A love of the antique and a desire to preserve tradition [making ceramics] are generally undercurrents in society but ones which exert considerable influence on the character of given period.

宣德  (Xuande) – Introduction


Over the course of human civilization, both pottery and books have been used to record traditions, stories and cultural practices. This exhibition strikes to cover the tradition of making pottery in different cultures, as well as contribute to the greater Goucher collection. Pottery/Ceramics making and book-making are the two diverse ways to transfer knowledge and images. In addition, the production of pottery, ceramics, or books brings about the question of sustainable material and integration of human creativity with their surroundings. We want to combine these two valuable aspects of ancient cultures and societies in our exhibition because they also represent human’s ingenuity and engagement with the natural environment.  

The two books that are included in this exhibition are the two volumes of History of Ancient Pottery by Samuel Birch which highlights the history of pottery in Ancient Roman, Greek, Etruscan, Assyrian, and Egyptian cultures. The other book included in the exhibition is Chinese Porcelain (宣德 – Xuande) which documents the history of porcelains and ceramics in China, during the reign of Xuande Emperor – the fifth Emperor of the Ming dynasty (1425 to 1435).  

History Of Ancient Pottery​
by Samuel Birch​
1858, two volumes  

Volume I covers pottery from Ancient Egypt, Assyria, and Greece. Volume II covers pottery from Ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman society. Besides its valuable content, the book themselves are also the imprint of the printing culture in the West.

Chinese Porcelain ​(宣德 – Xuande)
by Unknown Author, 1980

This book focuses on document the tradition of pottery in the East, mostly concerned with Chinese ceramics and porcelain. While belonging to a different culture, the book also uses Western binding. When it was in possession of the Kelmscott Bookshop, the book was also under conservation and protected with Mylar cover.

The production of these works is also the evidence of people’s interests in pottery-making tradition, both formally and informally. The books in this display, from its content to the design, illustrate the different ways societies celebrate beauty and their aesthetics values. The books are the imprints of history and cultural traditions. 


Marbled Design

Thank you and Dedication:

This exhibition cannot be completed without the teaching of Professor April Oettinger and her class VMC 383: History of the Books, as well as the generous contribution from the Goucher College Special Collections & Archives and the Goucher College Library. Header images are public domain provided by Google Image. Other images in the website are in possession of our group members.