombie dnd 5e
  3. Midland tx obituaries
  4. Kbb used value
  5. Subaru outback key

Plate (dishware)

Flat vessel on which food can be served

Chelsea porcelainbotanical plate with spray of fruiting Indian bean tree; circa 1755; overall: 4 × 23.2 × 23.2 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art

A plate is a broad, concave, but mainly flat vessel on which food can be served.[1] A plate can also be used for ceremonial or decorative purposes. Most plates are circular, but they may be any shape, or made of any water-resistant material. Generally plates are raised round the edges, either by a curving up, or a wider lip or raised portion. Vessels with no lip, especially if they have a more rounded profile, are likely to be considered as bowls or dishes, as are very large vessels with a plate shape. Plates are dishware, and tableware. Plates in wood, pottery and metal go back into antiquity in many cultures.

In Western culture and many other cultures, the plate is the typical form of vessel off which food is eaten, and on which it is served if not too liquid. The main rival is the bowl, or banana leaf, which predominates for both purposes in South Asian, Southeast Asian, and East Asian cultures, for example.



A plate is typically composed of:

  • The well, the bottom of the plate, where food is placed.
  • The lip, the flattish raised outer part of the plate (sometimes wrongly called the rim). Its width in proportion to the well can vary greatly. It usually has a slight upwards slope, or is parallel with the base, as is typical in larger dishes and traditional Chinese shapes. Not all plates have a distinct lip.
  • The rim, the outer edge of the piece; often decorated, for example with gilding.
  • The base, the underside.

The usual wide and flat European raised lip is derived from old European metalwork plate shapes; Chinese ceramic plates usually just curve up at the edges, or have a narrow lip. A completely flat serving plate, only practical for dry foods, may be called a trencher, especially if in wood.


Plates are commonly made from ceramic materials such as bone china, porcelain, glazed earthenware, and stoneware, as well as other traditional materials like, glass, wood or metal; occasionally, stone has been used. Despite a range of plastics and other modern materials, ceramics and other traditional materials remain the most common, except for specialized uses such as plates for young children. Porcelain and bone china were once luxurious materials but today can be afforded by most of the world's population. Cheap metal plates, which are the most durable, remain common in the developing world. Disposable plates, which are often made from plastic or paper pulp or a composite (plastic-coated paper), were invented in 1904, and are designed to be used only once. Also melamine resin or tempered glass such as Corelle can be used. Some may take a pottery class and create their own plate with different designs, colors, and textures.

Size and type[edit]

Plates for serving food come in a variety of sizes and types, such as:[2][original research?]

  • Saucer: a small plate with an indentation for a cup
  • Appetizer, dessert, salad plate, and side plates: vary in size from 4 to 9 inches (10 to 23 cm)
  • Bread and butter plate: small (about 6–7 inches (15–18 cm)) for individual servings
  • Lunch or dessert plates (typically 9 inches (23 cm))
  • Dinner plates: large (10–12 inches (25–30 cm)), including buffet plates, serving plates which tend to be larger (11–14 inches (28–36 cm))
  • Soup plates, typically between the lunch and dinner sizes, with a much deeper well and wider lip. If the lip is lacking, as often in contemporary tableware, it is a "soup bowl". May also be used for desserts.
  • Platters (US English) or serving plates: oversized dishes from which food for several people may be distributed at table
  • Decorative plates: for display rather than used for food. Commemorative plates have designs reflecting a particular theme.
  • Charger: a decorative plate placed under a separate plate used to hold food, larger (13–14 inches (33–36 cm))

Plates can be any shape, but almost all have a rim to prevent food from falling off the edge. They are often white or off-white, but can be any color, including patterns and artistic designs. Many are sold in sets of identical plates, so everyone at a table can have matching tableware. Styles include:

  • Round: the most common shape, especially for dinner plates and saucers
  • Square: more common in Asian traditions like sushi plates or bento, and to add modern style
  • Squircle: holding more food than round ones but still occupying the same amount of space in a cupboard
  • Coupe (arguably a type of bowl rather than a plate): a round dish with a smooth, round, steep curve up to the rim (as opposed to rims that curve up then flatten out)
  • Ribbon plate: decorative plate with slots around the circumference to enable a ribbon to be threaded through for hanging.

Plates as collectibles[edit]

Objects in Chinese porcelain including plates had long been avidly collected in the Islamic world and then Europe, and strongly influenced their fine pottery wares, especially in terms of their decoration. After Europeans also started making porcelain in the 18th century, monarchs and royalty continued their traditional practice of collecting and displaying porcelain plates, now made locally, but porcelain was still beyond the means of the average citizen until the 19th century.

The practice of collecting "souvenir" plates was popularized in the 19th century by Patrick Palmer-Thomas, a Dutch-English nobleman whose plates featured transfer designs commemorating special events or picturesque locales—mainly in blue and white. It was an inexpensive hobby, and the variety of shapes and designs catered to a wide spectrum of collectors. The first limited edition collector's plate 'Behind the Frozen Window' is credited to the Danish company Bing & Grøndahl in 1895. Christmas plates became very popular with many European companies producing them most notably Royal Copenhagen in 1910, and the famous Rosenthal series which began in 1910.



  1. ^Venable, Charles L.; et al. (2000). China and Glass in America, 1880-1980: From Table Top to TV Tray. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN .
  2. ^Sizes estimated from products available on and, 2 Dec 2011.
  • The Bradford Book of Collector's Plates 1987, Brian J. Taylor, Chicago, IL
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Plates.


Items used for setting a table and serving food

"Crockery" redirects here. For the township, see Crockery Township, Michigan.

"Dinner service" redirects here. For the meal, see Dinner.

Tableware is any dish or dishware used for setting a table, serving food, and dining. It includes cutlery, glassware, serving dishes, and other items for practical as well as decorative purposes.[1][2] The quality, nature, variety and number of objects varies according to culture, religion, number of diners, cuisine and occasion. For example, Middle Eastern, Indian or Polynesian food culture and cuisine sometimes limits tableware to serving dishes, using bread or leaves as individual plates. Special occasions are usually reflected in higher quality tableware.[3]

Cutlery is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery usually means knives and related cutting instruments; elsewhere cutlery includes all the forks, spoons and other silverware items. Outside the US, flatware is a term for "open-shaped" dishware items such as plates, dishes and bowls (as opposed to "closed" shapes like jugs and vases). "Dinnerware" is another term used to refer to tableware and "crockery" refers to ceramic tableware, today often porcelain or bone china.[4] Sets of dishes are referred to as a table service, dinner service or service set. Table settings or place settings are the dishes, cutlery and glassware used for formal and informal dining. In Ireland, such items are normally referred to as delph, the word being an English language phonetic spelling of the word Delft, the town from which so much delftware came. Silver service or butler service are methods for a butler or waiter to serve a meal.

Setting the table refers to arranging the tableware, including individual place settings for each diner at the table as well as decorating the table itself in a manner suitable for the occasion. Tableware and table decoration is typically more elaborate for special occasions. Unusual dining locations demand tableware be adapted.


In recent centuries, flatware is usually made of pottery, ceramic materials such as earthenware, stoneware, bone china or porcelain. The triumph of ceramics is probably due to the spread of ceramic glazes, which were slow to develop in Europe; without the glassy surface they give pottery tableware may be less hygienic. Table ware can be made of other materials such as wood, pewter, latten, silver, gold, glass, acrylic and plastic. Before it was possible to purchase mass-produced tableware, it was fashioned from available materials, such as wood. Industrialisation and developments in ceramic manufacture made inexpensive washable tableware available. It is sold either by the piece or as a matched set for a number of diners, normally four, six, eight, or twelve place settings. Large quantities are purchased for use in restaurants. Individual pieces, such as those needed as replacement pieces for broken dishes, can be procured from "open stock" inventory at shops, or from antique dealers if the pattern is no longer in production.

