Nixing pottery is all fired up

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A pottery jar for flowers, with Guangxi Zhuang ethnic group motifs. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Moreover, Li's efforts have helped to popularize Nixing pottery culture and given the local pottery industry a shot in the arm.

To date, the number of Nixing pottery plants in Qinzhou has grown from a handful to more than 500, employing over 10,000 locals.

"More than 30 employees from our plant have set up shop themselves," says Xiao Wensheng, head of office of the Guangxi Qinzhou Nixing Pottery Art Co, of which Li is a shareholder.

The company now sells 50,000 to 60,000 Nixing pottery pieces a year and makes 8 million yuan annually.

And more people are warming to the ancient art form. About 200 to 300 people visit the Nixing Pottery Museum at Li's factory every day, according to Xiao.

Visitors are able to study every aspect of the pottery process and how a Nixing piece is made from start to finish. They can even try their hand at making one of their own at the end of a tour.

"For us, the design is the most difficult part, and it all derives from traditional Chinese culture," says Yang Huanbin, who has been working at Li's company since 2008.

He was carving fish out of a surface of giant clay pot that was intended to preserve tea earlier this month.

"We draw cultural elements that can fit the purpose of modern use," the 40-year-old says.

The artists shape Nixing pottery pieces as tall as a two-meter vase and as small as a delicate teacup.

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