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Qinzhou Nixing pottery

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Qinzhou Nixing Pottery was originally known as Yue Pottery (together with Jiangsu Yixing Pottery, have been long known as Wu Pottery and Yue Pottery respectively). It was said that Nixing Pottery was rather delicate and famous during the middle of the Qing Dynasty. The native southerners in Guangxi and Guangdong loved to say "Shixing (popular)". Qinzhou potteries at that time were made of clay. "Nixing" meant that Qinzhou clay-made potteries were well received by people at that time. Thus, the word "Nixing" were widely spread among the people.

Nixing Pottery, with the scientific name of purple clay pottery, is mainly made of strictly-selected purplish red cinnabar clay that only exists in Qinzhou. The clay is made by mixing western soft clay with eastern hard clay at the proportion of six to four. Nixing Pottery has a fine, hard and firm texture and clangorous tone. It varies in forms, so the art of decorating usually include carving, engraving and scraping. Artisans carve, engrave and scrape flowers, figures, mountains and rivers on pottery blank, and smooth it with white clay and reddish-brown clay, then fire it under high temperature, and remove the oxide on the surface of the fired pottery and then polish it to form a delicate white pottery with red flowers or a delicate red pottery with white flowers. There is amazing changes in the process of furnace transmutation: sometimes few blanks will faintly turn bronze, mauve, livid, gold and blackish green from iron red. Besides, there are also some changes in such lines as sky stripe and tiger stripe which will be fully showed after polishing. So just as the saying goes, "It is hard to get one treasure from fire"; "There is no two treasures that are totally the same". People call the potteries "Nixing treasures" which have high value of collection.

Unglazed is the great characteristic of Qinzhou Nixing Pottery, of which decoration is made by engraving. Nixing potteries can be polished to shine or bring out the color while other potteries can not use this method. The clay used for Nixing potteries only exists in Qinzhou. In addition, the process for making Nixing potteries is unique and delicate. The potteries vary in forms and are resistant to acid and alkali and against moisture. They are nontoxic (the dissolving-out amount of Lead and Cadmium is zero), so they can be used to make tea or store food which will not be sour after a hot summer night, or used to hold water and arrange flowers which will flourish. They not only are elegant and unique but also have rather high value of practicality and well received by people. Nixing Pottery is only made in Qinzhou City, so it is unique in China.

Nixing potteries mainly consist of eight ceramic products: tea set, stationery, tableware, coffee set, vase, flowerpot, smoked vessel and imitations of antiques, in addition to electric-heating cooker, which have over 600 varieties of designs and colors. They were sold to more than 30 countries, including Japan, America, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Jugoslavia, New Zealand, Sudan and Australia. They were also sold to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, in addition to over 30 provinces, cities and autonomous regions in China.

Up to now, there have been over 130 factories and workshops engaging in the production and business operation of Nixing potteries in Qinzhou City, together with nearly 10000 practitioners. Its output value in 2012 was 520 million yuan. Since Qinzhou City was honored with the Land of China' s Nixing Pottery, it is accelerating the planning and development of its Nixing Pottery industry. Qinzhou started up the Millenary Ancient Pottery City project in December 2012, which focuses on city landscape, culture, tourism and logistics. The project consists of a cultural park of Nixing pottery, museum, master studio, celebrity lane, workshop, integrated service area and supporting facilities. The total planned area is over 2000 mu (a Chinese unit of area equivalent to 667 square meters) and the total investment is 1.16 billion yuan. According to the plan, the output value of Qinzhou Nixing pottery industrial park is expected to exceed 1.5 billion yuan by 2015. A few year later, there will be a creative town of special culture industry in Qinzhou City.

Pottery has a long history of use in China as a basic necessity. Today, it is still common to see Chinese people use pottery for tea kettles and stewing pots. Others collect the pieces as artwork and decorations.

Nixing pottery is unique for several reasons, chief among these being the clay, dug up from the banks of the Qinzhou River by local residents.

After approximately 80 processes, including milling and screening, the clay is formed into perfect shapes, and craftsmen engrave flowers, figures, landscapes or excerpts from Chinese classic literature onto smooth surfaces, then fire them up.

Pottery is simpler and more plainly decorated than porcelain, but Wang Baoxiang, an experienced Nixing pottery artisan who also runs a workshop at the city, noted that without any addition of pigment or layers of glaze, the beauty of Qinzhou's pottery is not inferior to porcelain.

Another key factor in the pottery's unique nature is the use of the Yaobian, a furnace rarely seen in the domestic ceramics industry.

Throughout the firing process, a large group of minerals contained in the clay - iron, zinc, calcium and strontium - will wind up giving the finished work the colors of bronze, purple and gold, or a tiger-line pattern.

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