Essay proposal (rough outline and some thoughts)

Draft thesis/claim : the evolution and rise of Chinese ceramics, especially aesthetics, was to a large extent influenced by other countries

Paragraph 1: introductory information such as uses of early ceramics in native China, brief info about processes involved, importance placed on various types of ceramics (dominant color was black, designs were geometric and simple ones depicting animals or human faces), and from there introduce main thesis. Will also contain basic definition of ceramics and how China is famous for such goods, which acts as a transition to my main argument.

Next few paragraphs will be chronological with events such as opening of trade routes slowly exerting their influence on Chinese ceramics. Point to consider: early ceramics were entirely functional, meant for cooking/storage/carrying water etc and later on became a decorative item/symbol of status/diplomatic gift etc.

I will then compare 2 ceramics found on shipwrecks, either between one used by Chinese crew and one for export OR between one before opening of trade routes/silk road and one after. Assess presence of handles etc to indicate functionality. Chinese began glazing in Shang period, thus more aesthetic options. Early lead glazed wares had figures that were linked to ‘Taoism’ and other native beliefs, later wares had images of other cultures etc.

Porcelain could possibly be a good example as it was only produced in China until the late 18th century due to kaolin existing there, thus if there are signs that porcelains were produced to cater to other cultures it would really strengthen argument.

Sorry for the messy structure but I was just noting down important points to use here while researching. So essentially I plan to argue that even though China is renowned for their ceramics, they owe a large part of their success to other countries.

Looking forward to your comments on my draft.


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Andrew Wong

*little biographical information*

One thought on “Essay proposal (rough outline and some thoughts)”

  1. Good initial claim, but it is still too broad. Are you saying all Chinese ceramics were influences by foreign cultures? No. Please be more specific. Also, what do you mean by “aesthetics?”

    Why don’t you put your point about trade in your intro?

    You seem to have an idea about early ceramics as being functional and later ceramics being for a tribute. if you want to go down this route, be more specific (choose the ceramics, time period).

    There seems to be at least two papers in this introduction!

    You also have an idea lurking in your comparison of a Chinese ceramic used by the crew and another used for export.

    Your final claim about China is known for its ceramics is too broad.

    You need to also get some facts correct: Glazing began in the Han period. Shang is known for its bronzes. Taoism is not around in the Shang. It begins in the Zhou dynasty. Porcelain is being produced even now at Jingdezhen.

    Please post a new proposal.

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