CRCAO member - China Team

Bing Zhao

Research Director, CNRS


My research focuses on two sets of Chinese objects: ceramics and enamels, which respectively belong to two opposing technical traditions. The first endogenous and the second exogenous. But both are particularly relevant and complementary to observe the right place of China in the processes of long-distance exchanges in two different space-time of the world-history (China-West Indian Ocean or China-Europe). Concretely, what interests me more particularly is the study of the phenomena of convergence observable from these sets of objects, with in-depth studies at the local level.

My research can be organized according to five thematic axes.  The first one concerns the craft of ceramics in Southern China studied as a total social fact. The second consists of ethno-archaeological surveys conducted in the provinces of Jiangxi and Zhejiang. The third deals with the relationship between power and knowledge, through the study of the imperial patronage of ceramic craftsmanship, through research on an individual, Tang Ying (1686-1756), an administrator of the Imperial House of the Sino-Manchu court. The fourth is devoted to the maritime and global history of Chinese-style ceramics, based on shards from the 9th to 18th centuries found at archaeological sites in the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, Oceania, Southeast Asia and Europe. The fifth relates to the circulation of enamelled objects and their techniques between China and France in the 17th-18th centuries.

These researches converge towards a common goal: to explore new research methods that can contribute to the construction of a new connected history based on the analysis of objects. From my methodological experimentation, I have retained at least four strong notions: 1) objects considered as materials for historical study in their own right; 2) chronography or assemblage considered as a method of relational analysis of the flow of exchange; 3) interdisciplinarity recognized as a necessity to observe the materiality of exchanges; 4) connected spaces considered in themselves as actors.

Research thematics

  • Chinese ceramic craftsmanship as a total social fact (production, duplicate, imitation, restoration, forgery)
  • Ethnoarchaeological surveys in South China: environment and work of potters
  • Imperial patronage of ceramic production: power and knowledge
  • Fragments of maritime and global history (9th-18th centuries): Chinese ceramics discovered in archaeological contexts outside China (Arabian Peninsula, Africa, Oceania, Southeast Asia and Europe)
  • The circulation of enamelled objects and their techniques between France and China (mid-17th - late 18th century): a symmetrical history of long-distance exchanges

External research programmes

  • Coordinator of ANR EnamelFC « Global Enamels: A Symmetrical History of Material and Technological Exchanges Between France and China (mid-17th to end-18th Century) » (January 2020-June 2024)


  • Seminar "Reading and processing of Chinese archives" (CRCAO-CCJ) (since January 2019), co-responsible with Françoise Wang-Toutain (DR, CRCAO), Catherine Jami (DR, CCJ) (CRCAO)
  • Seminar "Science and Knowledge of East Asia in Globalization (16th-20th century)", co-responsible, with Catherine Jami (DR, CCJ) and Frédéric Obringer (CR, CCJ) (CCJ, EHESS, starting at the beginning of the academic year 2020-2021)

Publications (HAL Collection CRCAO)

