Archive for March, 2008

  • Jingdezhen

    Likeness

    An on-glaze painting of Mao Zedong in progress.

  • Jingdezhen

    The carrier

    A specialized cart, banche (板车), with its load of porcelain clay.  The sack tied to the cart’s undercarriage typically contains moving blankets for transporting fragile ware, plastic tarps to protect against rain, and straps for tying down loads.

    Porcelain production in Jingdezhen would immediately halt without the tireless efforts of the carriers who transport materials and ceramics through every stage of the production process.

  • Jingdezhen

    Drying

    Sculptures being dried in the Jingdezhen Sculpture Factory.  In the top photograph, plaster molds used to build the sculptures can be seen lying on the ground.  A single sculpture may require the use of dozens of plaster molds.  The sculpture in the bottom right image has already been sprayed with glaze and is ready for firing.

  • Jingdezhen

    The Kiln Board

    The side of a public kiln in the Sculpture Factory.

    For quick drying, unfired porcelain clay sculptures are placed on top of the kiln while plaster molds are placed on the bottom.

    On the side of the kiln are written various people’s mobile numbers, many of which are advertisements for services.  For instance, a craftsperson named 占 can help you spray glaze (吹釉, literally meaning “blow glaze“).

  • Jingdezhen

    The Brush Maker

    Porcelain making in Jingdezhen is a highly-specialized craft that requires its own tools.  Here, a brush maker goes door-to-door selling brushes in a variety of shapes and sizes, each for a specific function, from painting blue and white qinghua to washing unfired forms before glazing.

  • Jingdezhen

    The bicycle carrier

    One of the many forms of shipment throughout the city of Jingdezhen.  Here, a bicycle carrier is transporting fired vases to an on-glaze enamel painter.

  • Jingdezhen

    Mao

    Mao Zedong enjoying a smoke while queuing in line to be fired at the Sculpture Factory.

    In the foreground are temperature “witness” cones in clay support pads which are placed in the kiln and bend upon reaching a certain temperature.  In the West, ceramicists often fire a kiln using multiple sets of cones of different temperatures as guides (for instance a low temperature cone bending signals the start of reduction atmosphere, while a high temperature cone indicates the approach to target temperature).  While in Jingdezhen, kilns are often fired using only a single high-temperature cone.  The kiln masters (who fire kilns almost every day of their professional lives), rely instead upon sight (the color of the flames), sound, and experience.

  • Jingdezhen

    Waiting

  • Jingdezhen

    The Stamp Maker

    These stamps are used for on-glaze enamel decorations on porcelain sculptures.