Jingdezhen Porcelain

Jingdezhen Porcelain is the most well-known type of Chinese porcelain, originating from Jingdezhen city, Jiangxi Province in southern China. It is characterized by fine quality, graceful shapes and elaborate patterns, representing the classical ceramic art all around the world. It can be used as tableware like plates and bowls, building materials like tiles, or house decorations like vases and sculptures, etc.

7 Main Types of Jingdezhen Porcelain

1. Ling-lung ware/ Rice-pattern decorated porcelain

Chinese name: 玲珑瓷 líng lóng cí
Ling-lung ware has a history of more than five hundred years and features a piercing technique. Before applying a coating glaze material and burning in the kiln, the craftsman uses a knife to pierce through the clay body to make many tiny holes. The semitransparent holes make the porcelain look very elegant.

2. Blue-white porcelain

Chinese name: 青花瓷 qīng huā cí
Blue-white porcelain is the most well-known type among all the Jingdezhen Porcelains. Its developmental process took shape during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). Craftsman uses cobalt oxide to paint the design on the clay body. After glazing and burning, the elaborate indigo pattern will appear on the white surface. The common patterns include lotus, peony, bamboo, cypress, peacock, dragon, phoenix, and so on.
Blue-white porcelain
Blue-white porcelain
Famille rose porcelain
Famille rose porcelain

3. Famille rose porcelain

Chinese name: 粉彩瓷 fĕn căi cí
Famille rose porcelain is popular for its on-glaze decoration. The outline of the pattern is drawn on the white porcelain first, then filled with color and fired at over a 700℃ (1,300℉) temperature. In this way, the pattern on the porcelain will be clear and soft. Generally, the patterns vary among figures from Chinese history or myth, landscape, animals and symmetrical patterns.

4. Color porcelain

Chinese name: 颜色釉瓷 yán sè yòu cí
Unlike the above types, the main porcelain body is done in color. This is achieved by a skillful change in the amount of trace elements in the glaze material. For example, copper is for red, cobalt for indigo, ferrum for black and plumbum for green. Experienced craftsmen are able to combine different colors, so as to make a gorgeous color porcelain.

5. Thin china

Thin china
Thin china
Chinese name: 薄胎瓷 bó taī cí
Thin china is also called eggshell porcelain. As the name implies, this type of Jingdezhen Porcelain stands out for its ultra-thinness. The clay body needs to be polished hundreds of times, through which the thickness will be reduced gradually. The finished porcelain is translucent and very dainty.

6. Statuary porcelain

Chinese name: 雕塑瓷 diāo sù cí
Statuary porcelain has a history of more than 1,400 years. It can be in the shape of the Buddha, animals, insects, flowers, miniature architectural structures, and so on. Through a combination of graceful shape and gorgeous color, statuary porcelain can be very vivid.

7. Shadowy blue ware

Chinese name: 青花影青瓷 qīng huā yĭng qīng cí
Shadowy blue ware is a relatively new type of Jingdezhen Porcelain designed in 1983. The under-glazed blue-white pattern and on-glazed decoration add radiance to each other, truly unique.

History of Jingdezhen Porcelain for More Than 1,600 Years

From their very earliest beginnings, people in the Jingdezhen area made rudimentary potteries. Before long, they began to make celadons during the Eastern Jin (317-420). In the late Tang Dynasty (618-907), most of the kilns in other regions had been closed because of the frequent wars. However, thanks to the remote location of Jingdezhen, local kilns survived and attracted many skillful craftsmen, and that is how civilian kilns formed. By the end of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), Jingdezhen became famous for its beautiful celadons and white porcelains. And there were nearly three hundred civilian kilns in this area. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the emperor set up royal kilns here and provided sufficient capital, the best craftsmen and superior raw materials, so as to manufacture the best mandarin porcelains. Meanwhile, much detailed division of labor took shape in both civilian and mandarin kilns. The prosperity of Jingdezhen Porcelain reached its summit in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with blue-white porcelain. Besides, great strides had been made in the making process, theme selection and decoration techniques.

How to Make Jingdezhen Porcelain – 5 Basic Steps

72 procedures are needed to make clay into a fine piece of Jingdezhen Porcelain, and the most important five are listed below.
1. Wheel throwing: This procedure is to make the prototype of the porcelain. Basically, the craftsman needs to place a lump of wet clay on a spinning base and mold it into the wanted shape.
Jingdezhen Porcelain
Wheel throwing
Jingdezhen Porcelain
2. Fine trimming: After the rudimentary clay body is completed, various tools, such as knives and files, are needed to rub or polish the clay to ensure an even thickness and a symmetrical shape.
3. Glazing: The glaze material, which is made up of ground talc, quartz and other minerals, will be painted on the surface of the clay body before firing. This procedure will make the final porcelain shiny and solid.
4. Painting: Cobalt oxide is used as an indigo pigment to paint the patterns or write Chinese characters on the clay body.
5. Firing: It is the last procedure to make a porcelain. Usually, the clay body will be placed on the furnace floor and fired at a temperature of 1,270 – 1,300 ℃ (2,320 - 2370℉) for at least 24 hours.

Where is Jingdezhen Porcelain used nowadays?

1. Daily items: Jingdezhen Porcelain has been massively used for making tableware, tea set, coffee set and drinking vessel.
2. Artistic porcelain: This type of Jingdezhen Porcelain is mainly for ornamental use in the shape of bonsai, vase and sculpture.
3. Industrial porcelain: Industrial porcelain is able to withstand high temperature, erosion, abrasion and washout, and thus is of great value in energy, aerospace, automotive, electronics and chemical areas.
4. Architectural porcelain: Architectural porcelain is durable, non-fading, anti-freeze and anti-corrosion. It has been used for wall tiles, floor tiles and ceramic mural.
5. Electronic porcelain: Porcelain can also act as a good insulator or semi-conductor, and this feature has been exploited in household appliance manufacturing and automotive areas.
- Last updated on Mar. 31, 2022 -
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