Monday, December 18, 2006

Protected Sites: Site of Celadon Kiln at Longquan

The site of the Longquan Kiln spreads across the Lishui area and its surrounding counties, including Wuyi, Yongjia, Wencheng and Taishun in Zhejiang Province.

The Longquan Kiln is one of the most famous celadon kilns in southern ancient China. Kiln sites are densely distributed in Longquan County (over 300). Sites containing porcelain of better quality are concentrated in Dayao Village, which was regarded as the center of the Longquan kilns. Hence, the kilns of that area are generally known as the Longquan Kilns.

The Longquan Kiln is located in the upper reaches of the Ou River in south Zhejiang Province. The county is abundant in porcelain, clay and pinewood, which was used for baking porcelain.

The Longquan Kiln was implemented in the early Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and reached its peak during late Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). During the Northern Song and Southern Song period, the kiln mainly produced daily commodities, such as plates, bowls and kettles. Such wares adopted high techniques: enchasing flowers supplemented with dots and waves and floating clouds. The glaze used on Longquan wares was thin and of a cyan hue mixed with yellow.

During mid-Southern Song period, stoves, bottles and statues appeared in various patterns. Most of the decorations consisted of carved flowers, and the insides of bowls were adorned with cloud carvings. With its thin, almost translucent glaze, the kiln's technique had its own characteristics. Some of the most famous representatives include the pale, blue-glazed and plum, green-glazed wares that were created during the late Southern Song period. Wares from this period were rich in variety, including the ones imitating jade or bronze wares.

Due to the popularity of large wares, it was during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) that the kiln's technique experienced a great breakthrough. Following the mid-Ming (1368-1644) period, a large number of technicians moved away from the Longquan Kiln due to the thriving porcelain industry around the country, especially with the development of the porcelain capital, Jingdezhen, which triggered the decline of the Longquan Kiln.

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