Condition: Excellent

HISTORY, LORE AND LEGEND | Shiwan Pottery Figures | Woo Kam-chiu, Tang, Hao Chiu and Anita Yin Fong Wong

History, lore and legend: Shiwan pottery figures, donated by Mr. Woo Kam-chiu, organized by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and presented by the Urban Council, Hong Kong, 1986. ISBN: 9622150748. This 554 page hardbound book is printed in Chinese and English; with captions also in English, and notes on workmanship for each piece. This book gives historical and biographical background of each personage represented by a figurine, and is written by He Bingzhong. The works are in the collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The 238 objects are photographed in high-quality full color.  Also included are short biographies of Shiwan potters. Noted for its excellent recording, the book is critiqued in the Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts. This copy is in perfect, original, unmarked condition. It is an excellent reference for the private collector, an art department, or a library. It is NO LONGER IN PRINT, with few, if any, copies available for sale. A hardcover slipcase protects this exceptional publication. This is a very heavy book requiring special packing and will be shipped USPS flat rate priority. Dimensions: 8.75” x 11.5”, Weight: 6 lbs.

Additional Information —

The Shiwan province is acknowledged as one of the earliest ceramic manufacturing areas in China. Its pottery has matured from primitive and coarse styles to whimsical, amazing figurative and utilitarian forms of art.

The origins of Shiwan pottery can be traced back to over 5000 years ago, to the end of the Neolithic Period. Many pottery relics from this era have been found at the Hedang archeological site on the Shiwan River. Excavations of kiln sites from the Tang, (618-907), and the Song, (960-1279), dynasties suggest that Shiwan was the predominant place for pottery production in Southern china. The successful production and distribution of Shiwan pottery in the Song Dynasty is largely due to its geographical location, which supported the development of local arts and crafts. The easy transportation and abundance of clay resources in the area led to Shiwan developing a rich ceramics industry.

The techniques used to create Shiwan pottery are primitive, and have barely changed since the Song Dynasty. Dongwan red and white clay, and local sand, are mixed together and molded into the desired shape and configurations. The pieces are then kiln fired. Shiwan pottery features vivid and clear images of everyday life, in which many colored glazes were employed. The most popular colors used are blue, green, yellow, and black. The carved work is typically finely detailed, and requires the artist to be highly skilled. The methods for creating the individual motifs vary, depending on the desired effect.

During the Ming Dynasty, (1368-1644), many designs and unique varieties of Shiwan pottery were created. The production of Shiwan pottery peaked in the Quin Dynasty, (1644-1912).

Footnote: One only needs to study closely the highly-collectible Sumida ware of Japan, to observe the close association it bears to Shiwan ware.

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