Victoria Glendinning

Fifty Shades of White

The White Road: A Pilgrimage of Sorts

By

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Edmund de Waal made his first pot when he was five years old and dipped it in white glaze. He made his first white porcelain bowl at seventeen and is still at it. Porcelain has been a white gold, craved and traded for a thousand years. In The White Road de Waal sets out across continents, hunting down iconic pieces and visiting the places where porcelain was invented and reinvented, in the ‘white hills’ of China, England and Germany.

Porcelain, we learn, has two ingredients: petunse, a white stone that gives translucency and hardness, and kaolin, a white clay that provides plasticity and strength. Fused at great heat,

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