History of Celadon
THE NATURE OF CELADON
Celadon is one kind of three main types of ceramics in Thailand. Its production has continued to develop from its early beginnings 700 years ago until the present.
The name ‘celadon’ derived from two Sanskrit words: ‘sila’, meaning ‘stone’, and ‘dhara’, meaning ‘green’. Therefore, ‘Celadon’ means green stone. Celadon comes in many shades and styles, being found in tones of light and dark gray, honey yellow, green and green-yellow, olive green, blue-green and brown.
History of Celadon
During 1300-1500 A.D., Sukhothai – the capital of the first Thai Kingdom – was the production center of the greenish-glazed stoneware known as “Sangkhaloke” wares due to the mispronunciation of Sawankhaloke – the name of an important production site of the kingdom. In general Westerners call this kind of ceramic “Celadon” after a French term, but in fact Celadon originated in China whose products have always been easily identified with Chinese characters at the bottom of the vessels. But if a vessel bears Thai letters instead, it was certainly made in Thailand.
Sukhothai was the center of the continual production of Celadon for over 200 years as evidenced by hundreds of old kilns excavated at Tambon Ban Ko Noi and Tambon Payang in Sawankhaloke. In addition, fine specimens of Thai Celadon have also been found in different countries along the ancient shipping trade route in that era such as Java, Sumatra, Malacca, the Philippines, Japan. At the end of Sukhothai period, the kingdom had been constantly weakened by warfare against the invasions of neighboring kingdoms, which eventually led to the southward-shifting of the capital to Ayutthaya, thus the halt of Celadon production at Sukhothai.
During Ayutthaya period, around 1550-1750, a lot of porcelain was imported from China for uses in Royal palace. These ceramic wares, the product of Jiang-Xi Province, made of semi white kaolin clay, consequently became more popular than Celadon among the Thais who called them “Gungsai” or “Blue China”
In Chiang Mai, the low-fired earthenware or Terra Cotta, like water containers, pots and vases, has originally long been produced for daily life uses. Later on, in 1950, groups of Shan people migrating from Shan State, Myanmar, founded several wood-fueled kilns near “Chang Peuk” the city’s northern gate, making high-fired vessels glazed with wood ashes. Their products, apparently destined for local markets, such as pots for soaking sticky rice, flower pots, water pots for cabinet stands etc., were all green glaze stoneware or Celadon. Ever since Celadon wares in different forms have been developed to meet all functional needs. And later, when some westerners have participated in this beautiful craftsmanship by operating some celadon factories, a more variety of designs has been produced, such as dinning sets, vases, and decorative items. As a result, Celadon has become increasingly popular, thus encouraging its further and various improvement. A number of factories in Chiang Mai have become well known, and the majority of them appreciatively maintain the traditional production method with minimum mechanical devices, including using the ancient glaze formula prepared with the ashes of Overcus belutina and Terminalialate heyna.
As a result, Chiang Mai has been recognized as the home of the reestablishment of traditionally-produced Celadon, and sustaining the beauty of Sukhothai arts for over than 70 years.
USES OF CELADON
As celadon is a manmade product which depends upon the skills and experience of craftsmen, it is valuable. Because of its attractiveness, celadon is used both for home decoration and everyday use. Cooking and serving with celadon ware is recommended, even in a microwave oven, since no chemicals are used during production.
THE VALUE OF CELADON
Celadon can be considered as a Thai art and craft which is closely related to Thai culture and tradition from ancient times till nowadays. The traditional process from our Thai forefathers and the skills in today’s production constitute a valuable and important heritage for the future generations.
Each tool or crafted object has been improved in every possible way during the long period of its use. Celadon reflects the uncomplicated feelings and spirit of the local craftsmen whose imagination and effort are fully utilized in its production. Practical celadon wares consist of items such as cups, plates, bowls, trays and others.
Besides celadon for daily use, some celadon products such as a Thai god statue, a symbol of people’s worship to their god, are valued for their spiritual function. The works not only reflect the cultures, traditions, customs and religious beliefs of the makers but also reflect the feeling and state of mind of the craftsmen.
Creation of celadon ware needs the skills of craftsmen to judge whether its form and decorative patterns go together and whether it possesses artistic beauty. Celadon product is considered as valuable art since only it can show the right combinations and patterns.
With an expressive value, some celadon works express the simplicity, firmness of feeling of each craftsman. The tenderness, love of arts and faith of craftsmen are also expressed through their celadon works.
HOW CELADON IS MADE
Celadon is handmade by a traditional process; the production process is interesting and is as follows:
STEP 1: The first step is clay preparation. To produce stoneware, black clay know as “din dam”, mostly found in quarries in Chiang Mai, is needed. The clay is dried, pounded, grounded, and sieved in order to have really good quality clay.
At Baan celadon finishing is the final step in manufacturing the products. All goods are inspected to ensure quality and design are according to our standards. Base ridges are scraped clean of glaze, small imperfections corrected, final touches are added, and goods are hand-polished before packing.
Goods destined for our overseas customers are carefully packed so that they arrive undamaged. Our expert packers know how to protect even delicate ceramic products to survive rough handling during shipment. Their record is excellent, with very few products suffering breakage and requiring an insurance claim.
All celadonware at Baan Celadon are carefully crafted, generally of simple design with standard patterns and decorations. They are available with smooth or crackle-glaze finishes in our subtle natural celadon shades, achieved in the traditional methods by firing with wood-ash glazes. We have a wide range of these more affordable items for selection for everyday use, as gifts or ornaments.
HOME DECOR WITH CELADON
Decoration, food preparation and serving, lighting and atmosphere, surfaces and accessories – there are a multitude of possibilities. They are in a wide variety of styles, types and finishes. All items are available in unique hand-painted or crack-glazed finished in natural colours in greens, blues and earth-tones. Kitchenware items are food-safe, microwave and dishwasher capable.
|Decoratives||Candleholders||Vases & Bowls|
|Bath & Pool Items||Bedroom Items||Accessories|
|Wall & Floor Decor|
CELADON for the GARDEN
Celadonware’s natural colours, textures and finishes blend perfectly into gardens and outdoor areas. Cool sea-greens, emerald-greens, teal and earth tones, with cracked-glaze or silky smooth finishes. Informal yet classy garden or poolside accessories. Such items as bird baths or fish and lily bowls create a friendly and classic corner of your garden.
|Planters & Pots||Vases||Lanterns|
|Bird Baths||Fish & Lily Bowls||Poolside Items|
|Garden & Patio Seating||Tiles for Wall & Floor||Murals|
CELADON for SPA & HOTEL
Celadonware is the perfect material for so many items used in spas and hotels. Its subtle, natural colours and cracked-glaze texture lend a touch of class wherever it is placed. Or specify Baan Celadon’s beautifully hand-painted patterns or designs for a richer appeal. Pamper your guests with relaxing style and quality.
|Spa Accessories||Lamps & Candleholders||Bedroom Sets|
|Bathroom Sets||Hotel Decor Items||Restaurant & Bar Items|
|Lobby Decor Items||Poolside Items|
CELADON GIFTS & INCENTIVES
Gifts and Incentives of celadon are always appreciated for their intrinsic value, and for the thought behind their selection. Durability and quality means they will be treasured for many years. Add your corporate insignia for a memorable Incentive Item.
|Statues & Decoratives||Candleholders||Vases & Bowls|
|Personal Items||Smokers Items||Desk Sets|