Dehua or Jingdezhen ceramics?

- min of reading

Porcelaine de Dehua (en haut) porcelaine de Jingdezhen (en bas)

Summary :

For centuries, since the Ming dynasty, the city of Dehua has produced porcelain using the Kaolin clay surrounding this region. Originally, the production of this porcelain was used for export and for private daily newspapers. While the city of Jingdezhen enjoyed and benefited from the favors of the imperial court. This is how Dehua developed a private market, but also an outward-looking market, corresponding in the 18th century to a major export to Europe. Having become famous for its porcelain statues sold everywhere abroad, this production persists to the present day. Nowadays, Dehua can import and export en masse thanks to its well-established factories, especially for useful everyday objects and popular consumption. However, there remain a few workshops intended for high-end artisanal production.
For Jingdezhen, its sources of Kaolin have dried up and must resort to other sources, which has a cost. As a result Jingdezhen is careful not to produce too much and turns rather to the top of the range.
Dehua has a large source of kaolin clay and the best in the country: very malleable it can be modeled in all ways (tower, mold or press). Of great purity, the porcelain paste obtained is very white and extremely shiny.
In terms of paint and enamel.
- Dehua produces printed painted designs rather than hand painted, at medium and low temperatures. Many Dehua factories are turning instead to the automation of painting work, by applying printed patterns to standardize the finished product, and therefore minimize costs. Cooking at low temperatures requires less energy and causes less waste.
- On the other hand, the workshops of Jingdezhen favor artistic pieces painted by hand, often finished by firing at high temperature (+1300°C). This causes a lot of loss during cooking, hence the higher price to maintain this traditional art.
By evaluating the pros and cons, the 2 cities still deserve their rank as the first great porcelains of China today.

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