China in Six Easy Pieces
For centuries the west has been enthralled by flamboyant blue-and-white ceramics from China but unaware that all the time the Chinese were making porcelains for themselves that were completely different - subtle monochromes for the Imperial court, beautiful objects for the scholar's table and delicate domestic wares.
Ceramics expert Lars Tharp, Antiques Roadshow resident and presenter of Treasures of Chinese Porcelain, has picked his six favourite pieces representing Chinese taste. He's goes on a journey through a thousand years of Chinese history, travelling from the ancient capital of Huangzhou in the south to Beijing's Forbidden City in the north, to uncover what these six pieces tell us about Chinese emperors, scholars, workers, merchants and artists.
To him, they are China in ceramic form. But can they help us to understand China today?