Imitation

Craftspeople in Jingdezhen often work from photographs and illustrations.  Here it appears as if a nice large vase was spotted in a Jingdezhen shop and is now being copied in another studio.  Throughout history, Chinese ceramics has been based on an interplay of imitation and innovation.  In modern Jingdezhen imitations are the norm, unfortunately the… Continue reading Imitation

Paper cutting

A “double happiness” paper cutting taped onto a door in the old city center of Jingdezhen.  In these old houses many examples of folk craft, from handmade stools and baskets to adornments such as this one, can still be found.

Hands

A pile of porcelain hands in an abandoned workshop in the Sculpture Factory.  Most of these hands were for likenesses of Mao Zedong and other revolutionary-themed sculptures.

草包瓷

A pile of discarded porcelain seconds outside a workshop in Jingdezhen.  The sign on the door advertises straw packaging for ceramics shipping.

Sculpture Factory

A typical scene in the Jingdezhen Sculpture Factory.  Porcelain figures of this scale and complexity are especially difficult to produce.  In the foreground is a wheeled cart used to transport sculptures between workshops during production. After the subject is modeled in clay, the model is broken apart into pieces from which plaster molds are made… Continue reading Sculpture Factory

Mountains made of shards and bones

A typical ceramics workshop overlooking graves in the mountains surrounding Jingdezhen.  Although some techniques have changed (these jars have all been slip-casted rather than thrown on a wheel), these craftspeople are carrying on a Jingdezhen tradition hundreds of years old.

Porcelain Paradise

Porcelain jars in a typical Jingdezhen workshop.  The juxtaposition of centuries old porcelain-making techniques with modern China often has interesting results.

Glove Factory

Discarded porcelain glove molds produced in Jingdezhen.  Although there is a large population of craftspeople skilled in traditional Chinese porcelain techniques, Jingdezhen has difficulty competing economically with other ceramics centers in China (such as Chaozhou) that have more successfully modernized and automated ceramics production.

Lurpak Butter

One of the old ceramics factories in Jingdezhen.  Once the government started privatization, most of the large state-sponsored factories could no longer survive.  Some factories were completely abandoned while others were parceled out to private craftspeople who started their own smaller workshops.