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Talc-Rich Black Tibetan Pottery of Derge County, Sichuan Province, China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 April 2017

Chandra L. Reedy*
Affiliation:
Laboratory for Analysis of Cultural Materials, Center for Historic Architecture and Design, University of Delaware, Newark, DE19716, U.S.A.
Pamela B. Vandiver
Affiliation:
Program in Heritage Conservation Science, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ85721, U.S.A.
Ting He
Affiliation:
Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, Chengdu, Sichuan610041, People’s Republic of China
Ying Xu
Affiliation:
Laboratory for Analysis of Cultural Materials, Center for Historic Architecture and Design, University of Delaware, Newark, DE19716, U.S.A.
*
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Abstract

Unusual raw materials are used to produce Tibetan black pottery in Puma township of Derge County, Sichuan Province, China. Carbonaceous, calcareous pyrite-rich illitic lakebed clay is mixed in equal proportions with a ferruginous talc-chlorite steatite. A two-stage firing process results in a dark, lustrous surface. The large amount of talc imparts many useful functional qualities to this pottery; most significant are the low thermal expansion and good thermal conduction properties of talc that make these ceramics highly suitable for heating and cooking in this high mountain region. Although used in some modern ceramics, and even in modern stoves, talc is an unusual ingredient in non-industrialized ceramics. Procurement and preparation of this resource adds to the production time but its properties and performance make talc an excellent choice for the well-being and comfort of local Tibetan households.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2017 

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