Firing up an ancient art

By Cai Hong ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-05-17 08:05:18

Firing up an ancient art

Japanese artist Kyosuke Hayashi's passion for jian zhan pottery has set him on a journey of exploration to create a new type of chinaware. His creations are now in the collections of the Palace Museum in Beijing and the British Museum in London. Photos by Cai Hong/China Daily

Japanese craftsman re-creates a rare style of Song Dynasty porcelain that has been long lost in China. Cai Hong reports in Tokyo.

In 2007, the Japanese ceramic artist Kyosuke Hayashi brought his reproduction of rare chinaware to Beijing for an exhibition. His Chinese counterparts greatly admired the replica but were also a little bit embarrassed as no one in the country could re-create it.

The rare piece Hayashi reproduced is jian zhan, which literally means tea bowls fired in kilns. The craft originated in Southeast China's Fujian province during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

China's ceramic experts commended Hayashi's reproduction for achieving a similar scale of beauty to the jian zhan ware the Song masters achieved.

"It is amazing that the potters 800 years ago had a very good command of the technique," says Hayashi, adding that ceramic-making methods reached their pinnacle in the Song Dynasty.

Hayashi's creations, referred to as yohen tenmoku in Japanese, with yohen literally meaning "changed by the fire/flame", are now in the collections of the Palace Museum in Beijing and the British Museum in London.

Born in 1962 in Toki, central Japan's Gifu prefecture-one of the country's major ceramic producers-Hayashi has won many awards for his pottery and ceramic works in Japan.

The jian zhan have patterns of starburst sparkles embedded in a black glaze. Within each star is a navy blue color of glistening mother-of-pearl-a shiny substance that forms the inside of certain mollusk shells.

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