Ceramic Art Needs Boosted

The central government should help Jingdezhen, a city in east China’s Jiangxi Province with a thousand years of ceramic history behind, to be accepted in World’s Historical and Cultural Heritage List, urged Su Xiaoqin, a NPC deputy and secretary of the municipal Party committee of Jingdezhen.

Su expressed her excitement over the importance Premier Zhu had attached to cultural heritage protection in the government’s 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05). Jingdezhen’s ceramic culture has an important part in the nation’s heritage.

Jingdezhen, a city well-known for Porcelain-making, has enjoyed a big fame through 2,000 years history, viewed “unparalleled” worldwide in craftsmanship and artistry by experts from the United Nations.

Many people from other countries began to know China through porcelain, called “china” in English, which largely came from Changnan (nowaday’s Jingdezhen). The city’s ceramic making has been recorded since the Han Dynasty (BC206-220) in Xinping (later called Changnan, eventually Jingdezhen). Starting in AD 1004 of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), Jingdezhen’s products were exclusively earmarked for royal family use.

Jingdezhen’s chinaware has unique features: white as jade, bright as a mirror, thin as paper, and pleasantly tinkles when gently flipped.

Jingdezhen is a place of time-honored culture and numerous cultural remains. Porcelain from Jingdezhen has enjoyed an international fame over one thousand years. As an important part of Chinese culture, Jingdezhen’s porcelain art should be carried on and further developed.

To achieve this goal, Su said the local government should apply for a World Cultural Heritage listing for the city to attract more support and funds. In addition, a larger museum of porcelain art should be built in China. So far, China has only one small museum of porcelain art established shortly after the founding of People’s Republic of China in 1949. Due to limited floor space, many valuable items, unearthed ones in particular, cannot be properly kept and exhibited. Su disclosed that the city would hold a series of activities to commemorate its millennium history in Oct. 2004.

Su said cultural and natural resources should be better tapped to develop ceramic making with hi-tech and related packing industry.

According to the deputy, the city has started a technical revolution since the 1980s to improve workmanship and to increase product varieties.

Jingdezhen has attracted scholars, tourists, and businessmen alike. Joint ventures have been set up.

For a long-term porcelain development, Jingdezhen has given priority to related education. It has the country’s only university in the field, the Jingdezhen Ceramic University. The city offers courses on porcelain craftsmanship for primary and middle school students to stimulate their creativity and a love of art.

(CIIC by Guo Xiaohong 03/13/2001)