Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oriental Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain Art

Jingdezhen (景德镇) is known as the " Porcelain Capital", or the town where porcelain artists have been producing fine Chinese Porcelain for almost 1700 years. Located in the Jiangxi province of China, it is one of the Chinese places full of history and museums: Ceramic Museum, Ceramic Historical Exhibition Area, Porcelain Street and ancient kilns.  In the mountains surrounding the town are large deposits of porcelain stone and white kaolin (the word kaolin derives from 高陵/高嶺/ the Gaoling / Kao-ling hill located 40 km of Jingdezhen where the pure white clay was first found), which have led to the development of pottery and porcelain producing industry over the years. The convenient water transportation of the products with boats from Chang River to major seaports made more accessible their products on the international markets.

 Jingdezhen Porcelain plates collection: Beauties of the Red Mansions

The ceramic industry in Jingdezhen flourished during the Yuan dynasty (1280-1368) when the official kilns started to use the technique of painting with iron black oxides before glazing. Later, during Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1912) based on the imperial request to make thousands of porcelain pieces for imperial household, were developed many official or private kilns in Jingdezhen area.
Nowadays, on the collectibles and antiques markets, can be purchased a wide variety of Jingdezhen Porcelain Products like vases, sculptures, plates and vessels which are much valued. Even the contemporary products are very expensive because of their high quality and the detailed paintings.  Well known contemporary manufacturers are:  Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain, Imperial Ching-te Chen or Ketsuzan Kiln. Their high quality products are made in limited editions and usually have certificates of authenticity. Artists as  Zhao HuiMin, Zhang Song Mao, Yoshiharo Katoh are painting with dedication porcelain collections with scenes from traditional tales.

One of my "Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain" collection contains plates  painted by Zhao HuiMin with themes inspired by one of the Four Major Classical Novels (四大名著) named  红楼梦 or " Dream of the Red Chamber" or  "A Dream Of Red Mansions".   There are 12 decorative plates made between 1985-1989 with 8.5'' diameter with Chinese notation on the front and the back, registered through the Bradford Exchange. The Bradford Exchange was founded in 1973 by J. Roderick MacArthur in Chicago, Illinois as a computerized trading center for limited-edition collector's plates.

#1 Pao-chai, named also in story: 薛宝钗 or Xue Baochai having the meaning Precious Virtue
Pao-Chai plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#2  Yuan-chun named also in story:  贾元春 or Jia Yuanchun having the meaning First Spring
Yuan-chun plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#3 Hsi-feng named also in story: 王熙凤 or Wang Xifeng having the meaning Splendid Phoenix
Hsi-feng plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#4 Hsi-chun  named also in story: 贾惜春 or Jia Xichun having the meaning Treasuring Spring

Hsi-chun plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain
#5 Miao-yu  named also in story: 妙玉 or Miaoyu having the meaning Wonderful Jade
Miao-yu plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#6 Ying-chun  named also in story: 贾迎春 or Jia Yingchun   having the meaning Welcoming Spring
Ying-chun plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#7 Tai-yu  named also in story: 林黛玉 or Lin Daiyu  having the meaning Blue-black Jade
Tai-yu plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#8 Li Wan  named also in story: 李纨 having the meaning White Silk
Li Wan plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#9 Ko-Ching  named also in story: 秦可卿 or Qin Keqing 

Ko-Ching plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#10 Hsiang-yun  named also in story: 史湘云 or Shi Xiangyun having the meaning Xiang River Clouds

Hsiang-yun plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#11 Tan-Chun  named also in story:贾探春  or Jia Tanchun having the meaning Seeking Spring
Tan-chun plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

#12 Chiao-chieh  named also in story: 贾巧姐 or Jia Qiaojie having the meaning Clever Older Sister
Chiao-chieh plate Imperial Jingdezhen Porcelain

Friday, February 11, 2011


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
IF you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
IF you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:


IF  you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
IF you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
IF you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
IF  you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

IF you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
IF you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

IF you can talk with Crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
IF neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
IF all men count with you, but none too much; 
IF you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

lyrics by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)