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Important Discoveries in Jingdezhen
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Archaeologists have discovered two important sites during an excavation of an imperial kiln at Jingdezhen, a city renowned for its porcelain since the Song Dynasty (960-1279) in south China's Jiangxi Province.


The excavation of the imperial kiln lasting from the Ming (1368-1644) to the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties covered an area of 788 square meters.


One of the sites contained relics from the Jiangxi porcelain company in the late Qing Dynasty. Founded in 1902, the company was the first modern enterprise cooperatively run by officials and businessmen at Jingdezhen.


The second site unearthed was a kiln of the early Ming Dynasty.


"This is the largest group of kilns at an imperial site ever discovered in China," said Li Yiping, deputy director of local porcelain and archaeological institute. "It provides valuable evidences for research on porcelain making skills at the imperial kilns in the early Ming Dynasty."


A 10-cm tall red glazed cup with a 16-cm-wide mouth drew the attention of many archaeologists.


"The seal 'made in yongle years', the reign of a Ming emperor, in the center of the cup written in zhuanshu, a Chinese calligraphy style, is the most distinct ever found in the world," said Li.


"Even today's modern techniques cannot create such a vibrant red glaze," Li added.


Imperial kilns were the imperial porcelain workshops of China's royalty. Since the Yuan emperor Kublai Khan established a porcelain bureau named Fuliang in 1278, Jingdezhen had been the location of the imperial kilns of the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties for 632 years until the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.


Covering an area of 50,000 square meters, Jingdezhen boasts the largest imperial porcelain workshops with the longest history and the most exquisite workmanship in China.


So far over 3,000 porcelain treasures have been restored from fragments unearthed from Jingdezhen.


(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2004)

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