Ancient Nanfeng Kiln
The Ancient Nanfeng Kiln, where the pottery art of Foshan originated, is located in Shiwan Town, Chancheng District of Foshan City. Being the oldest kiln of China, the history of the kiln can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is amazing that this ancient kiln still operates. Visitors can enjoy an ever fascinating experience to make their own pottery in this fascinating national treasure.
According to historical documents, the city became a ceramics base during the Tang (618-907) and Song Dynasties (960-1279). In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911), the ceramics were highly developed and the pottery of Shiwan Town won a national fame. The 'Dragon Kiln' played a dominant role among the kilns of Shiwan Town. Such a kiln is always built against a hill and winds its way along the slope, resembling a gigantic dragon. Now the Nanfeng Kiln is the most ancient one of the three existing Dragon Kilns.
Although production has never stopped, the antique kiln is well preserved. It is indeed rarely seen in China or the rest of the world, and the kiln is considered as a 'live cultural relic'. The mouth of the ancient Nanfeng Kiln faces south and the giant banyan trees make a pleasant shade at the end of the kiln. In summer, there is always good breeze; therefore, the kiln gets its name 'Nanfeng' which means south wind. It is really a wonder that the over 400-year-old banyan tree can survive in such high temperature and infertile land.
Watching the process of making pottery is rather interesting. When timbers are put into the kiln, the burning kiln looks like a firedrake falling from heaven and the temperature can reach to 1,300℃ (2,372 F). In the Nanfeng Kiln, the traditional pottery making techniques live on. Temperature control is practiced by the skilled workmen according to their experience instead of modern apparatus. It is astonishing that each piece of pottery made is unique even if they come from the kiln at the same time. The instability of temperature of the wood-burning kiln brings in the variety of the products and some of them are rare and precious.
Besides, tourists to the kiln can make pottery by themselves with the assistance of professional workers. You can choose desired types and design distinctive patterns, making it a unique household decoration. If you want to buy some souvenirs, the pottery of Shiwan Town should not be missed.
Here is the Chinese:
Ancient Nanfeng Kiln - 南风古灶
Shiwan Pottery - 石湾陶瓷（石湾公仔）
you can take the 109 bus line from ancestors' temple to the nanfeng kiln.