Jingdezhen, China's Capital of Porcelain

Jingdezhen, one of China's many ancient cultural cities, has been regarded as China's Porcelain Capital for over a thousand years. "The best porcelain of the world is in China, and China's best is in Jingdezhen," the famous writer Guo Moruo once said.

Situated in the northeastern part of Jiangxi Province, Jingdezhen is in a small basin rich in kaolin (a fine white clay used in the manufacture of porcelain). The area is hemmed in by mountains and covered with ample forests necessary for firewood. With all the natural elements needed located close by, people began to produce ceramics there as early as 1,800 years ago during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). The industry developed greatly during the Ming and Qing dynasties (14th to 19th centuries). As porcelain became a more valuable and sought out commodity, the skills for making it were gradually perfected and and the quality became more refined. Government owned kilns were set up to cater exclusively to the need of the imperial houses.

Press mould forming and trimming made in a pottery workshop The worker is focusing on the hand-painting on the porcelains
Press mould forming and trimming made in a workshop Hand-painting on porcelains

The artists and craftsmen in Jingdezhen were renowned throughout the country for their talent and creativity, from whose hands numerous masterpieces were designed. Over time the porcelain in that area was identified by its own four special features: white as jade, bright as mirror, thin as paper and sound like chime. To make truly fine porcelain pieces requires great talent, patience and skill. Jingdezhen's mastery of this art form has engraved the region a name for itself among China's elite cultural cities.

Tourists can find many interesting sites related to the area's porcelain culture, and as well can learn the process and techniques of porcelain producing or buy gift items in these sites. These include: the ruins of ancient kilns in Hutian, the Porcelain Museum, the ancient Porcelain Mill, and the Institute of Porcelain Research.

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