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.