Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM0090 (AF:348413 AR:187035)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
Amazing archaeological excavations of the past twenty years have profoundly changed the view we used to have of the history of Chinese ceramics. On the basis of the latest research results, this course will examine the history and development of ceramic making in China from the 7th to the 18th century, that is from the Tang to the Qing dynasty. As ceramics occupy an important place in Chinese visual and material culture, they will be studied from different perspectives: technological (to understand their visual and aesthetic properties, which partly determined their success), archaeological (to retrace their actual development in time), art historical (to place them in their production and consumption context and analyse their style and design), and commercial (to understand where and how Chinese ceramics were traded across Asia and beyond). Particular importance will be attached to the so-called Maritime Silk Roads, in which Chinese ceramics played a key role (so much so that they are also known as the Maritime Ceramics Roads) and to ceramics as the first truly global commodity exported all over the world from the 16th century onwards.
By attending the planned teaching activities and studying the indicated texts, students should achieve the following learning outcomes:
1. Knowledge and understanding
- To know the evolution of Chinese ceramics.
- To know and understand the various generic ceramics produced between the 7th and 18th centuries.
- To know and understand the main conceptual tools related to ceramics.
2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
- Identify and critically analyse the technological, archaeological, historical-artistic and commercial aspects of Chinese ceramics.
- Analyse and interpret the various ceramic genres by placing them in their context.
- Apply key concepts to the relevant terminology and methods of analysis of Chinese ceramics.
3. Judgment
- Critically analyse information and reasoning.
- Construct and present an academic discussion.
- Improve planning and organisational skills.
4. Learning capacity
- To be able to critically consult reference texts and the bibliography they contain.
- To be able to identify the main study and research resources relating to the history of Chinese ceramics between the 7th and 18th centuries.
General knowledge of the history and art history of China in general.
Elements of ceramic technology in China
Chinese ceramics and archaeology
Ceramic genres from the Tang to the Qing dynasty
The Maritime Silk/Ceramics Roads
Chinese ceramics and technology transfer
Basic reading list compulsory for everybody:
Shelagh J. VAINKER, Chinese Pottery and Porcelain: from Prehistory to the Present, British Museum Press, 1991.
LI Zhiyan, Virginia L. BOWER, He LI (eds.), Chinese ceramics. From the Paleolithic
period through the Qing dynasty, Yale Univ Press, 2010.
Nigel WOOD, Chinese ceramic glazes. Their Origins, Chemistry and Recreation, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

The complete reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course.
Visual and audio-visual material will be provided during classes on the course website on Moodle platform
During the course two papers/essays/chapters will be assigned to each student, who must present their content to the class at two different times.
The presentation of the papers/essays/chapters constitutes 20% of the final exam grade.
The final exam (80%) will be oral and the discussion will focus on the texts in the bibliography and the topics discussed during classes.

The course includes lectures, seminars and students’ presentations. Slides and audio-visual material will be uploaded on Moodle. If during the semester there will be exhibitions or other events related to the subject of the course, we will organize a visit.
Students who have degrees other than Chinese Studies are very welcome, but will have to catch up on Chinese history and art.
The teaching language will be English if foreign students will take the class.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 31/01/2022