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Arabian & Oriental Porcelain – Ceramics from the Silk Road

The Silk Road was the world’s most powerful trade and cultural transmission route that exchanged goods, skills and ideas between China, Arabia and Western Europe for more than 1,000 years. It was a human ribbon that stretched 4,000 miles from Xi’an and Beijing in China, through Arabia to Alexandria and onwards to Venice.

As well as silks, spices, gold and other goods, the route carried crafts and knowledge in its broad current. Foremost among these was the production of ceramics, and porcelain in particular. Porcelain, the hard clay that demands so much craftsmanship and firing at high temperatures, was discovered by the Chinese and perfected during the Han Dynasty in c.200BC as the Silk Road was in its infancy. Over the centuries, exquisite porcelain artefacts and the skills to make them were carried down the Silk Road into the homes and palaces of the discerning few on three continents Carole Bennett, a potter working in East Sussex, aims to recreate the spirit of this cultural interchange in her work. She uses traditional materials and techniques to produce unique hand-made pieces that are then decorated with ancient texts.

Here are some examples of pieces that have been produced in her rural studio.



“Sometimes a journey arises out of hope and instinct, the heady conviction, as your finger travels along the map: Yes, here and here … and here. These are the nerve-ends of the world …” Colin Thuberon, The Silk Road