  • Bing Zhao. Minguo shiqi Longquan qingci wenhua tanjiu 民國時期龍泉青瓷文化探究. Pékin : Zhongguo shudian, pp.141, 2012. ⟨halshs-00744564⟩
  • Jérôme Kerlouegan, Bing Zhao. Les expéditions de Zhenge He ou le rêve chinois d’un empire maritime. Aventuriers des mers VIIe-XVIIe siècle. De Sinbad à Marco Polo Méditéranée-Ocean Indien, Hazan, pp.119-123, 2016. ⟨hal-01688676⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Philippe Colomban. La céramique vietnamienne exhumée sur les sites portuaires en Arabie et en Afrique : quels critères d’identification ?. P. Corey; F. Dalex; A. Gournay; E. Poisson; C. Herbelin; B. Wisniewski. Arts du Vietnam, Nouvelles Approches, Presses universitaires de Rennes, pp.57-66, 2015. ⟨hal-01688677⟩
  • Bing Zhao. La céramique chinoise à Sharma : pour un essai d’étude typo-chronologique et spatiale. Axelle Rougeulle. Sharma. Un entrepôt de commerce médiéval sur la côte du Hadramawt (Yémen, c. 980-1180), Archaeopress, British Foundation for the Study of Arabia Monographs, pp.277-321, 2015. ⟨hal-01688680⟩
  • Bing Zhao. L’occupation des XVIIIe/XIXe siècle. Axelle Rougeulle. Un entrepôt de commerce médiéval sur la côte du Hadramawt (Yémen, c. 980-1180), Archaeopress, British Foundation for the Study of Arabia Monographs, pp.433-444, 2015. ⟨hal-01688678⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Axelle Rougeulle. L’occupation des XIIIe/XIVe siècles. Axelle Rougeulle. Sharma. Un entrepôt de commerce médiéval sur la côte du Hadramawt (Yémen, c. 980-1180), Archaeopress, British Foundation for the Study of Arabia Monographs, pp.427-432, 2015. ⟨hal-01688679⟩
  • Bing Zhao. 巴林國卡拉特巴林遺址出土的十六-十七世紀中國瓷片. Pei-Kai Cheng. Cross the Sea : Chinese Export Ceramics in the 16th and 17th Centuries and the Spread of Material Civilisation, Zhonghua shuju, pp.51-59, 2012. ⟨hal-01688670⟩
  • Philippe Colomban, Gulsu Simsek Franci, Jacques Burlot, Xavier Gallet, Bing Zhao, et al.. Non-Invasive On-Site pXRF Analysis of Coloring Agents, Marks and Enamels of Qing Imperial and Non-Imperial Porcelain. Ceramics, 2023, 6 (1), pp.447-474. ⟨10.3390/ceramics6010026⟩. ⟨hal-03972759⟩
  • Philippe Colomban, Michele Gironda, Divine Vangu, Burcu Kirmizi, Bing Zhao, et al.. The Technology Transfer from Europe to China in the 17th–18th Centuries: Non-Invasive On-Site XRF and Raman Analyses of Chinese Qing Dynasty Enameled Masterpieces Made Using European Ingredients/Recipes. Materials, 2021, 14 (23), pp.7434. ⟨10.3390/ma14237434⟩. ⟨hal-03474700⟩
  • Philippe Colomban, Burcu Kirmizi, Bing Zhao, Jean-Baptiste Clais, Yong Yang, et al.. Non-Invasive On-Site Raman Study of Pigments and Glassy Matrix of 17th-18th Century Painted Enamelled Chinese Metal Wares: Comparison with French Enamelling Technology. Coatings, 2020, 10 (5), pp.471. ⟨10.3390/coatings10050471⟩. ⟨hal-02892157⟩
  • Ariane Pinto, Jesse Groenen, Bing Zhao, Tiequan Zhu, Philippe Sciau. Chromogenic mechanisms in blue-and-white porcelains. Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 2020, 40, pp.6181 - 6187. ⟨10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2020.06.065⟩. ⟨hal-03491479⟩
  • Philippe Colomban, Burcu Kirmizi, Bing Zhao, Jean-Baptiste Clais, Yong Yang, et al.. Investigation of the Pigments and Glassy Matrix of Painted Enamelled Qing Dynasty Chinese Porcelains by Noninvasive On-Site Raman Microspectrometry. Heritage, 2020, 3, pp.915 - 940. ⟨10.3390/heritage3030050⟩. ⟨hal-03085624⟩
  • Ariane Pinto, Philippe Sciau, Tiequan Zhu, Bing Zhao, Jesse Groenen. Raman study of Ming porcelain dark spots: Probing Mn-rich spinels. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 2019, ⟨10.1002/jrs.5568⟩. ⟨hal-02049315⟩
  • Philippe Colomban, Yizheng Zhang, Bing Zhao. Non-invasive Raman analyses of Chinese huafalang and related porcelain wares. Searching for evidence for innovative pigment technologies. Ceramics International, 2017, ⟨10.1016/j.ceramint.2017.06.063⟩. ⟨hal-01540320⟩
