Chinese Porcelain Visual Response Reflection

In reproducing Chinese porcelain designs on paper plates, we seek to address its changing nature, from decorative items to utilitarian wares.


The plate we referred to was the Chrysanthemum dish made in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), found in the Asian Civilizations Museum.

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Chrysanthemum dish

China, Jingdezhen kilns, Qing dynasty

Porcelain with depictions of plants and butterflies


After research and group discussions, we settled on the uses of Chinese porcelain designs and comparism of the past and future uses. In the past, such plates were deem precious and placed for decorative admiration yet such designs can be found on plates used for eating now. To emphasise on the shifting nature of the designs now, we use paper plates, a disposable item easily thrown away after use. People are more blasé about such designs and with printed technology, it is easy to throw away what might be deemed precious centuries ago.




To emulate the casual setting we were going for, we decided to set up a picnic table where such plates are more commonly used. Bottles, chips, and flowers are provided to create a friendly atmosphere where friends can easily gather to chat.


Through this project, I realize art is never just a reflection of its own period but also an instigator of critical questions to an artist, art students, art historian, anybody. Yes, it does represent the period from when it came from but such art inspires the next generation of art and that is how we fit in. Looking at a plate created centuries ago prompted us to think about the ever-changing nature of goods and compare them. It can go many ways then, we can ask ‘why has it changed?’ or ‘when did it change?’, the questions are endless. In creating a visual response, we are creating a conversation with the piece which I found intriguing and frankly, rather amazing.

Art History- Final Project Research

Group members: Andrew, Fern, Chen Yue, Ziyu

During the discussion on Thursday, we agreed to focus on Chinese ceramics. Which Chinese ceramic we wanted to focus on, well, we will need to do further research. We might focus on the white wares.

However what we agreed on is to focus on functionality of Chinese ceramics and the modern interpretation of such items.

For example, Chinese ceramics were used by royalty or the commoners, depending on the clay used and the final product. White wares were more commonly purchased by the rich while the more common wares were used by commoners.

Several functions of current plates include

  • decorative or aesthetic purpose
  • usage during consumption of food
  • as symbols of status

The implementation of final prototype:

– We intend to create a ceramic plate or to find a model of it in different materials to explain its current modern usage.

-Paint it in resemblance of a Chinese ceramic.



Introductory Paragraph- Chinese Tomb Art

There has been a change in my thesis statement but I think I’ll put down the paragraph first and see if it’s easy to pick out.



The Ancient China concept of death indicated that the body had two spiritual elements, the hun spirit representing the expressive soul headed for paradise and the po spirit that remained after death[1]. To appease the po spirit, the dead were buried with art such as sculptures or bronzes and everyday objects, essentially “recreating life in all its essentials.“[2] The higher rank the deceased had, the more goods were placed in their tombs, one of the most famous being China’s First Emperor Qin Shihuang tomb and his terracotta warriors. Founded in 1974 by farmers , the terracotta army remained one of China’s links to its extensive history, one being the study of military hierarchy in the ranks; Despite the facial individualities of the soldiers[3] the overarching shape of the terracotta figures, as shown by its posture, weapons, and dressing, encapsulates the rank of the figure.

[1] Wood, China’s First Emperor and His Terra Cotta Warriors, 127.

[2] Man, The Terracotta Army: China’s First Emperor and The Birth of a Nation, 100.

[3] Fu, The Underground Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, 12.



Wood, Frances. China’s First Emperor and His Terra Cotta Warriors. New York: St.Martin’s Press, 2008.

Man, John. The Terracotta Army: China’s First Emperor and The Birth of a Nation. Great Britain: Bantam Press, 2007.

Fu, Tianchou. The Underground Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. China: New World Press, 1996

Question 1 essay proposal

Hi there,

Below is the essay proposal format I have for art history. It is still very rough but has a layout of what I am intending to focus on for each paragraph.


Proposal format for question 1: 

What is Chinese tomb art? Compare two bronzes from the Shang dynasty. OR compare two terracotta figures from the Qin dynasty.



  • What is Chinese tomb art?
  • Why are there Chinese tomb art?
  • Examples of Chinese tomb art

Tentative claim:

  • The terracotta warriors in Qin Shihuangdi’s grave are part of a majestic range of Chinese tomb art for the emperor.


Plan for essay:

  • Compare between two terracotta warriors.
  • Analysis of similarities and differences between both art pieces.
  • Analysis of significance of tomb art in context.


Possible paragraphs envisioned (Numbers below represent paragraphs)

  1. Introduction to Chinese tomb art. This includes their use, appearance, and context of history and religion in which it was used.
  2. Introduction of both terracotta pieces for comparism. Compare on similarity and differences.
  3. Analysis on context for both terracotta pieces.
  4. Attempt to answer and support the tentative claim that terracotta warriors are part of a majestic form of Chinese tomb art.
  5. Conclusion to highlight tentative claim once more.

Journal Week 1: How do you learn?

I am a tactile/visual learner in equal percentage, which is what I found in a recent online test. The link is available here.

With descriptions and explanation from the website below, I am able to better understand the way I learn and how I can help myself learn better.

Tactile Learning:

You learn by touching and doing. You understand and remember things through physical movement. You are a “hands-on” learner who prefers to touch, move, build, or draw what you learn, and you tend to learn better when some type of physical activity is involved. You need to be active and take frequent breaks, you often speak with your hands and with gestures, and you may have difficulty sitting still.

As a tactile learner, you like to take things apart and put things together, and you tend to find reasons to tinker or move around when you become bored. You may be very well coordinated and have good athletic ability. You can easily remember things that were done but may have difficulty remembering what you saw or heard in the process. You often communicate by touching, and you appreciate physically expressed forms of encouragement, such as a pat on the back.

Visual Learning:

You learn by reading or seeing pictures. You understand and remember things by sight. You can picture what you are learning in your head, and you learn best by using methods that are primarily visual. You like to see what you are learning.

As a visual learner, you are usually neat and clean. You often close your eyes to visualize or remember something, and you will find something to watch if you become bored. You may have difficulty with spoken directions and may be easily distracted by sounds. You are attracted to color and to spoken language (like stories) that is rich in imagery.


Some suggestions given to tactile/visual learners are that

  • Use flashcards to learn new words
  • Try to avoid distractions.
  • Colour code things.
  • Try to visualize things that you hear or things that are read to you.
  • Do lots of hand-on activities.
  • Etc


It’s a good thing I’m in Art and Design huh. With visual/tactile (and also auditory) learning tendencies, my way of learning has mostly been to draw out my notes, fidget a lot when in class, imagining the events in a book or notes, especially in history, so that I remember the events better, and even just moving a lot when thinking.