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Petuntse (from 白墩子 in pinyin: bai2 dun1 zi0), also spelled petunse and bai dunzi, baidunzi, is a historic term for a wide range of micaceous or feldspathic rocks. However, all will have been subject to geological decomposition processes that result in a material which, after processing, is suitable as an ingredient in some ceramic formulations; the name means "little white bricks", referring to the form in which it was transported to the potteries (compare ball clay).[1]

It was, and to some extent continues to be, an important raw material for Chinese porcelain, although the terms "porcelain stone",[2] or "pottery stone",[3][4][5][6] are now used; the equivalent term in Chinese is cishi.

It is mixed with kaolin in proportions varying according to the grade of porcelain to be produced; equal quantities for the best and two thirds petuntse to one third kaolin for everyday ware.[7] There are large deposits of high quality stone in Jiangxi province in south-eastern China, which became a centre for porcelain production, especially in Jingdezhen ware.[8]

While sharing some similarities to the material known as China stone, which is found uniquely in southwestern England, they differ in mineralogy; however both are derived from the alteration of igneous rocks.


  1. ^ Rawson, pp. 215-216, 361
  2. ^ Kerr, Needham & Wood, 225; Vainker, 124
  3. ^ ‘Chinese Porcelain’. N.Wood. Pottery Q. 12, (47), 101, 1977
  4. ^ ‘State Of Flux - Feldspar Developments Continue Apace.’ Asian Ceramics. September,2002,p.32-33,35,37.
  5. ^ ‘High Mechanical Strength Porcelain Body Prepared From Amakusa Pottery Stone Containing Soda Feldspar.’ K. Hamano, A.Hatano, S.Okada. J.Ceram.Soc.Jap. 101, No.9,1993, p.1038-1043.
  6. ^ ‘Refinement Of The Low-Grade Pottery Stone By Hydrothermal Treatment.’ K.Kimura, H.Tateyama, K.Jinnai. Deutsche Keramische Gesellschaft. Proc.Silicer '90 Nurnberg, 26–28 September 1990, p.103-110.
  7. ^ Macintosh, 196
  8. ^ Vainker, 124


  • Macintosh, D., Chinese Blue and White Porcelain, 3rd ed., 1994, Antique Collectors' Club, ISBN 1851492100
  • Rose Kerr, Joseph Needham, Nigel Wood, Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 12, Ceramic Technology, 2004, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521838339, 9780521838337, google books
  • Rawson, Jessica (ed). The British Museum Book of Chinese Art, 2007 (2nd edn), British Museum Press, ISBN 9780714124469
  • Vainker, S.J., Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, 1991, British Museum Press, ISBN 9780714114705