Fine China, another name for porcelain, is an indicator of the influence that China had in the development and advancement of this school of ceramics. China is well known for its porcelain and the most famous porcelain in China comes from Jingdezhen. Situated in the northeastern part of Jiangxi and northeast of Poyang Lake, Jingdezhen is renowned for its long history of porcelain production and has been acclaimed as “Porcelain Capital of China”.
The city first started manufacturing pottery during the Han Dynasty and during the Jingde reign of the Song Dynasty, the city became the official purveyor of porcelain to the imperial court. All of the wares produced during this period carried an insignia on their base which read “made during the Jingde reign”, which is how the city got its name. With porcelain manufacturing starting here approximately 1,700 years ago and dominate the remaining years of the city’s history, Jingdezhen has preserved an extra-large, complete and complex system of porcelain production. As thin as paper, as white as jade, as bright as a mirror and as sound as a bell – this is the motto of Jingdezhen’s porcelain. Among all the pottery produced in Jingdezhen, the blue and white porcelain is by far the most famous. You will be aware that Jingdezhen is the hometown of Chinese porcelain from the moment you arrive here. Traffic-lights, lampposts, store fronts and even pavements are usually covered in porcelain in this city.
Ancient Kiln and Folk Customs Museum (formerly called Museum of Porcelain History)
Located at Panlonggang on Fengshu Hill in the west city proper of Jingdezhen, it is a garden-like museum with buildings in ancient architectural style. On its premises there are architectures of the Ming and Qing dynasties, halls for displaying porcelain objects from various historical periods, a group of ancient kilns, a long corridor with inscriptions on porcelain tablets, the Heavenly Empress Palace, Porcelain Street and the former residence of a senior official in feudal China.
Here you can not only follow each step of the manufacturing process, but also try a hand at parts of the process and eventually buy the finished porcelain. This museum also contains the largest wood-fired ceramic kiln in the world, as verified by the Guinness book of World Records.
Ancient Street of Sanlümiao
The old street on the western bank of the Chang River in the urban area of Jingdezhen takes you on a walk through the city’s past which gradually changes from Ming to Qing dynasties and eventually culminates at the Old Pier on Chang River. It is mainly composed of two streets from Ming and Qing dynasties respectively: the street of the Ming Dynasty is about 80 meters long and the street of the Qing Dynasty is about 231 meters long.
Ancient Kilns Site in Hutian
The site of these ancient kilns is located in the Nanhe River Valley in the urban area of Jingdezhen. The kilns started production in the Five-Dynasty Period, operated in the following 600 years through the two dynasties of Song and Yuan and stopped production in the middle of the Ming Dynasty. These kilns were in use for the longest time and the largest in scale among all the porcelain kilns in Jingdezhen. The remains of ancient workshops, kilns and broken porcelain objects are of high values for the study of the history of Chinese culture, handicraft techniques, fine arts and urban development.
Ancient Dongbu Street
It was one of the four famous commercial streets in Fuliang County in ancient times. Located at the foot of Gaoling Hill on the bank of the Donghe River, Dongbu Street came into being in the Ming and Qing dynasties as a busy distribution center of the kaolin for porcelain production. The ancient street and dock have been well preserved. The stores lining the street and the stone tablet bearing an imperial decree of the Qing Dynasty for improving the order of the transport market of kaolin testify to the bustling trade of the kaolin at the Dongbu Dock in the old days.
Museum of Porcelain
This is the oldest special exhibition hall of porcelain wares in China. The more than 18,000 rare pieces of porcelain made in Jingdezhen from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) down to the modern times tell the history of continuous porcelain production in Jingdezhen.
The ancient kiln is found at Panlonggang at Fengshu Hill in the west city proper. The kiln itself looks like a workshop popular during the Ming Dynasty, and the surroundings are as pleasant as a garden. It was exclusively used to make porcelain objects for the imperial court during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The base storeroom and firing chamber are rare models of industrial buildings from ancient China.
Longzhu Pavilion (Dragon-Pearl Pavilion)
The pavilion stands on the top of Zhushan Hill in the middle of the downtown area. The imperial court of the Ming and Qing dynasties built imperial kilns on this hill and assigned a court official to supervise the production of porcelain objects for the exclusive use of the royal family. The pavilion on the hill became a symbol of the imperial kilns and now is a landmark of Jingdezhen.
Pengjia Alley (Peng Family Alley)
Jingdezhen had become a metropolis in the Ming and Qing dynasties. At the time during the Republic of China, the city had three dozen guild halls of 18 provinces. Many streets and alleys were named after prominent family names. One of them is Pengjia (Peng Family) Alley. All the houses in this side street were built with leftover bricks for repairing porcelain kilns. So many surplus bricks for kiln maintenance show how many kilns once existed in Jingdezhen.