Display of a Yue Kilns celadon master's pottery

Ji Xigui is one of China's  leading masters of Yue Kilns craftsmanship, devoting half a century to honing her skills and creating pieces for Chairman Mao.

Ji Xigui, 76, is recognized as a national master of Yue Kilns craftsmanship. The kilns were famous for their range of “jade” celadon pottery from pale to dark green glazes, produced from the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Now, Ji’s noted works are on display at the Wulin Pavilion of the Zhejiang Museum through October 31. Visitors can see celadon’s delicacy, translucent glazes and the master’s craftsmanship.

Ji learned about porcelain when she was a child growing up in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, considered one of China’s centers of porcelain making.

Over her career of 50 years, she even made a set of tableware for Chairman Mao Zedong. She and her colleagues designed a complete set with 73 pieces. Each plate and bowl was made with a lid to retain warmth in case Chairman Mao had to stop eating and deal with national affairs.

The tableware set for Chairman Mao Zedong

In 2013, Ji successfully reproduced this set according to the original design. Now, the pieces are on display in the exhibition.

Last year, the master designed a set of Hangzhou-style tableware for the G20 Summit. Each bowl and plate forms a panorama of the West Lake and the surrounding scenery, complete with well-known landmarks like Three Pools Mirroring the Moon and the Broken Bridge. Vinegar and sauce pots rest on bridge-shaped stands, which echoes the logo of the summit.

The porcelain-maker established Guishan Kiln that incorporates an exhibition hall, a studio and a kiln. As the kiln heats, she notes the temperature, air pressure, color and chemical changes in the clay and glaze, recording changes every 15 minutes, because the firing process is the most difficult and crucial step in making porcelain.

Today, the Zhejiang Province authorities are trying to preserve and promote the art of porcelain, especially celadon. So, Ji is passing down her craftsmanship to apprentices to cultivate inheritors of the millennia-old art.

Date: Through October 31, closed on Mondays 

Address: Zone E, West Lake Culture Square, 581 Zhongshan Rd N.

Admission: Free

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