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Chinese artist redefines porcelain art to go global

Master of the craft Lai Dequan bridges Eastern tradition with Western aesthetics

By Zhao Ruinan in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-01 07:22
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Lai touches up an original piece at his workshop in Jingdezhen. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

"This requires governments and institutions to figure out a way. The government and non-governmental organizations should work together to set up exchange institutions and mechanisms so that young people can go out more frequently," Lai said.

Ran Xiangfei was a young artist who went abroad in 2016. For the millennial, going global means being modest and embracing change.

In 2016, he spent three months as an artist in Delft, the Netherlands, before returning to Jingdezhen to continue his creative work and operate his ceramic product brand.

"For Chinese ceramic artists and brands to enter Western homes, they need to understand Western aesthetics and habits. Artists cannot just stay at the bottom of a well," Ran said.

"If artists cling to past glories and refuse to accept new things, it's difficult to continue the inheritance, let alone go global," said Ran.

Zhang Jingjing, dean of the International School of Jingdezhen Ceramic University, agreed.

"Traditional ceramic craftsmanship has a rich history and cultural heritage, but inheritors should not just be immersed in tradition. Instead, they should find their innovative path. This is the foundation for the survival and development of ceramic art creation," Zhang said.

Lai, the master for whom Jingdezhen built an individual art museum, said that modern people's aesthetic consciousness and living environment have changed.

"In addition to artistic creation concepts, in the future, we can introduce high-tech techniques and materials from Western countries, as well as new equipment for producing ceramic products," Lai said.

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