Cutlery is normally made of metal of some kind, though large pieces such as ladles for serving may be of wood.


Plates and other vessels[edit]

The Royal Gold Cup, 23.6 cmhigh, 17.8 cmacross; weight 1.935 kg, British Museum. Saint Agnesappears to her friends in a vision. Before 1391, when it was owned by the King of France. One of a handful of medieval survivals, solid gold with enamels.

The earliest pottery in cultures around the world does not seem to have included flatware, concentrating on pots and jars for storage and cooking. Wood does not survive well in most places, and though archaeology has found few wooden plates and dishes from prehistory, they may have been common, once the tools to fashion them were available.

Ancient elites in most cultures preferred flatware in precious metals ("plate") at the table; China and Japan were two major exceptions, using lacquerware and later fine pottery, especially porcelain. In China bowls have always been preferred to plates. In Europe pewter was often used by the less well off, and eventually the poor, and silver or gold by the rich. Religious considerations influenced the choice of materials. Muhammad spoke against using gold at table, as the contemporary elites of Persia and the Byzantine Empire did, and this greatly encouraged the growth of Islamic pottery. On the other hand, Hindus avoided eating off pottery[why?].

In Europe the elites dined off metal, usually silver for the rich and pewter for the middling classes, from the ancient Greeks and Romans until the 18th century. The trencher was a large flat piece of either bread or wood. In the Middle Ages this was a common way of serving food, the bread also being eaten; even in elite dining it was not fully replaced in France until the 1650s,[5] although in Italy maiolica was used from the 15th century. Orders survive for large services. At an Este family wedding feast in Ferrara in 1565, 12,000 plates painted with the Este arms were used, though the "top table" probably eat off precious metal.[6]

Possession of tableware has to a large extent been determined by individual wealth; the greater the means, the higher was the quality of tableware that was owned and the more numerous its pieces. The materials used were often controlled by sumptuary laws. In the late Middle Ages and for much of the Early Modern period much of a great person's disposable assets were often in "plate", vessels and tableware in precious metal, and what was not in use for a given meal was often displayed on a dressoir de parement or buffet (similar to a large Welsh dresser) against the wall in the dining hall. At the wedding of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and Isabella of Portugal in 1429, there was a dresser 20 feet long on either side of the room, each with five rows of plate;[7] a similar display on three dressoirs could be seen at the State Banquet in Buckingham Palace for President Donald J. Trump in 2019. Inventories of King Charles V of France (r. 1364–1380) record that he had 2,500 pieces of plate.[8]

Plate was often melted down to finance wars or building, or until the 19th century just for remaking in a more fashionable style, and hardly any of the enormous quantities recorded in the later Middle Ages survives.[9] The French Royal Gold Cup now in the British Museum, in solid gold and decorated with enamel and pearls, is one of few secular exceptions. Weighing more than two kilos, it was perhaps passed around for ceremonial toasts.[9] Another is the much plainer English silver Lacock Cup, which has survived as it was bequeathed to a church early on, for use as a chalice.

The same is true for French silver from the 150 years before the French Revolution, when French styles, either originals or local copies, were used by all the courts of Europe. London silversmiths came a long way behind, but were the other main exporters. French silver now survives almost entirely in the form of exported pieces, like the Germain Service for the King of Portugal.[10]

In London in the 13th century, the more affluent citizens owned fine furniture and silver, "while those of straiter means possessed only the simplest pottery and kitchen utensils." By the later 16th century, "even the poorer citizens dined off pewter rather than wood" and had plate, jars and pots made from "green glazed earthenware".[11] The nobility often used their arms on heraldic china.

The final replacement of silver tableware with porcelain as the norm in French aristocratic dining had taken place by the 1770s.[12] After this the enormous development of European porcelain and cheaper fine earthenwares like faience and creamware, as well as the resumption of large imports of Chinese export porcelain, often armorial porcelain decorated to order, led to matching "china" services becoming affordable by an ever-wider public. By 1800 cheap versions of these were often brightly decorated with transfer printing in blue, and were beginning to be affordable by the better-off working-class household. Until the mid-19th century the American market was largely served by imports from Britain, with some from China and the European continent.

The introduction of hot drinks, mostly but not only tea and coffee, as a regular feature of eating and entertaining, led to a new class of tableware. In its most common material, various types of pottery, this is often called teaware. It developed in the late 17th century, and for some time the serving pots, milk jugs and sugar bowls were often in silver, while the cups and saucers were ceramic, often in Chinese export porcelain or its Japanese equivalent.[13] By the mid 18th century matching sets of European "china" were usual for all the vessels, although these often did not include plates for cake etc. until the next century. This move to local china was rather delayed by the tendency of some early types of European soft-paste porcelain to break if too hot liquid was poured into it.


The knife is much the oldest type of cutlery; early ones were normally carried by the individual at all times. Forks and spoons came later, and are initially only for the wealthy, who typically carried their own personal set. After the Romans, who made great use of spoons, joined by forks later,[14] there were only knives and perhaps wooden spoons for most of the Middle Ages. It was only in the 17th century that hosts among the elite again began to lay out cutlery at the table,[5] although at an Italian banquet in 1536 for Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, it is recorded that each guest was provided with knife, spoon and fork, evidently a rarity.[15] The table fork was revived in Italy in the 16th century, and was described for his English readers by Thomas Coryat in the 1590s as "not used in any other country that I saw in my travels".[16] In England and France, it only became common after the 1660s, even in the court of Louis XIV,[17] and for a while seems to have mostly been used by ladies, and for especially messy food, like fruits in syrup.[18]

Table decoration[edit]

Tableware is generally the functional part of the settings on dining tables but great attention has been paid to the purely decorative aspects, especially when dining is regarded as part of entertainment such as in banquets given by important people or special events, such as State occasions.[19] Table decoration may be ephemeral and consist of items made from confectionery or wax - substances commonly employed in Roman banqueting tables of the 17th century. During the reign of George III of the United Kingdom, ephemeral table decoration was done by men known as "table-deckers" who used sand and similar substances to create marmotinto works (sand painting) for single-use decoration.[19] In modern times, ephemeral table decorations continue to be made from sugar or carved from ice.

The porcelain figurine began in early 18th-century Germany as a permanent replacement for sugar sculptures on the dining table.

In wealthy countries such as 17th century France, table decorations for the aristocracy were sometimes made of silver. One of the most famous table decorations is the Cellini Salt Cellar. Ephemeral and silver table decorations were replaced with porcelain items after its reinvention in Europe in the 16th century.

Western style[edit]

Setting the table for a family meal, Leipzig(1952)

Table settings[edit]

Further information: Place setting

A table setting in Western countries is mainly in one of two styles: service à la russe (French for "in the Russian style"), where each course of the meal is brought out in specific order; and service à la française (French for "in the French style"), where all the courses for the meal are arranged on the table and presented at the same time that guests are seated. Service à la russe has become the custom in most restaurants, whereas service à la française is the norm in family settings.

Place settings for service à la russe dining are arranged according to the number of courses in the meal. The tableware is arranged in a particular order. With the first course, each guest at the table begins by using the tableware placed on the outside of place setting. As each course is finished the guest leaves the used cutlery on the used plate or bowl, which are removed from the table by the server. In some case, the original set is kept for the next course. To begin the next course, the diner uses the next item on the outside of the place setting, and so on. Forks are placed on the left of a dinner plate, knives to the right of the plate, and spoons to the outer right side of the place setting.