  • Stéphane Pradines, Hélène Renel, Didier Veyssier, Bing Zhao. Ironi Be (Dembeni, Mayotte) Rapport de fouille 2015. Nyame Akuma, 2016, 85, pp.44-56. ⟨hal-01688682⟩
  • Bing Zhao. Etude préliminaire des tessons de céramique de style chinois trouvés à Kota Cina (fouilles franco-indonésiennes de 2011 à 2014). Archipel, 2016, 91, pp.27-54. ⟨10.4000/archipel.295⟩. ⟨hal-01688697⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Guangyao Wang, Isabelle Biron, Philippe Colomban, Liliane Hilaire-Pérez. La circulation des techniques de l’émail entre la France et la Chine du XVIIe au XIXe siècle. Le CNRS en Chine, 2016, 21, pp.20-25. ⟨hal-01688681⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Robert Carter, Christian Velde. The Chinese Ceramic Sherds Unearthed at the Julfar al-Nudud Port Site in the Emirate of Ras-al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. Chinese Cultural Relics, 2015, 1/2, pp.144-162. ⟨hal-01688683⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Axelle Rougeulle, Nguyen Quang Liem, Gulsu Simsek, Philippe Colomban, et al.. Toward a fast non-destructive identification of pottery: The sourcing of 14th-16th century Vietnamese and Chinese ceramic shards. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 2015, 16 (2), pp.159-172. ⟨10.1016/j.culher.2014.03.003⟩. ⟨hal-01480759⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Thomas Vernet, Philippe Beaujard. Chinese-style ceramics in East Africa from the 9th to 16th century: A case of changing value and symbols in the multi-partner global trade. Afriques. Débats, méthodes et terrains d'histoire, 2015, 06, ⟨10.4000/afriques.1836⟩. ⟨hal-01688684⟩
  • Bing Zhao. Ancient Objects, New World : Fake Celadon Production in Longquan in the Early 20th Century. Orientations, 2015, 46/8, pp.12-18. ⟨hal-01688673⟩
  • Bing Zhao. Contribution de la céramique chinoise à l’histoire médiévale swahili (IXe-XVIe siècles). CRAI, 2014, 1, pp.353-383. ⟨hal-01688675⟩
  • Bing Zhao. Qianxi Faguo shiba shiji Lapeilusi chuandui yizhi chutu de ZHongguo ciqi. Gugong bowuyuan yuankan, 2014, 171, pp.38-50. ⟨hal-01688668⟩
  • Bing Zhao. 奢華與權力:中世紀的東非海岸與中國瓷器. Meicheng zaijiu 美成在久, 2014, 3 (11), pp.51-61. ⟨hal-01688667⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Robert Carter, Christian Velde. 哈伊馬角酋長國佐兒法•怒杜德港口遺址出土中國瓷片. Wenwu 文物, 2014, 11, pp.33-46. ⟨hal-01688669⟩
  • Bing Zhao. Luxury and Power : The fascination with Chinese Ceramics in Medieval Swahili Material Culture. Orientations, 2013, pp.71-78. ⟨hal-01688672⟩
  • Bing Zhao. La céramique chinoise et de l’Asie du Sud-Est du site de Vohémar à Madagascar - vers une datation plus fine et une approche plus historique. Études océan Indien, 2012, 46-47, pp.91-103. ⟨hal-01688671⟩
  • Bing Zhao. Global Trade and Swahili Cosmopolitan Material Culture: Chinese-Style Ceramic Shards from Sanje ya Kati and Songo Mnara (Kilwa, Tanzania). Journal of World History, 2012, voL. 23 (n° 1), pp.41-86. ⟨halshs-00744541⟩
  • Bing Zhao, Pierre Lombard. La céramique chinoise importée avant 1500 à Qal’at al-Bahreïn : fouilles françaises 1989-2002. TAOCI : revue annuelle de la Société française d'étude de la céramique orientale, 2005, 4, pp.105-116. ⟨halshs-01851064⟩
  • Armand Desbat, Bing Zhao, Céline Brun, Hong Ranet. Ceramics from the West Mebon. 5e Conference On Topics in Khmer Studies (COSTIKS), Dec 2014, Siem Reap, Cambodia. ⟨hal-02044489⟩
  • Bing Zhao. 16 th -17 th centuries Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics from Qal'at al-Bahrain. 16 th -17 th centuries Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics from Qal'at al-Bahrain, May 2011, Hong Kong, China. p. 51-59. ⟨halshs-00744578⟩
  • Philippe Colomban, Burcu Kirmizi, Bing Zhao, Jean-Baptiste Clais, Michele Gironda, et al.. Non-invasive on-site Raman and XRF study of the 17th-18th century painted enamelled Chinese metal wares and porcelains: Comparison with French enamelling technology. 5th International Conference on Innovation in Art Research and Technology (inArt 2022), Jun 2022, Paris, France. ⟨hal-03964497⟩