Masters of the purple clay

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-20 09:33
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Master artisan Gu Jingzhou's former residence. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

A renowned ceramics maker of more recent vintage was Gu Jingzhou (1915-1996), 30 of whose pots and tea sets fetched more than 10 million yuan each in the auction market over the past decade.

Gu was one of seven master artisans in the 1950s recruited by the Yixing authorities to train new generations of purple clay ceramics artisans. Now the seven-six men and a woman-are widely known as the "seven great masters of purple clay".

Today there are 30 master artisans in Yixing who have been granted the title of national master of purple clay art, and more than 100 craftspeople have been recognized as "masters of Jiangsu province".

These craftspeople incarnate the artisanal skills of previous generations, applying contemporary touches to their wares with the help of technology such as digital design and 3D printing.

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