Firing up the next generation

By Deng Zhangyu and Ma Zhenhuan | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-08-29 07:58
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Young potters in the ancient heartlands of ceramic industry are carrying forward the craft of celadon-glazed porcelain production, Deng Zhangyu and Ma Zhenhuan report.

Editor's note: There are 43 items inscribed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage lists that not only bear witness to the past glories of Chinese civilization, but also continue to shine today. China Daily looks at the protection and inheritance of some of these cultural legacies. In this installment, we lift the lid on the history of Chinese pottery, from the millennia-old formulas used to create celadon glazes, to the artisans modernizing the ancient craft today.

On an early August morning, craftsman Zhang Xi drove his car quickly through the twists and turns of a mountain road in Longquan, Zhejiang province, hoping to reach his destination — a century-old kiln — as soon as possible, where hundreds of pieces of pottery that had been given their final celadon glaze were finally ready.

The 51-year-old craftsman has used the old kiln, which is nestled on a mountain near Xitou village, for many years. Every time he removes his creations from the kiln, seeing them in their finished celadon color remains as exciting and nerve jangling as ever.

"It's like opening blind boxes. The same formula of glaze applied to different vases can look totally different on each one," says Zhang.

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