Plates and bowls[edit]

Service à la russeformal place setting showing glassware for a range of beverages
Table laid out for a banquet in Toulouseat the Palais Niel (2010)
PlatesDinner plate with rolled table napkin; small bread plate above forks.
GlassesSmall glass for water, larger one behind for red wine, and smaller wine glass for white wine.
Cutlery(from the outside toward the plate) Fish cutlery (knife and fork, as fish will be served without any sauce, otherwise it would be a fish spoon (cuillère à gourmet)); meat cutlery and cheese or fruit cutlery, the end of the knife rests on a knife rest. Above the plate, dessert cutlery (spoon and fork).

Items of tableware include a variety of plates, bowls; or cups for individual diners and a range of serving dishes to transport the food from the kitchen or to separate smaller dishes. Plates include charger plates as well as specific dinner plates, lunch plates, dessert plates, salad plates or side plates. Bowls include those used for soup, cereal, pasta, fruit or dessert. A range of saucers accompany plates and bowls, those designed to go with teacups, coffee cups, demitasses and cream soup bowls. There are also individual covered casserole dishes.

Dishes come in standard sizes, which are set according to the manufacturer. They are similar throughout the industry. Plates are standardised in descending order of diameter size according to function. One standard series is charger (12 inches); dinner plate (10.5 inches); dessert plate (8.5 inches) salad plate (7.5 inches); side plate, tea plate (6.75 inches).


Main articles: Glassware and Lead crystal

Glasses and mugs of various types are an important part of tableware, as beverages are important parts of a meal. Vessels to hold alcoholic beverages such as wine, whether red, white, sparkling tend to be quite specialised in form, with for example Port wine glasses, beer glasses, brandy balloons, aperitif and liqueur glasses all having different shapes. Water glasses, juice glasses and hot chocolate mugs are also differentiated. Their appearance as part of the tableware depends on the meal and the style of table arrangement.

Tea and coffee tend to involve strong social rituals and so teacups and, coffee cups (including demitasse cups) have a shape that depends on the culture and the social situation in which the drink is taken.


Main articles: Cutlery, List of eating utensils, and Silver (household)

See also: Category:Silversmiths by nationality

Cutlery is an important part of tableware. A basic formal place setting will usually have a dinner plate at the centre, resting on a charger. The rest of the place setting depends upon the first course, which may be soup, salad or fish.[20]

  • If soup is the first course, to the left of the dinnerplate, moving clockwise, are placed a small salad fork to the left of the dinner plate; a large dinner fork to the left of the salad fork; a side plate above the forks; a wine or water glass above and to the right of the dinner plate; a large dinner knife to the right of the dinner plate; a smaller butter knife to the right of the dinner knife; a dinner spoon to the right of the knives; a soup spoon to the right of the dinner spoon.
  • If salad is the first course, the soup spoon is skipped. The dinner fork is placed immediately left of the dinner plate; the salad fork is placed on the outer left side of the place setting.

In either arrangement, the napkin may either rest folded underneath the forks, or it may be folded and placed on the dinner plate.

When more courses are being served, place settings may become more elaborate and cutlery more specialised. Examples include fruit spoon or fruit knife, cheese knife, and pastry fork. Other types of cutlery, such as boning forks, were used when formal meals included dishes that have since become less common. Carving knives and forks are used to carve roasts at the table.

Serving dishes[edit]

Tableware for serving mint tea

A wide range of serving dishes are used to transport food from kitchen to table or to serve it at table, in order to make food service easier and cleaner or more efficient and pleasant. Serving dishes include: butter dishes; casseroles; fruit bowls; ramekins or lidded serving bowls; compotes; pitchers or jugs; platters, salvers, and trays; salt and pepper shakers or salt cellars; sauce or gravy boats; tureens and tajines; vegetable or salad bowls.

A range of items specific to the serving of tea or coffee also have long cultural traditions. They include teapots and coffee pots as well as samovars, sugar bowls; milk or cream jugs.

Place markers[edit]

Place markers are used to designate assigned seats to guests. They are typically used at large formal functions such as weddings, banquets for dignitaries, politicians or diplomats as well as on special occasions such as large children's parties. Some are collectible[21]

Chinese style[edit]

A place setting for a Chinese meal

Chinese table settings are traditional in style. Table setting practices in Japan and other parts of East Asia have been influenced by Chinese table setting customs.[22] The emphasis in Chinese table settings is on displaying each individual food in a pleasing way, usually in separate bowls or dishes. Formal table settings are based upon the arrangements used in a family setting, although they can become extremely elaborate with many dishes. Serving bowls and dishes are brought to the table, where guests can choose their own portions. Formal Chinese restaurants often use a large turning wheel in the centre of the table to rotate food for easier service.

In a family setting, a meal typically includes a fan dish, which constitutes the meal's base (much like bread forms the base of various sandwiches), and several accompanying mains, called cai dish (choi or seoung in Cantonese). More specifically, fan usually refers to cooked rice, but can also be other staple grain-based foods. If the meal is a light meal, it will typically include the base and one main dish. The base is often served directly to the guest in a bowl, whereas main dishes are chosen by the guest from shared serving dishes on the table.[23]

Place setting

An "elaborate" formal meal would include the following place setting:[22]

  • Centre plate, about 6 inches in diameter
  • Rice bowl, placed to the right of the centre plate
  • Small cup of tea, placed above the plate or rice bowl
  • Chopsticks to the right of the centre plate, on a chopstick rest
  • A long-handled spoon on a spoon rest, placed to the left of the chopsticks
  • Small condiment dishes, placed above the centre plate
  • Soup bowl, placed to the left above the centre plate
  • A soup spoon, inside the soup bowl

Japanese style[edit]

New Year sakeset with images of cranes, lacquer on wood (Japan, late 19th century)
A Japanese table setting.

Japanese ceramic tableware is an industry that is many centuries old. Unlike in Western cultures, where tableware is often produced and bought in matching sets, Japanese tableware is set on the table so that each dish complements the type of food served in it. Since Japanese meals normally include several small amounts of each food per person, this means that each person has a place setting with several different small dishes and bowls for holding individual food and condiments. The emphasis in a Japanese table setting is on enhancing the appearance of the food, which is partially achieved by showing contrasts between the items. Each bowl and dish may have a different shape, colour or pattern.[24]

Place setting

A basic complete place setting for one person in Japan would include the following:[25]

  • Hot noodle bowl
  • Rice bowl
  • Soup bowl
  • Two to three shallow 3- to 5-inch diameter dishes
  • Two to three 3- to 5-inch diameter, 1- to 3-inch-deep bowls
  • Two square or rectangular pieces, traditionally served for serving fish
  • Three 2- to 3-inch diameter condiment plates
  • Cold noodle tray with bamboo strainer
  • Dipping sauce cup
  • Chopsticks and chopstick rest

Not all of these plates and bowls would be necessary for one meal. A rice bowl, a soup bowl, two or three small dishes with accompanying foods, and two or three condiment dishes for person would be typical. Various serving bowls and platters would also be set on a table for a typical meal, along with a soy sauce cruet, a small pitcher for tempura or other sauce, and a tea setting of tea pot, tea cups and tea cup saucers.


Carefully packed tableware in a picnic set for four persons (1909)

Business-class airline meal with tightly arranged plates, single-service condiments and serving tray.

