- The Artistry of Chaozhou Hollow Ceramic Vase
- Master Ye Zhuqing: Pioneer of Chaozhou Hollow Ceramic Vase Arts
- Inherited By Three Generations, A Shared Mission
The Artistry of Chaozhou Hollow Ceramic Vase
The technique of creating Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase, a traditional craft from Chaozhou, Guangdong Province, is one of China's national-level intangible cultural heritages. Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase is characterized by full compositions, vivid colors, distinct layers, smooth lines, lively beauty, and elegant style.
Chaozhou ceramics have a rich history, best encapsulated by the saying, "Where there is porcelain, there is color." Research shows that as far back as the Tang and Song dynasties, Chaozhou was producing ceramics. The Biш̃hào Mountain kiln (Song kiln) ceramics already exhibited techniques like carved patterns, painted designs, molded shapes, and underglaze decoration. The Ming dynasty was a period of blue and white porcelain development. Overglaze enamel painting became popular in the early Qing dynasty. In the late Tongzhi period (1874), the Fengxi ceramic region already had joint ventures, with the Yongli, Heshun, and other families' enamelware workshops engaging in ceramic painting, marking the beginnings of Chaozhou's "Ten Kilns Enamelware." In 1886, the twelfth year of the Guangxu reign during the Qing dynasty, the Fengxi ceramic worker Yao Hua first opened an overglaze enameled porcelain workshop in Fengxi, which is how Chaozhou started producing enameled porcelain.
Master Ye Zhuqing: Pioneer of Chaozhou Hollow Ceramic Vase Arts
Ye Zhuqing is a national-level intangible cultural heritage inheritor of the Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase national heritage project. He is also a ceramic art master who promoted and popularized Chaozhou colored arts.
Ye Zhuqing, the national representative inheritor of Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase firing technique
His works embody natural, lyrical tones, using fine brush-colored forms and delicate, meticulous coloring. His elegant brushwork blends abstract and concrete elements, creating a sense of three-dimensionality through alternations of density and lightness.
Ye Zhuqing's 1978 three-layer Friendship monochrome vase was selected as the national porcelain gift. When presented by Deng Xiaoping to North Korean leader Kim Il-sung for the 30th anniversary of the DPRK, it represented the friendship between the two countries.
Also created in 1978, his Danfeng Chaoyang monochrome flower basket combined superb skills and unique style as a breakthrough in ceramic art. It has been exhibited and praised internationally in places such as Singapore, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong.
Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase represents not only a traditional craft but also a significant connection to the local culture.
Today we are fortunate to learn about his lifelong affinity for Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase from his own account:
"My journey in ceramics began in 1959 when I graduated from the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute, specializing in ceramic art design and Chinese fine brushwork painting. After returning from school, I joined the Fengxi Ceramic Industry Research Institute in Guangdong Province and embarked on a creative design path. At that time, Chaozhou monochrome porcelain had a long history but seemed monotonous and crude, unable to meet the aesthetic needs of society then. So I started a journey of innovation and breakthrough.
In 1961, I innovatively introduced the colored clay underglaze technique, injecting new vitality into Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase. Then in 1962, I invented the gold etching on colored glaze technique, adding more artistic elements to Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase. However, I did not stop there. Seeing the singularity and coarseness of Chaozhou monochrome porcelain unable to keep up with the times, I decided to carry out bold reforms.
Ye Zhuqing instructed his students
So I began using colored clay applique as a decorative technique, attaching exquisite porcelain flowers on vases and creating a series of unique monochrome porcelain shapes. This innovation gave Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase new allure and more vitality. In 1976, I also pioneered the colored glaze gilt technique, making Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase decor even more dazzling."
Inherited By Three Generations, A Shared Mission
Ceramics Master Ye Zhuqing has long been committed to training the technical backbone of Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase, nurturing batches of technical personnel, and making outstanding contributions to the inheritance and development of Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase arts.
What makes Ceramics Master Ye Zhuqing most proud is that his daughter and grandson have inherited his wishes and work together to contribute to the inheritance of Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase craftsmanship.
Among the second-generation inheritors is his daughter Ye Lihong, who also has deep research into Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase techniques and dares to innovate. She invented a patented porcelain slab structure incorporating colored porcelain sculpture, creating even more elegant, minimalist works.
Ceramics Master Ye Zhuqing's third-generation inheritor is his grandson Ye Hao. Influenced by the older generation since childhood, he has been engaged in artistic ceramic design, creation, and intangible cultural heritage inheritance at the Ye Zhuqing Ceramics Culture Research Institute since July 2013. He strictly requires himself in all aspects, avoids distractions and impulsiveness, cherishes the opportunity to learn skills from veteran artists and masters, carefully observes their techniques, especially their adept use of materials, and humbly asks for guidance, constantly improving his cultivation and skills in ceramic design and creation.
Ye Zhuqing taught grandson Ye Hao
The shared mission across the Ye Zhuqing master family generations is: "Chaozhou hollow ceramic vase represents the culture and history of the Chaoshan region, and also my feelings and dedication towards the ceramic craft. I will continue to strive and dedicate my energy to carrying on and further developing this ancient craft, allowing it to continue blossoming gloriously in the river of time."