景德镇 Jingdezhen: Chinese Porcelain Crafting Capital for the last 1000 Years
Jingdezhen porcelain has been one of China’s most prized artisan traditions since ancient imperial times. Since 557 AD Jingdezhen has been the center of fine porcelain art, crafting, innovation, and production in China.
In 1267, the legendary Kublai Khan, established a Ceramic Bureau with 80 imperial craftsman. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) official kilns designated for imperial porcelain production were established along with the Imperial Porcelain Bureau in Jingdezhen.
In fact Jingdezhen’s name is connected to its imperial ties. The Song Dynasty Emperor Jing De (who reigned from 1004-1007) so admired the porcelain created in Jingdezhen that he issued an imperial edict to honor the manufacture of porcelain. The town became known as “Jing De Town” (zhen 镇 in Chinese means town) in his honor.
Situated in southern China in Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen is surrounded by lush mountains. The most important hill for Chinese porcelain production is Gaoling Mountain 高龄山 (40 km from Jingdezhen) because it is the source of white Kaolin clay—the essential and distinguishing ingredient of Jingdezhen porcelain.
Kaolin clay’s high fusion temperature and white burning characteristics makes it particularly suitable for the manufacture of porcelain. If you want to get all chemical about it, it is the absence of any iron, alkalies, or alkaline earths in the molecular structure of kaolinite confers upon it these desirable ceramic properties (learn more here).
China’s most skilled porcelain and pottery masters have perfected their craft in Jingdezhen for the last 1000 years and continue to today. Aspiring porcelain artists continue to flock to Jingdezhen to become part of artisan community and study at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, China’s premier center of ceramic higher learning.
Chinese porcelain from Jingdezhen has been treasured and traded all over the world for over 800 years (we will discuss this in more depth in another upcoming blog post). Gradually porcelain from Jingdezhen has come to represent the pinnacle of Chinese craftsmanship, Jingdezhen has become synonymous with Chinese porcelain and Chinese ceramics, and Jingdezhen has a reputation as the porcelain center of the world.
Tranquil Tuesdays has the great fortune to travel regularly to Jingdezhen and work closely with emerging porcelain artists based in Jingdezhen to design and craft our teaware collection. It is so exciting for us to carry on this rich tradition and legacy of fine Chinese porcelain from Jingdezhen with the teaware pieces we offer.
- Explore the stories behind each of Tranquil Tuesdays teas and teaware
- Travel with Tranquil Tuesdays seeking the best teas and teaware in China
- Learn the historical and cultural elements that make Chinese tea and teaware so unique
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