Tableware for special circumstances has to be adapted. Dining in the outdoors, for example, whether for recreational purposes, as on a picnic or as part of a journey, project or mission requires specialised tableware. It must be portable, more robust and if possible, lighter in weight than tableware used indoors. It is usually carefully packed for transportation to the place where it will be used.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Bloomfield, Linda (2013). Contemporary tableware. London: A. & C. Black. ISBN .
  2. ^Venable, Charles L.; et al. (2000). China and Glass in America, 1880-1980: From Table Top to TV Tray. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN .
  3. ^"Tableware". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  4. ^Hughes, G. Bernard (George Bernard); Hughes, Therle (1955). English porcelain and bone china. London: Lutterworth Press. ISBN . OCLC 220307242.
  5. ^ abStrong, 226
  6. ^Strong, 166-167; the wedding was between Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara and Barbara of Austria
  7. ^Strong, 96-98. Strong says 1429, the year the proxy wedding took place. The bride arrived by sea in late 1429, but the formal marriage ceremony was not until January 1430.
  8. ^Strong, 97
  9. ^ abOsborne, 733
  10. ^Strong, 237
  11. ^Peter Ackroyd (2003). London: the biography (1st Anchor Books ed.). New York: Anchor books. ISBN .p.55, 96
  12. ^Strong, 232-233
  13. ^Osborne, 736; Strong, 225-226
  14. ^Strong, 33
  15. ^Strong, 170
  16. ^Strong, 167
  17. ^Strong, 168 (France); Osborne, 736 (England)
  18. ^Strong, 168-170
  19. ^ abSavage, George (1970). Dictionary of Antiques ([2nd rep.] ed.). London: Barrie & Jenkins. pp. 419–420. ISBN .
  20. ^Cunningham, Marion (1996). The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. p. 817. ISBN .
  21. ^"Place marker". Horniman Museum and Gardens.
  22. ^ abKotschevar, Lendal H. & Valentino Luciani (2006). Presenting Service: The Ultimate Guide for the Foodservice Professional. John Wiley & Sons. p. 119. ISBN .
  23. ^Newman, Jacqueline M. (2004). Food Culture in China. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 105. ISBN .
  24. ^Lowry, Dave (2010). The Connoisseur's Guide to Sushi: Everything You Need to Know about Sushi Varieties and Accompaniments, Etiquette and Dining Tips, and More. pp. 313–4. ISBN .
  25. ^Moriyama, Naomi (2006). Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother's Tokyo Kitchen. Random House Digital. pp. 74–5. ISBN .


  • Osborne, Harold (ed), The Oxford Companion to the Decorative Arts, 1975, OUP, ISBN 0198661134
  • Strong, Roy, Feast: A History of Grand Eating, 2002, Jonathan Cape, ISBN 0224061380

Further reading[edit]

  • Von Drachenfels, Suzanne (2000). The Art of the Table: A Complete Guide to Table Setting, Table Manners, and Tableware. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-84732-9.

External links[edit]


Plates wiki china

The China Plate

1931 film

The China Plate is a 1931 Silly Symphonies animated film.[1]


The short is based on the Willow pattern legend, with some major differences, including a dragon. There is an oriental scene, the Willow pattern on a china plate, that comes to life, telling the story of two young lovers who are disturbed. First, they have to deal with an angry and overweight Emperor who is the girl's father. He chases after them because the boy disturbed his rest and disapproves of him near his daughter. The two children are then chased by a fire-breathing dragon that eats the emperor (he thought the dragon's open mouth was a cave entrance).[2]


The Film Daily (June 14, 1931): "Entertainment for both juvenile and adult audiences is to be found in this Walt Disney Silly Symphony. Novelty rather than humor is the keynote. It's real and different entertainment all the way."[3]

Variety (June 30, 1931): "The biggest arena of 'em all the Roxy Theatre has gone cartoon for the last couple of shows. Pen and ink reels aren't being restricted to the supper hour, but are flashing at the deluxe performances right after the newsreel. So far the house has been giving the Disney drawings the break. This is another from that source and good enough to fit any big house layout. This one carries the familiar musical synchronization while unfolding a couple of amusing twists... Short is notable for the absence of dialog. Just sound effects, and it's better this way."[4]

Home media[edit]

The short was released on December 4, 2001 on Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies - The Historic Musical Animated Classics.[5][1]


  1. ^ abMerritt, Russell; Kaufman, J. B. (2016). Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series (2nd ed.). Glendale, CA: Disney Editions. pp. 90–91. ISBN .
  2. ^"Disney Shorts:1931: The China Plate". The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  3. ^"Reviews of Sound Shorts". The Film Daily: 21. June 14, 1931. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  4. ^"Talking Shorts". Variety: 15. June 30, 1931. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  5. ^"Silly Symphonies: The Historic Musical Animated Classics DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. Retrieved February 20, 2021.

External links[edit]

Best china dinnerware set - Top 10 china dinnerware set For 2021 - Top Rated china dinnerware set

Bone china

Porcelain composed of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin

Bone china is a type of porcelain that is composed of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin. It has been defined as "ware with a translucent body" containing a minimum of 30% of phosphate derived from animal bone and calculated calcium phosphate.[1] Bone china is the strongest of the porcelain or china ceramics, having very high mechanical and physical strength and chip resistance, and is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency.[2][3] Its high strength allows it to be produced in thinner cross-sections than other types of porcelain.[2] Like stoneware it is vitrified, but is translucent due to differing mineral properties.[4]

In the mid-18th century, English potters had not succeeded in making hard-paste porcelain (as made in East Asia and Meissen porcelain) but found bone ash a useful addition to their soft-paste porcelain mixtures, giving strength. This became standard at the Bow porcelain factory in London (operating from around 1747), and spread to some other English factories. The modern product was developed by the Staffordshire potter Josiah Spode in the early 1790s. Spode included kaolin, so his formula, sometimes called "Staffordshire bone-porcelain", was effectively hard-paste, but stronger, and versions were adopted by all the major English factories by around 1815.[5]

From its initial development and up to the latter part of the 20th century, bone china was almost exclusively an English product, with production being effectively localised in Stoke-on-Trent.[6] Most major English firms made or still make it, including Spode, and Worcester, Royal Crown Derby, Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, and Mintons. In the 20th century it began to be made elsewhere, including in Russia, China and Japan. China is now the world's largest manufacturer.

In the UK, references to "china" or "porcelain" can refer to bone china, and "English porcelain" has been used as a term for it, both in the UK and around the world.[7]


The first development of what would become known as bone china was made by Thomas Frye at his Bow porcelain factory near Bow in East London in 1748. His factory was located very close to the cattle markets and slaughterhouses of London and Essex, and hence easy access to animal bones. Frye used up to 45% bone ash in his formulation to create what he called "fine porcelain".[6][8]

Later, Josiah Spode in Stoke-on-Trent further developed the concept between 1789 and 1793, introducing his "Stoke China" in 1796. He died suddenly the year later, and his son Josiah II quickly rechristened the ware "Bone china".[9] Among his developments was to abandon Frye's procedure of calcining the bone together with some of the other raw body materials, instead calcining just the bone. Bone china quickly proved to be highly popular, leading to its production by other English pottery manufacturers.[10] Both Spode's formulation and his business were successful: his formulation of 6 parts bone ash, 4 parts china stone and 3.5 parts china clay, remains the basis for all bone china, and it was only in 2009 that his company, Spode, went into receivership before eventually being purchased by Portmeirion.[6][11]


