Gzhel is historical name for few villages located less than 100 miles Eastward of Moscow near historical Kasimov road.
Near this place well known deposit of kaolin (white porcelain clay) located, and Gzhel clay is well known for its whiteness and quality.
It was this deposit which was used by creator of imperial Russian porcelain, Dmitry Vinogradov, to create well known Lomonosov porcelain at XVIII-th century.
Kasimov road got its name due to Kasimov town. Kasimov was established near 1152 by Duke Yuri Dolgorukiy and named Gorodetz - Mesherskiy. At that times town was used as eastern fortress at the borders of young Russia, located at Eastern border, at the river Oka. At 1376 town was completely destroyed during Mongols invasion.
Later, after the disintegration of Mongols empire, it was on border with Kazan khanate. Czar ?“Basil II the dark?” used the town for political purposes and provided it as a gift and residence for khan Kasim, who escaped from golden horde. Son was ?“dissident?” member of Khans dynasty, who, later, took part in many military battles against golden horde on the side of Russia. The town and neighborhood ?– as a result, got the name ?“Kasim kingdom?” ?– khans dynasty kingdom inside Russia, under the rule of Moscow Czar.
For centuries small town was residence of pro-Russian khans, mix of cultures, bridge between east and west. This was road used by duke Dmitry Donskoy in his military campaigns against golden horde. But it was not military road ?– more importantly, it was heavily used for trade, and each military campaign ended with new waves of trade.
So was Kasimov road ?– road from Moscow to East, silk road of the ancient Russia.
Road always was heavily used for trade. Goods was delivered from central Asian countries, through Caspian sea basin, by Volga river, than by Oka river. Than, delivered by Kasimov road to Moscow and westward.
Location, resources and history determined the well known folk art of Gzhel ?– national Gzhel porcelain.
Archeological excavations prove that the craft of pottery has existed in Gzhel since the beginning of the 14th century.
In the second half of the 17th century, Afanasy Grebenshchikov, a merchant, built a manufacture where he made various kinds of majolica earthenware. For his ware, he used the famous white porcelain clay (Gzhel), as well as the experience of potters from Gzhel. Upon returning to their homes, the craftsmen began establishing their own majolica manufactures.
Till nowadays Gzhel items produced in almost any village in the region of Gzhel.
One and a half thousand years ago anonymous Chinese potter from province Kao-Ling got inspiration:
He have alloyed local white clay (named kaolinum) with sand and shpate, and according to the poet it shined like a snow.
It was possible due to already then Chinese had furnaces in which the temperature reached 1500 Celsigrade.
At Russia up to the Peter I all ceramics, switching and porcelain was called "tseninoj", arisen from this Chinese "tsy".
Russians have began to use porcelain since XVI century.
For example, Tsarevitch John Ioannovich had porcelain suleja (a vessel with a narrow throat).
"Tsenina" (porcelain from China) was used by Boris Godunov (1588).
Many researchers believe that tradition to paint porcelain with blue under glazed cobalt paints appeared at Gzhel due to influence from China, influence, penetrated by Kasimov road, where Gzhel region is located till nowadays.