Jingdezhen, China’s Porcelain Capital

Monday, 21 December 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Shanghai Museum - Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0

Shanghai Museum – Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jingdezhen is a prefecture-level city, in northeastern Jiangxi province, with a total population of 1.7 million (2018), bordering Anhui to the north. It is known as the “Porcelain Capital” because it has been producing Chinese ceramics for at least 1,000 years, and for much of that period Jingdezhen porcelain was the most important and finest quality in China. The city has a well-documented history that stretches back over 2,000 years. Jingdezhen is situated in the north-east of Jiangxi and borders on Anhui; the city center area is located in the north-east of the Poyang Lake Plain. Its area is 5,256 km² (2,029 sq mi). The highest point is 1,618 m (5,308 ft), with plains on the southern part having an average altitude of 200 m (660 ft). There are some cities and counties between Jiangxi and Anhui Province around Jingdezhen. To its north, northwest and northeast are Dongzhi, Xiuning and Qimen County of Anhui province. To its south are Wannian County and Yiyang County. To its west is Poyang County. Lastly, to its southeast are Wuyuan County and Dexing City. Jingdezhen’s natural resources include kaolin, coal, manganese, and lime, but it is the kaolin that has made the city famous in China and the world. For over a millennium, its unique kaolin has enabled Jingdezhen to make high-quality porcelain. (The word “Kaolin” came from “Gaoling” or “Kaoling”, a village located in Ehu Town, Fuliang County, Jingdezhen).

Jingdezhen may have produced pottery as early as the sixth century CE, though it is named after the reign name of Emperor Zhenzong, in whose reign it became a major kiln site, around 1004. By the 14th century it had become the largest centre of production of Chinese porcelain, which it has remained, increasing its dominance in subsequent centuries. For several centuries, almost all top quality Chinese porcelain has come from the town. From the Ming period onwards, official kilns in Jingdezhen were controlled by the emperor, making “imperial porcelain” in large quantity for the court and the emperor to give as gifts. Although apparently an unpromising location for potteries, being a remote town in a hilly region, Jingdezhen is close to the best quality deposits of petuntse, or porcelain stone, in China, as well as being surrounded by forests, mostly of pine, providing wood for the kilns. It also has a river leading to river systems flowing north and south, facilitating transport of fragile wares. The imperial kilns were in the centre of the city at Zhushan (Pearl Hill), with many other kilns four kilometres away at Hutian. It has produced a great variety of pottery and porcelain, for the Chinese market and as Chinese export porcelain, but its best-known high quality porcelain wares have been successively Qingbai ware in the Song and Yuan dynasties, blue and white porcelain from the 1330s, and the “famille rose” and other “famille” colours under the Qing dynasty. The town continues to produce cheaper tablewares in great quantity, as well as more expensive decorative pieces. During the Cultural Revolution, Jingdezhen produced a large number of porcelain Mao badges and statues of a seated Mao Zedong. Jingdezhen porcelain has fetched record prices at auctions, with a blue and white porcelain jar produced during the Yuan Dynasty auctioning for $27.7 million in London in 2005, and a porcelain cup produced during the Ming Dynasty auctioning for $36.3 million in 2014.

© panoramio.com - 阿留申/cc-by-sa-3.0 Shanghai Museum - Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0 Foliated dish with underglaze blue design of melons bamboo and grapes, Jingdezhen ware, Yuan, 1271-1368, Shanghai Museum © Wmpearl Jingdezhen blue and white plate, Yuan period, mid 14th century © World Imaging/cc-by-sa-3.0 Yuzhou Porcelain Factory © Zhangzhugang/cc-by-sa-4.0 Yuzhou Porcelain Factory © Zhangzhugang/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Shanghai Museum - Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0
There are some important industrial enterprises in Jingdezhen City, such as Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation; Jingdezhen Ceramics; Jingdezhen Refrigeration Compressor, etc. Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation, a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, is based in Jingdezhen. The firm, established in 1969, mainly sells helicopters to the People’s Liberation Army, but also does business with firms such as Boeing, Sikorsky, and Leonardo. Changhe produces aircraft parts for the Boeing 767-300BCF. Jiangxi Changhe Automobile Co Ltd, commonly known as Changhe, is an automotive firm owned by BAIC Group which is based in the city. The firm is forecast to produce 53,400 vehicles in 2019. Jingdezhen Ceramics Co Ltd is a joint venture with a French company and is most famous of Jingdezhen’s ceramic companies. In February 2002, Jiang Zemin presented a porcelain set produced by the company under its Hongye brand to U.S. President George W. Bush. Jingdezhen Refrigeration Compressor Company is well known in China for its non-Eph refrigeration compressor. It holds a 20% share of its market in China.

Jingdezhen is a major agricultural center in Jiangxi, with extensive rice cultivation within its boundaries. The area is also an important producer of commodity grain, pigs, and cotton. In Fuliang County there are some large-scale tea plantations and processing facilities. The tea of Fuliang County is well known in China. Bai Juyi, a famous poet of Tang Dynasty China, wrote a poem that says “My merchant loved money more than family, he left me to go to Fuliang to buy tea last month”. This suggests that one thousand years ago Fuliang was already well known for its tea. In 1915, Fuliang’s “Fuhong” brand tea won a golden prize in Panama–Pacific International Exposition. Leping City, the “Vegetable Township of South China“, is a major vegetable growing and processing area for Jiangxi Province even for China. Its vegetable output and sales are important to the agricultural economy of Jiangxi Province. In 2007, Leping had 1.7 million hectares under cultivation that produced a total output of 620,000 tons. The Agriculture Ministry of China also designated Leping as a demonstration zone for “pollution-free” vegetable production.

Read more on ChinaDiscovery.com – Jingdezhen, LonelyPlanet.com – Jingdezhen, Jingdezhen porcelain, Wikivoyage Jiangxi province and Wikipedia Jingdezhen (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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