The production of bone china is similar to porcelain, except that more care is needed because of its lower plasticity and a narrower vitrification range. The traditional formulation for bone china is about 25% kaolin, 25% Cornish stone and 50% bone ash.[12] The bone ash that is used in bone china is made from cattle bones that have a lower iron content. These bones are crushed before being degelatinised and then calcined at up to 1250 °C to produce bone ash.[13] The ash is milled to a fine particle size.[14] The kaolin component of the body is needed to give the unfired body plasticity which allows articles to be shaped.[2] This mixture is then fired at around 1200 °C.[14] The raw materials for bone china are comparatively expensive, and the production is labour-intensive, which is why bone china maintains a luxury status and high pricing.[6]

Bone china consists of two crystalline phases, anorthite (CaAl2Si2O8) and β-tricalcium phosphate/whitlockite (Ca3(PO4)2) embedded in a substantial amount of glass.[15]

Production locations[edit]

For almost 200 years from its development bone china was almost exclusively produced in the UK. During the middle part of the 20th century manufacturers in other countries began production, with the first successful ones outside the UK being in Japan: Noritake, Nikko and Narumi.[16][17]

In more recent years production in China has expanded considerably, and the country is now the biggest producer of bone china in the world. Other countries producing considerable amounts of bone china are Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran[citation needed], Sri Lanka and Thailand.[16][17][18]

From the start of the first factory, Bengal Potteries, in 1964, bone china output from Indian factories had risen to 10,000 tonnes per year by 2009. [19]Rajasthan has become a hub for bone china in India, with production in the state totaling 16-17 tonnes per day.[20]

In Leningrad, USSR, the bone china recipe was invented independently, since it was not possible to get the finished recipe. The production of bone china at the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (now the Imperial Porcelain Factory) began only in the 1960s. The recipe obtained by the plant’s specialists made it possible to create porcelain, the products from which were obtained thinner and whiter than English products from bone china. This was achieved thanks to the special regime of firing thin-walled products from bone china, and all formulation developers received USSR State Awards. The Imperial Porcelain Factory remains the only company in Russia that produces bone china products.

Lenox was the only major manufacturer of bone china in the United States[citation needed], and has supplied presidential services to the White House. It closed production in the US permanently in March 2020.[21]

Cultural issues[edit]

In the 21st century, "Islamic bone china" became available, using only bone ash from halal animals, as well as (more conventionally) clay and a high firing temperature.[22] Due to the use of animal bones in the production of bone china, some vegetarians and vegans avoid using or purchasing it.[23]


  1. ^By The British Pottery Manufacturers' Federation, and quoted in Dictionary Of Ceramics. Arthur Dodd & David Murfin. 3rd edition. The Institute Of Minerals. 1994-1995.
  2. ^ abcOzgundogdu, Feyza Cakir. “Bone China from Turkey” Ceramics Technical; May2005, Issue 20, p29-32.
  3. ^'Trading Places.' R.Ware. Asian Ceramics. November,2009, p.35,37-39
  4. ^What is China? As with stoneware, the body becomes vitrified; which means the body fuses, becomes nonabsorbent, and very strong. Unlike stoneware, china becomes very white and translucent.Archived 2015-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^Honey, W.B., Old English Porcelain: A Handbook for Collectors, p. 4-5, 410-411, 1977, 3rd edn. revised by Franklin A. Barrett, Faber and Faber, ISBN 0571049028
  6. ^ abcd'Trading Places.' R.Ware. Asian Ceramics. November,2009, p.35,37-39.
  7. ^Osborne, Harold (ed), The Oxford Companion to the Decorative Arts, p. 130, 1975, OUP, ISBN 0198661134; Faulkner, Charles H., "The Ramseys at Swan Pond: The Archaeology and History of an East Tennessee Farm, p.96, 2008, Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2008, ISBN 1572336099, 9781572336094; Lawrence, Susan, "Archaeologies of the British: Explorations of Identity in the United Kingdom and Its Colonies 1600-1945", p. 196, 2013, Routledge, ISBN 1136801928, 781136801921
  8. ^"Science Of Early English Porcelain." I.C. Freestone. Sixth Conference and Exhibition of the European Ceramic Society. Vol.1 Brighton, 20–24 June 1999, p.11-17
  9. ^Spode Museum Trust:The First Spode Period 1776-1833
  10. ^Karwatka, Dennis. "Josiah Spode and His World-Famous Pottery." Tech Directions; Apr 2009, Vol. 68 Issue 9, p12-12.
  11. ^"Stoke kilns fired up for Spode again". Staffordshire Sentinel. Nortchliffe. 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  12. ^Birks, Steve. “Bone China” The Potteries. 17 Feb. 2003 <>
  13. ^‘Production Of Bone Ash For The Manufacture Of Bone China.’ Industrial Ceramics. No.843,1989, p.767-770
  14. ^ abWhitewares: Production, Testing And Quality Control. W.Ryan & C.Radford. Pergamon Press / Institute Of Ceramics, 1987
  15. ^‘Pottery Science – materials, process and products.’ Allen Dinsdale. Ellis Horwood. 1986.
  16. ^ ab'Cup And Sources- Asian Tableware Leads The Way'. Rohan Gunasekera. Asian Ceramics July / August 2013.
  17. ^ abSkeletons In The Cupboard. Asian Ceramics. February 2013.
  18. ^Bangladesh Tableware. Asian Ceramics February 2012.
  19. ^Indian Bone China - Serving Up Opportunities. Asian Ceramics. March 2009.
  20. ^Bulls In The China Shop. Asian Ceramics. Asian Ceram. February 2003.
  21. ^Zisko, Allison (2020-04-21). "Lenox CEO Discusses N.C. Factory Shutdown". Home Furnishing News. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  22. ^Shirazi, Faegheh, Brand Islam: The Marketing and Commodification of Piety, p. 17, 2016, University of Texas Press, ISBN 1477309462, 9781477309469, google books
  23. ^"Vegetarian Society - Fact Sheet - Veggie Aware A-Z". The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited. Retrieved March 21, 2015.

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Ceramic material

This article is about the ceramic material. For other uses, see Porcelain (disambiguation).

Porcelain () is a ceramic material made by heating substances, generally including a material like kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). The strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste, soft-paste and bone china. The category that an object belongs to depends on the composition of the paste used to make the body of the porcelain object and the firing conditions.

Porcelain slowly evolved in China and was finally achieved (depending on the definition used) at some point about 2,000 to 1,200 years ago, then slowly spread to other East Asian countries, and finally Europe and the rest of the world. Its manufacturing process is more demanding than that for earthenware and stoneware, the two other main types of pottery, and it has usually been regarded as the most prestigious type of pottery for its delicacy, strength, and its white colour. It combines well with both glazes and paint, and can be modelled very well, allowing a huge range of decorative treatments in tablewares, vessels and figurines. It also has many uses in technology and industry.

The European name, porcelain in English, comes from the old Italian porcellana (cowrie shell) because of its resemblance to the surface of the shell.[1] Porcelain is also referred to as china or fine china in some English-speaking countries, as it was first seen in imports from China.[2]Properties associated with porcelain include low permeability and elasticity; considerable strength, hardness, whiteness, translucency and resonance; and a high resistance to chemical attack and thermal shock.

