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Ethnographic Museum

Celadon in Focus

Celadon in Focus

Jade-like porcelains and their masters in Longquan, PR of China


Exhibition extended!

24.11.2019 – 7.3.2021


Ever since at least the ninth century, the Chinese province of Zhejiang has been known for its fine celadon porcelain with its wonderful shimmering surfaces in magnificent shades of blue and green. The golden age of Chinese celadon lasted from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries, when it found its way into the imperial collections and was exported worldwide. This craftsmanship then declined, almost completely died out by the end of the nineteenth century, and was not successfully revived until the 1950s in state-owned factories. A first young generation of ceramists, including some females, have now come of age. Many of them were able to establish private workshops thanks to changes to the market economy in the 1990s. Some of these ceramists have successfully aligned themselves, under the seal of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage and within the Chinese cultural heritage system, as nationally acknowledged masters due to their unparalleled celadon glazes. They are all glaze enthusiasts, always in search of the perfect celadon. The exhibition provides social anthro-pological insights into cultural history, technology and knowledge in the celadon metropolis of Longquan. Furthermore, we present the contours of a frame of reference within which this community of ceramists negotiates the valuation of their celadons today.


Celadon in focus. Jade-like porcelains and their masters in Longquan, PR of China

Ethnographic Museum at the University of Zurich, 24.11.2019 – 22.11.2020. Pelikanstrasse 40, CH-8001 Zurich. T +41(0)44 634 90 10.
Publication: Mertens, Anette, with Mareile Flitsch: CELADON IN FOCUS. Jade-like porcelains and their masters in Longquan, PR of China. Stuttgart: arnoldsche ART PUBLISHERS and Ethnographic Museum at the University of Zurich 2019. (English edition planned for 2020)


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