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Department of Archaeology


Mr Ran Zhang

(email at


The traded China’s ceramics in the Indian Ocean, 9th to 18th centuries


I am a Chinese student and doing the research of traded ceramics. My research focuses on the archaeological findings of China’s ceramics in the Indian Ocean during the 9th to 18th centuries. To deal with the dating works of over three thousands Far East ceramic sherds from the Williamson collection, I am trying to find out the archaeological evidence of the original kilns in China. These findings and evidence can be seen as the historical and economic background of ancient China which deeply influenced the traded activities in the Indian Ocean. 

I examined the economic situation and ceramic history of ancient China as the preparing works to build a framework of a chronology of traded China’s ceramics. In general, there are three periods of this chronology: 1) During the 9th to 12th centuries, the main types of ceramics consist of White wares of Xing kiln from north China, celadon wares of Yue kiln from South China, Sancai wares of Gongxian kiln from centre China and under-glaze painted wares of Chang Sha kiln from west China; 2) During the 13th to 15th centuries, Longquan celadon wares from south China become common in the Indian Ocean trade; 3) After the 15th century, blue and white porcelain replaces the position of Longquan celadon in both the markets inside and outside of ancient China. To understand the distribution and profile of traded ceramics in different sites in the Indian Ocean, we can know better of consumption and trade methods in the ancient age.

I also focus on the identification works of ancient China’s ceramics. As a volunteer in the Oriental Museum of Durham University, I examined all the China’s ceramic collection and provided more details and information such as the original kilns and dating works.

Research Group

A research member of the China’s national project of traded China’s ceramics, the Palace Museum and Zhejaing Provincial Museum, 2011

Other qualifications

The certificate of Professional Auction of Cultural Relics: China’s Ceramics, 2011


Books: sections

  • Kennet, D., , Zhang, R., & Priestman, S (2011). Longquan ceramic of archaeological excavation in Near East – introduction of Longquan celadon about the Williamson Collection and the Siraf material [in Chinese]. In The Research of Longquan kiln. Institute of Chinese Ceramics Forbidden City Press. 447-57.

Is supervised by

Archaeology Staff June 2014