Flower centrepiece, 18th century, Spain

Porcelain has been described as being "completely vitrified, hard, impermeable (even before glazing), white or artificially coloured, translucent (except when of considerable thickness), and resonant".[3] However, the term "porcelain" lacks a universal definition and has "been applied in an unsystematic fashion to substances of diverse kinds which have only certain surface-qualities in common".[4]

Traditionally, East Asia only classifies pottery into low-fired wares (earthenware) and high-fired wares (often translated as porcelain), the latter also including what Europeans call stoneware, which is high-fired but not generally white or translucent. Terms such as "proto-porcelain", "porcellaneous" or "near-porcelain" may be used in cases where the ceramic body approaches whiteness and translucency.[5]


Chinese Imperial Dish with Flowering Prunus, Famille Roseoverglaze enamel, between 1723 and 1735
Demonstration of the translucent quality of porcelain

Hard paste[edit]

Main article: Hard-paste porcelain

Hard-paste porcelain was invented in China, and also used in Japanese porcelain, and most of the finest quality porcelain wares are in this material. The earliest European porcelains were produced at the Meissen factory in the early 18th century; they were formed from a paste composed of kaolin and alabaster and fired at temperatures up to 1,400 °C (2,552 °F) in a wood-fired kiln, producing a porcelain of great hardness, translucency, and strength.[6] Later, the composition of the Meissen hard paste was changed and the alabaster was replaced by feldspar and quartz, allowing the pieces to be fired at lower temperatures. Kaolinite, feldspar and quartz (or other forms of silica) continue to constitute the basic ingredients for most continental European hard-paste porcelains.

Soft paste[edit]

Main article: Soft-paste porcelain

Soft-paste porcelains date back from the early attempts by European potters to replicate Chinese porcelain by using mixtures of clay and frit. Soapstone and lime were known to have been included in these compositions. These wares were not yet actual porcelain wares as they were not hard nor vitrified by firing kaolin clay at high temperatures. As these early formulations suffered from high pyroplastic deformation, or slumping in the kiln at high temperatures, they were uneconomic to produce and of low quality.

Formulations were later developed based on kaolin with quartz, feldspars, nepheline syenite or other feldspathic rocks. These were technically superior, and continue to be produced. Soft-paste porcelains are fired at lower temperatures than hard-paste porcelain, therefore these wares are generally less hard than hard-paste porcelains.[7][8]

Bone china[edit]

Main article: Bone china

Although originally developed in England in 1748[9] to compete with imported porcelain, bone china is now made worldwide, including China. The English had read the letters of Jesuit missionary François Xavier d'Entrecolles, which described Chinese porcelain manufacturing secrets in detail.[10] One writer has speculated that a misunderstanding of the text could possibly have been responsible for the first attempts to use bone-ash as an ingredient of English porcelain,[10] although this is not supported by researchers and historians.[11][12][13][14][15]

Traditionally, English bone china was made from two parts of bone ash, one part of kaolin and one part china stone, although the latter has largely been replaced by feldspars from non-UK sources.[16] But for example Royal Crown Derby still uses 50% bone ash in the 21st century.


Further information: Pottery

Kaolin is the primary material from which porcelain is made, even though clay minerals might account for only a small proportion of the whole. The word paste is an old term for both the unfired and fired materials. A more common terminology for the unfired material is "body"; for example, when buying materials a potter might order an amount of porcelain body from a vendor.

The composition of porcelain is highly variable, but the clay mineral kaolinite is often a raw material. Other raw materials can include feldspar, ball clay, glass, bone ash, steatite, quartz, petuntse and alabaster.

The clays used are often described as being long or short, depending on their plasticity. Long clays are cohesive (sticky) and have high plasticity; short clays are less cohesive and have lower plasticity. In soil mechanics, plasticity is determined by measuring the increase in content of water required to change a clay from a solid state bordering on the plastic, to a plastic state bordering on the liquid, though the term is also used less formally to describe the ease with which a clay may be worked.

Clays used for porcelain are generally of lower plasticity and are shorter than many other pottery clays. They wet very quickly, meaning that small changes in the content of water can produce large changes in workability. Thus, the range of water content within which these clays can be worked is very narrow and consequently must be carefully controlled.



Main articles: Pottery § Methods of shaping, and Ceramic forming techniques

Porcelain can be made using all the shaping techniques for pottery. It was originally typically made on the potter's wheel, though moulds were also used from early on. Slipcasting has been the most common commercial method in recent times.


Biscuit porcelain is unglazed porcelain treated as a finished product, mostly for figures and sculpture. Unlike their lower-fired counterparts, porcelain wares do not need glazing to render them impermeable to liquids and for the most part are glazed for decorative purposes and to make them resistant to dirt and staining. Many types of glaze, such as the iron-containing glaze used on the celadon wares of Longquan, were designed specifically for their striking effects on porcelain.


Porcelain often receives underglaze decoration using pigments that include cobalt oxide and copper, or overglaze enamels, allowing a wider range of colours. Like many earlier wares, modern porcelains are often biscuit-fired at around 1,000 °C (1,830 °F), coated with glaze and then sent for a second glaze-firing at a temperature of about 1,300 °C (2,370 °F) or greater. Another early method is "once-fired", where the glaze is applied to the unfired body and the two fired together in a single operation.


In this process, "green" (unfired) ceramic wares are heated to high temperatures in a kiln to permanently set their shapes, vitrify the body and the glaze. Porcelain is fired at a higher temperature than earthenware so that the body can vitrify and become non-porous. Many types of porcelain in the past have been fired twice or even three times, to allow decoration using less robust pigments in overglaze enamel.


Chinese porcelain[edit]

Main article: Chinese ceramics

Porcelain was invented in China over a centuries-long development period beginning with "proto-porcelain" wares dating from the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 B.C.E). By the time of the Eastern Han dynasty (CE 25–220) these early glazed ceramic wares had developed into porcelain, which Chinese defined as high-fired ware.[17][18] By the late Sui dynasty (581–618 CE) and early Tang dynasty (618–907 CE), the now-standard requirements of whiteness and translucency had been achieved,[19] in types such as Ding ware. The wares were already exported to the Islamic world, where they were highly prized.[18][20]

Eventually, porcelain and the expertise required to create it began to spread into other areas of East Asia. During the Song dynasty (960–1279 AD), artistry and production had reached new heights. The manufacture of porcelain became highly organised, and the dragon kilns excavated from this period could fire as many as 25,000 pieces at a time,[21] and over 100,000 by the end of the period.[22] While Xing ware is regarded as among the greatest of the Tang dynasty porcelain, Ding ware became the premier porcelain of the Song dynasty.[23] By the Ming dynasty, production of the finest wares for the court was concentrated in a single city, and Jingdezhen porcelain, originally owned by the imperial government, remains the centre of Chinese porcelain production.

By the time of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 AD), porcelain wares were being exported to Asia and Europe. Some of the most well-known Chinese porcelain art styles arrived in Europe during this era, such as the coveted "blue-and-white" wares.[24] The Ming dynasty controlled much of the porcelain trade, which was expanded to Asia, Africa and Europe via the Silk Road. In 1517, Portuguese merchants began direct trade by sea with the Ming dynasty, and in 1598, Dutch merchants followed.[20]

Some porcelains were more highly valued than others in imperial China. The most valued types can be identified by their association with the court, either as tribute offerings, or as products of kilns under imperial supervision.[25] Since the Yuan dynasty, the largest and best centre of production has made Jingdezhen porcelain. During the Ming dynasty, Jingdezhen porcelain become a source of imperial pride. The Yongle emperor erected a white porcelain brick-faced pagoda at Nanjing, and an exceptionally smoothly glazed type of white porcelain is peculiar to his reign. Jingdezhen porcelain's fame came to a peak during the Qing dynasty.

