Recommended: Celadon, The Unseen Green at The Awl

celadon Celadon

The Awl is a really interesting site. Their editorial approach seems to be far-ranging. Still, for a site without a clear content taxonomy, their posts are consistently interesting.

Given this, it’s little surprise that this post from last week is so unique and intriguing:

There was once a color so beautiful that only royalty were allowed to see it. The common folk didn’t know it, but this green was (rather fittingly) one of those “ish” colors with no clear descriptive word. It was an imprecise color, a murky color, found only on special ceramics and created by a thinly applied glaze that transformed iron oxide from ferric to ferrous iron as it fired in the kiln. The green-ish, gray-ish pottery emerged from the fire with a hint of brown and a fine crackle that supposedly reminded those early worshipers of imprecise beauty of jade. Later, this green would go by the name “celadon” (named, supposedly, for a fictional French lothario who wore pale green ribbons) but for centuries in China it was known only as mi se meaning “mysterious color.”

You can read the full piece here.