A small flat celadon vase made for a Yuan tomb, it was put together crudely from two moulded halves. It fitted into the palm of my hand and I was astonished to find that where my thumb sat it matched precisely the thumbprint of the potter who must have held it the same way to seal the seams with one thumb. The personal contact I felt with this potter, who had hands exactly the same size as myself, was breathtaking. I have never forgotten the personal intimacy, transmitted over nearly a thousand years, mediated through a single pot.

Dr. Paul Schofield
Reader in Biomedical Informatics, University of Cambridge