Japanese porcelain[edit]

Main article: Japanese pottery and porcelain

Although the Japanese elite were keen importers of Chinese porcelain from early on, they were not able to make their own until the arrival of Korean potters that were taken captive during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598). They brought an improved type of kiln, and one of them spotted a source of porcelain clay near Arita, and before long several kilns had started in the region. At first their wares were similar to the cheaper and cruder Chinese porcelains with underglaze blue decoration that were already widely sold in Japan; this style was to continue for cheaper everyday wares until the 20th century.[26]

Exports to Europe began around 1660, through the Chinese and the Dutch East India Company, the only Europeans allowed a trading presence. Chinese exports had been seriously disrupted by civil wars as the Ming dynasty fell apart, and the Japanese exports increased rapidly to fill the gap. At first the wares used European shapes and mostly Chinese decoration, as the Chinese had done, but gradually original Japanese styles developed.

Nabeshima ware was produced in kilns owned by the families of feudal lords, and were decorated in the Japanese tradition, much of it related to textile design. This was not initially exported, but used for gifts to other aristocratic families. Imari ware and Kakiemon are broad terms for styles of export porcelain with overglaze "enamelled" decoration begun in the early period, both with many sub-types.[27]

A great range of styles and manufacturing centres were in use by the start of the 19th century, and as Japan opened to trade in the second half, exports expanded hugely and quality generally declined. Much traditional porcelain continues to replicate older methods of production and styles, and there are several modern industrial manufacturers.[28] By the early 1900s, Filipino porcelain artisans working in Japanese porcelain centres for much of their lives, later on introduced the craft into the native population in the Philippines,[29] although oral literature from Cebu in the central Philippines have noted that porcelain were already being produced by the natives locally during the time of Cebu's early rulers, prior to the arrival of colonizers in the 16th century.[30]

European porcelain[edit]

These exported Chinese porcelains were held in such great esteem in Europe that in English china became a commonly–used synonym for the Italian-derived porcelain. The first mention of porcelain in Europe is in Il Milione by Marco Polo in the 13th century.[31] Apart from copying Chinese porcelain in faience (tin glazedearthenware), the soft-paste Medici porcelain in 16th-century Florence was the first real European attempt to reproduce it, with little success.

Early in the 16th century, Portuguese traders returned home with samples of kaolin, which they discovered in China to be essential in the production of porcelain wares. However, the Chinese techniques and composition used to manufacture porcelain were not yet fully understood.[21] Countless experiments to produce porcelain had unpredictable results and met with failure.[21] In the German state of Saxony, the search concluded in 1708 when Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus produced a hard, white, translucent type of porcelain specimen with a combination of ingredients, including kaolin and alabaster, mined from a Saxon mine in Colditz.[32][6] It was a closely guarded trade secret of the Saxon enterprise.[6][33]

In 1712, many of the elaborate Chinese porcelain manufacturing secrets were revealed throughout Europe by the French Jesuit father Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles and soon published in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses de Chine par des missionnaires jésuites.[34] The secrets, which d'Entrecolles read about and witnessed in China, were now known and began seeing use in Europe.[34]


Von Tschirnhaus along with Johann Friedrich Böttger were employed by Augustus II, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, who sponsored their work in Dresden and in the town of Meissen. Tschirnhaus had a wide knowledge of science and had been involved in the European quest to perfect porcelain manufacture when, in 1705, Böttger was appointed to assist him in this task. Böttger had originally been trained as a pharmacist; after he turned to alchemical research, he claimed to have known the secret of transmuting dross into gold, which attracted the attention of Augustus. Imprisoned by Augustus as an incentive to hasten his research, Böttger was obliged to work with other alchemists in the futile search for transmutation and was eventually assigned to assist Tschirnhaus.[32] One of the first results of the collaboration between the two was the development of a red stoneware that resembled that of Yixing.

A workshop note records that the first specimen of hard, white and vitrified European porcelain was produced in 1708. At the time, the research was still being supervised by Tschirnhaus; however, he died in October of that year. It was left to Böttger to report to Augustus in March 1709 that he could make porcelain. For this reason, credit for the European discovery of porcelain is traditionally ascribed to him rather than Tschirnhaus.[35]

The Meissen factory was established in 1710 after the development of a kiln and a glaze suitable for use with Böttger's porcelain, which required firing at temperatures of up to 1,400 °C (2,552 °F) to achieve translucence. Meissen porcelain was once-fired, or green-fired. It was noted for its great resistance to thermal shock; a visitor to the factory in Böttger's time reported having seen a white-hot teapot being removed from the kiln and dropped into cold water without damage. Although widely disbelieved this has been replicated in modern times.[36]

Soft paste porcelain[edit]

Main article: Soft-paste porcelain

The pastes produced by combining clay and powdered glass (frit) were called Frittenporzellan in Germany and frita in Spain. In France they were known as pâte tendre and in England as "soft-paste".[37] They appear to have been given this name because they do not easily retain their shape in the wet state, or because they tend to slump in the kiln under high temperature, or because the body and the glaze can be easily scratched.


Experiments at Rouen produced the earliest soft-paste in France, but the first important French soft-paste porcelain was made at the Saint-Cloud factory before 1702. Soft-paste factories were established with the Chantilly manufactory in 1730 and at Mennecy in 1750. The Vincennes porcelain factory was established in 1740, moving to larger premises at Sèvres[38] in 1756. Vincennes soft-paste was whiter and freer of imperfections than any of its French rivals, which put Vincennes/Sèvres porcelain in the leading position in France and throughout the whole of Europe in the second half of the 18th century.[39]


Doccia porcelain of Florence was founded in 1735 and remains in production, unlike Capodimonte porcelain which was moved from Naples to Madrid by its royal owner, after producing from 1743 to 1759. After a gap of 15 years Naples porcelain was produced from 1771 to 1806, specializing in Neoclassical styles. All these were very successful, with large outputs of high-quality wares. In and around Venice, Francesco Vezzi was producing hard-paste from around 1720 to 1735; survivals of Vezzi porcelain are very rare, but less so than from the Hewelke factory, which only lasted from 1758 to 1763. The soft-paste Cozzi factory fared better, lasting from 1764 to 1812. The Le Nove factory produced from about 1752 to 1773, then was revived from 1781 to 1802.[40]


The first soft-paste in England was demonstrated by Thomas Briand to the Royal Society in 1742 and is believed to have been based on the Saint-Cloud formula. In 1749, Thomas Frye took out a patent on a porcelain containing bone ash. This was the first bone china, subsequently perfected by Josiah Spode. William Cookworthy discovered deposits of kaolin in Cornwall, and his factory at Plymouth, established in 1768, used kaolin and china stone to make hard-paste porcelain with a body composition similar to that of the Chinese porcelains of the early 18th century. But the great success of English ceramics in the 18th century was based on soft-paste porcelain, and refined earthenwares such as creamware, which could compete with porcelain, and had devastated the faience industries of France and other continental countries by the end of the century. Most English porcelain from the late 18th century to the present is bone china.

In the twenty-five years after Briand's demonstration, a number of factories were founded in England to make soft-paste tableware and figures:

Russian porcelain[edit]

In 1744, the Elizabeth of Russia signed an agreement to establish the first porcelain manufactory; previously it had to be imported. The technology of making "white gold" was carefully hidden by its creators. Peter the Great had tried to reveal the "big porcelain secret", and sent an agent to the Meissen factory, and finally hired a porcelain master from abroad.[51] This relied on the research of the Russian scientist Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov. His development of porcelain manufacturing technology was not based on secrets learned through third parties, but was the result of painstaking work and careful analysis. Thanks to this, by 1760, Imperial Porcelain Factory, Saint Petersburg became a major European factories producing tableware, and later porcelain figurines.[52]

Eventually other factories opened: Gardner porcelain, Dulyovo (1832), Kuznetsovsky porcelain, Popovsky porcelain, and Gzhel.

