The term "celadon" for the pottery's pale jade-green glaze was first applied by European connoisseurs of the wares. One theory is that the name first appeared in France in the 17th century and is named after the shepherd Celadon in Honoré d'Urfé's pastoral romance, ''L'Astrée'' , who wore pale green ribbons. Another is that the term is a of the name of Saladin , the Sultan, who in 1171 sent forty pieces of the ceramic to Nur ad-Din, Sultan of Syria. Yet another is the word derives from the Sanskrit ''sila'' and ''dhara'', which mean "stone" and "green" respectively.
Celadon glaze refers to a family of transparent, crackle glazes, produced in a wide variety of colors, generally used on porcelain or white stoneware clay bodies. The popularity and impact of these glazes is such that pottery pieces decorated with celadon glazes can also be known as "celadons."
Celadon glazes can be produced in a variety of colors, including whites, greys, blues and yellows, depending on the thickness of the applied glaze and the type of clay to which it is applied. However, the most famous celadons range in color from a very pale green crackle to deep intense greens, often meant to mimic the green shades of jade. The color is produced by iron oxide in the glaze recipe or clay body. Celadons are usually fired in a kiln. As with most glazes, crazing can occur in the glaze and, if the characteristic is desirable, it is referred to as crackle glaze.
Large quantities of Longquan celadon was exported throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Much has been written on the various qualities of its glazes, the most celebrated being a glaze of a decided blue cast sometimes referred as ''kinuta'' in Japanese. Traditionally in China other tints and textures have had their places and continue to be admired.
Traditional Korean celadons can be considered a development of Chinese celadon with distinctive Korean directions in the ware. The most distinctive are decorated by overlaying glaze on contrasting clay bodies. With inlaid designs, small pieces of colored clay are inlaid in the clay used to produce the ware. Carved or -carved designs require layer of a different colored clay adhered to the base clay of the piece. The layers are then carved away to reveal varying colors. Korean celadonware, usually a pale green-blue in color, developed, flourished, and was refined during the 10th and 11th centuries. Both the in the 13th century and the in the 16th centuries dealt blows to the craft. With the Japanese invasion, many potters were abducted and forcibly relocated to produce porcelain in Japan, which resulted in developing the porcelain and tea industry of Japan.
Since about 1420 the Counts of Katzenelnbogen owned the oldest European import of celadon, exhibited in Kassel in the Landesmuseum
. Japanese celadon originally took its inspiration from Korean wares. However the golden age of the Japanese variety reached its height in the 1800s with the development of Kyoyaki and the celebrated potter Aoki Mokubei . His celadons paid conscious homage to Chinese wares. This was especially so for late Ming period celadons with their bright greens, in a departure from traditional Japanese taste in Chinese celadon which favored a blue glaze known as ''kinuta''.