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Ancient kilns excavated in Hebei

A new archaeological site has been discovered in Hebei Province. Experts discovered a porcelain workshop with six kilns and a large area of buried fragments.

Judging from its size and style, the site could date back to before the Sui or Tang Dynasty.

Waking up from a long thousand-year sleep, the porcelain has been unearthed from its burial just beside where it was made. In a scatter of kilns, the edges of these small windows have been burned a dark blue color. It was through the windows that raw wares were sent into the kiln, to set their shape and color. They were then packed on their thousand-mile journey to South Asia and even farther across the globe to Europe. Experts say the multi-window kiln is quite rare.

Wang Huimin, a cultural relics researcher said, "Firewood and raw wares were transported in and out through the windows which face different directions. One person could handle two or three at a time. It was quite convenient."

Among the fragments excavated from beside the kilns, tri-colored pottery has been found. This provides the evidence tracing the kilns to the time around the Sui or Tang Dynasty.

Wang Huimin said, "This piece of a bowl comes from the Sui Dynasty. It's thicker as it gets deeper. The glaze and the shape, as well as the tails, all indicate its age. Experts have long been haunted by the questions of: What was a kiln like before the Sui Dynasty? Were pottery and porcelain made together or separately? This site might provide the answers to these questions. "

The kilns were accidentally discovered by a new construction project at the site. While further study is ongoing, experts say the discovery has great significance for the history of porcelain-making in China.

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