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Sands of time protect an ancient treasure

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-27 08:23

Exquisite white porcelain from Western Xia unearthed from the Suyukou kiln ruins site in Helan county, Ningxia Hui autonomous region.[Photo/China Daily]

Through analysis of materials, the new findings also echoed the significance of those previously unearthed white porcelain pieces from a royal mausoleum and residences of Western Xia rulers since the 1980s. Archaeologists used to be confused as to where exactly those exquisite artifacts were produced. Now, they have an answer.

"Suyukou should be the guanyao (official porcelain kilns serving the royal family) of Western Xia," Chai says. "It is also the oldest-known ruins of Western Xia ceramic production."

The site also fills a gap of archaeological sites related to refined white porcelains in Northwest China.

"A complex porcelain-making industry was thus unveiled," he says.

On Wednesday, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences also listed the Suyukou site as one of "the six most important new archaeological findings in China in 2022". That annual list is widely seen as one of the country's top honors bestowed upon archaeological projects.

"We could not simply presume that previously discovered white porcelain was made in a royal kiln, just because it was exquisite," Wang Guangyao, a researcher at the Palace Museum in Beijing, explains. "We needed archaeological proof and now we have found it."

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