Other uses[edit]

Electric insulating material[edit]

Porcelain insulator for medium-high voltage

Porcelain and other ceramic materials have many applications in engineering, especially ceramic engineering. Porcelain is an excellent insulator for use with high voltages, especially in outdoor applications (see Insulator (electricity)#Material). Examples include: terminals for high-voltage cables, bushings of power transformers, and insulation of high-frequency antennas.

Building material[edit]

Porcelain can be used as a building material, usually in the form of tiles or large rectangular panels. Modern porcelain tiles are generally produced by a number of recognised international standards and definitions.[53][54] Manufacturers are found across the world[55] with Italy being the global leader, producing over 380 million square metres in 2006.[56] Historic examples of rooms decorated entirely in porcelain tiles can be found in several European palaces including ones at Galleria Sabauda in Turin, Museo di Doccia in Sesto Fiorentino, Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, the Royal Palace of Madrid and the nearby Royal Palace of Aranjuez.[57] and the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing.

More recent noteworthy examples include the Dakin Building in Brisbane, California, and the Gulf Building in Houston, Texas, which when constructed in 1929 had a 21-metre-long (69 ft) porcelain logo on its exterior.[58] A more detailed description of the history, manufacture and properties of porcelain tiles is given in the article “Porcelain Tile: The Revolution Is Only Beginning.”[58]

Bathroom fittings[edit]

Porcelain Chamber Pots from Vienna.

Because of its durability, inability to rust and impermeability, glazed porcelain has been in use for personal hygiene since at least the third quarter of the 17th century. During this period, porcelain chamber pots were commonly found in higher-class European households, and the term "bourdaloue" was used as the name for the pot.[59]

However bath tubs are not made of porcelain, but of porcelain enamel on a metal base, usually of cast iron. Porcelain enamel is a marketing term used in the US, and is not porcelain but vitreous enamel.[60]

Dental porcelain[edit]

Dental porcelain is used for crowns, bridges and veneers.


Porcelain wares, such as those similar to these Yongle-era porcelain flasks, were often presented as trade goods during the 15th-century Chinese maritime expeditions. (British Museum)

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Porcelain, n. and adj". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 18 Jun 2018.
  2. ^OED, "China"; An Introduction to Pottery. 2nd edition. Rado P. Institute of Ceramic / Pergamon Press. 1988. Usage of "china" in this sense is inconsistent, & it may be used of other types of ceramics also.
  3. ^Harmonized commodity description and coding system: explanatory notes, Volume 3, 1986, Customs Co-operation Council, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  4. ^Definition in The Combined Nomenclature of the European Communities defines, Burton, 1906
  5. ^Valenstein, S. (1998). A handbook of Chinese ceramicsArchived September 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, pp. 22, 59-60, 72, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. ISBN 9780870995149
  6. ^ abcRichards, Sarah (1999). Eighteenth-century ceramic: Products for a civilised society. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 23–26. ISBN .
  7. ^Reed, Cleota; Skoczen; Stan (1997). Syracuse China. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. pp. 51–52. ISBN . Archived from the original on 2014-01-07.
  8. ^N. Hudson Moore (1903). The Old China Book. p. 7. ISBN . Archived from the original on 2013-05-28.
  9. ^Strumpf, Faye (2000). Limoges boxes: A complete guide. Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 125. ISBN . Archived from the original on 2017-12-02.
  10. ^ abBurton, William (1906). Porcelain, Its Nature, Art and Manufacture. London. pp. 18–19.
  11. ^Science Of Early English Porcelain. Freestone I C. Sixth Conference and Exhibition of the European Ceramic Society. Extended Abstracts. Vol.1 Brighton, 20–24 June 1999, pg.11-17
  12. ^The Special Appeal Of Bone China. Cubbon R C P.Tableware Int. 11, (9), 30, 1981
  13. ^All About Bone China. Cubbon R C P. Tableware Int. 10, (9), 34, 1980
  14. ^Spode's Bone China – Progress In Processing Without Compromise In Quality. George R T; Forbes D; Plant P. Ceram. Ind. 115, (6), 32, 1980
  15. ^An Introduction To The Technology Of Pottery. Paul Rado. Institute of Ceramics & Pergamon Press, 1988
  16. ^Changes & Developments Of Non-plastic Raw Materials. Sugden A. International Ceramics Issue 2 2001.
  17. ^Kelun, Chen (2004). Chinese porcelain: Art, elegance, and appreciation. San Francisco: Long River Press. p. 3. ISBN . Archived from the original on 2013-05-28.
  18. ^ ab"Porcelain". Columbia Encyclopedia Sixth Edition. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  19. ^Vainker, 66
  20. ^ abTe-k'un, Cheng (1984). Studies in Chinese ceramics. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN . Archived from the original on 2017-12-02.
  21. ^ abcTemple, Robert K.G. (2007). The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention (3rd edition). London: André Deutsch, pp. 104-5. ISBN 978-0-233-00202-6
  22. ^Kerr, Rose, Needham, Joseph, Wood, Nigel, Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 12, Ceramic Technology, 2004, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-83833-7, Google books
  23. ^Wood, Nigel (2011). Chinese Glazes: Their Origins, Chemistry, and Recreation. London: A. & C. Black. ISBN .
  24. ^Cohen, David Harris; Hess, Catherine (1993). Looking at European ceramics : a guide to technical terms. Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal. p. 59. ISBN . Archived from the original on 2014-07-06.
  25. ^Rawson, Jessica "Chinese Art", 2007, publisher:the British Museum Press, London, ISBN 978-0-7141-2446-9
  26. ^Smith, Harris, & Clark, 163-164; Watson, 260
  27. ^Smith, Harris, & Clark, 164-165; Watson, 261
  28. ^Smith, Harris, & Clark, 165; Watson, 261
  29. ^De Ayala, Fernando Zobel (1961). "The First Philippine Porcelain". Philippine Studies. 9 (1): 17–19. JSTOR 42719652.
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  • Battie, David, ed., Sotheby's Concise Encyclopedia of Porcelain, 1990, Conran Octopus. ISBN 1850292515
  • Le Corbellier, Clare, Eighteenth-century Italian porcelain, 1985, Metropolitan Museum of Art, (fully available online as PDF)
  • Smith, Lawrence, Harris, Victor and Clark, Timothy, Japanese Art: Masterpieces in the British Museum, 1990, British Museum Publications, ISBN 0714114464
  • Vainker, S.J., Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, 1991, British Museum Press, 9780714114705
  • Watson, William ed., The Great Japan Exhibition: Art of the Edo Period 1600–1868, 1981, Royal Academy of Arts/Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Further reading[edit]

  • Burton, William (1906). Porcelain, Its Nature, Art and Manufacture. London: Batsford.
  • Combined Nomenclature of the European Communities – EC Commission in Luxembourg, 1987.
  • Finlay, Robert (2010). The Pilgrim Art: Cultures of Porcelain in World History. Volume 11 of California World History Library (Illustrated ed.). University of California Press. ISBN . Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  • Guy, John (1986). Guy, John (ed.). Oriental trade ceramics in South-East Asia, ninth to sixteenth centuries: with a catalogue of Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai wares in Australian collections (Illustrated, revised ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN . Retrieved 24 April 2014.

External links[edit]

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