Established in 1956, the Jingdezhen Sculpture Factory is located in an eastern suburb, 6 kilometers away from downtown Jingdezhen. The factory is about 110 thousand square meters and 1300 workers, including a national ceramic art master, 2 Jiangxi Provincial ceramic art master, 36 high standard craftsmen, and over 400 other craftsmen. It is considered to have one of the largest groupings of master craftsman of any sculpture factory. These same craftsmen produce primarily ceramic sculpture, including garden ware and industrial moulds. Most of the works focus on Buddhism, Daoism, historical imagery, ancient poems, animals, birds and flowers. All these expressive works require the use of very advanced technology and skill. Because of its unique location and environment, artists at the PWS are able to create works they might have otherwise not found to be possible. It is the traditions and techniques that can be found in the Sculpture Factory that allow these ideas and works to come to life. Within the Jingdezhen Sculpture factory, which happens to be one of the only ten original national ceramic factories still functioning today, are over one hundred ceramic retail shops. Many shops function by showcasing work and conducting business in the front while studio work is completed in the back. When visiting these shops and studios, one is able to witness firsthand all sorts of techniques including: sculpture, mould making, press molding, casting, glazing, pinching, carving, over glaze painting, and under glaze painting. From the 70-year old craftsman to 17 year-old apprentices, they all working on the Kuangyin, and Buddha.
Simply put, Jingdezhen is one of the most amazing places in China. And if you’re into ceramics, Jingdezhen is arguably one of the most amazing places in the world.
Jingdezhen, the “Porcelain capital of the world”, has been producing ceramics for over one thousand years. Way back in the Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhen Zhong gave a small town named Changnan an imperial order for ceramics. The pieces were all stamped with the name of the emperor’s era name, “Jing de”, and Changnan gradually assumed the name “Jingdezhen”. Once the imperial kilns were established, artisans from the north migrated to Jingdezhen, bringing skills and advanced techniques. Jingdezhen’s porcelain wares soon became famous throughout the world.
Today, Jingdezhen is an interesting mix of old and new. Throughout the city you will find the remains of old ceramics factories, most of which are now officially closed. But the ruins are now populated with small ceramics workshops which produce a wide range of porcelain ware. In fact, on almost every street in Jingdezhen you can find workshops. Out of those that don’t actually make ceramics, many are devoted to supporting the ceramics industry. Local craftspeople make everything required for producing ceramics- brushes, glazes, tools, kilns, carts, decals, and on and on. From slipcast production wares to handmade masterpieces, Jingdezhen is still the number one supplier of porcelain to the world. Aside from porcelain ware, there still remains a minority of producers of folk pottery, many of whom use local stoneware clay bodies and traditional methods of production.