Introduction of Exhibition
The ceramics industry in Hunan has a long history and has obtained a unique position in its own right. The ten thousand year old pottery shards unearthed at Yuchanyan in Dao County are among the earliest of their kind ever discovered in China. Hunan began producing celadon porcelain around the mid-Eastern Han Dynasty.
More than 400 kilns chronologically ranging from the Eastern Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty have been discovered in Hunan. Over a time span of nearly two thousand years, the kiln fires were never extinguished. The porcelain wares from Xiangyin Kiln, with their glittering and translucent glaze and vivid sculpture, were highly cherished by government officials. The Tang Dynasty Changsha Kiln which had been laid idle for a long time, witnessed the first prosperity of decorative porcelain in China. The lively and tasteful designs under the glaze embodied the art of folk drawing. The popular poems and vernacular epigrams decorated with the drawings are both an expression of the tastes and interests of the burgeoning townsfolk in a commodity-oriented economic situation and an authentic form of folk literature. After more than one thousand years, the prosperity and popularity of the Tang poems can still be felt. The Liling Kiln of the late Qing Dynasty and early Republican Period took a different road by pioneering in the application of five colors under the glaze. The products made there won international prizes time and again, turning Liling into a porcelain-producing city well known at home and abroad.
The brilliantly colorful ceramic art of Hunan has added a bright vista to ancient ceramics in China. The products from the three kilns on display at this exhibition form only the tip of the iceberg and fail to fully present the whole picture of ancient ceramic production in Hunan. Our intention is to take this opportunity to show the originality of the potters and the charm of Hunan porcelain.