Porcelain: A Contemporary Cultural Touchstone
2012/9/10 14:08:37

Porcelain: A Contemporary Cultural Touchstone
Nancy Selvage, 2012 
Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province has a thousand-year history of porcelain production thanks to abundant raw materials provided by southern China’s unique geological history, centuries of clay and glaze development, large scale imperial patronage, ravenous global demand, and an enormous industry of specialized and skilled clay fabricators, glaze painters, and kiln firers. This small city was the major source of porcelain for the imperial court as well as for the entire world from the thirteenth through the early nineteenth century, greatly impacting cultural exchange, aesthetics, ceramic technology, and daily life globally.
Europe was not able to produce porcelain until 1709, a thousand years later than <?China and after centuries of experiments throughout the Middle East and Europe. These experiments failed to produce porcelain, but they did develop valuable new ceramic technologies.
Within the past generation Jingdezhen is experiencing a renaissance and has a new role to play in the development of world ceramics. Now that contemporary artists are as mobile and multicultural as Jingdezhen’s historic exports, this city’s remarkable concentration of ceramics expertise and creativity has become a mecca for Chinese and international students, artists, and designers. A variety of educational programs and artist residencies and a wealth of skilled labor and studio workshops support the increasing influx. In exchange, the new talent brings ideas and commissions that expand visions and options.
During the reform period of the last few decades, Jingdezhen’s porcelain artists have been in the unique position of being able to participate in the resurrection, preservation, and contemporary developme

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