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

Chandra L. Reedy, Pamela B. Vandiver, Ting He, Ying Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1943-1968
Number of pages26
JournalMRS Advances
Issue number35-36
StatePublished - 2017


  • archaeology
  • ceramic
  • microstructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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