Jingdezhen Ceramic History Museum
This museum is located in the Panlong Mountains, outside the city of Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province. Panlong means 'curling dragons,' and the location of the museum is an ancient site for ceramic production in China that used the mountainsides for what are known as dragon kilns. The museum was built in 1980.
The earliest ceramics at Jingdezhen trace their history back more than 1,700 years, but the height of the fame and technology of Jingdezhen kilns came during the reigns of Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong in the Qing dynasty.
In addition to continuing the traditions of earlier successful glazes and techniques, many new forms of ceramic technology were invented here. Some are celebrated overseas, although few foreigners know their source. All of these are on display at the museum. The architecture of the Museum is in Ming and Qing style: buildings include display halls, workshops, glazing areas, stores, residences, a library, administrative areas, and other structures.
The'Qing garden is one group of buildings within the museum area. It lies in a secluded and quiet forested valley. It copies a famous Qing-dynasty structure called the Yuhua Tang, with traditional construction and carving. The decor is simple and elegant, and the building contains some ancient stone horses as well as some of the ceramics described below. What attracts most attention at this Jingdezhen Ceramics History Museum are the exhibits of valuable ancient ceramics and the demonstrations of handicrafts by which these ceramics were originally made.
In the great hall of the Yuhua Tang some of these valuable ceramics are on display. They include recently excavated examples of Ming-dynasty pieces from the reigns of Yongle and Xuande. The glazes are lustrous and soft, the pieces are dated with reign marks and are masterpieces of the art at the time, with tremendous artistic as well as scientific research value.
In neighboring simple and unadorned handicrafts workshops, craftsmen use ancient implements to demonstrate traditional arts. Focusing single mindedly on making beautiful replicas, they demonstrate the entire process of creating ceramics. More than 150 older artisans, together with a younger generation that is carrying on the tradition, can be seen kneading clay, fashioning vessels, applying underglazes. The production process is basically the same as was recorded in Ming and Qing period histories. The workshops are themselves works of art, for they are replicas of the ancient ceramics craftsmen's actual architecture. The entire presentation represents the most complete set of handicrafts systems that has been come down to us from the Qing dynasty.