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The beautiful mountains and rivers as well as the unique resources of china clay within the boundaries of Longquan Zhejiang gave birth to Longquan celadon, a rare treasure and they also created generations of famous celadon craftsmen of wonderful workmanship. Longquan celadon started in the Five Dynasties, reached its summit during the Song and Yuan Dynasties and lasted to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is the longest and largest kiln family in the Chinese celadon history. The produce are divided into big groups,that is , white celadon base and cinnabar celadon base with thick glaze. In the group of the Younger Brother Kiln, (also called Longquan Kiln), glaze includes . soft blue glaze , bean green glaze and plum green glaze and so on , among which ,plum green glaze is the most famous and precious. Celadon from the Younger Brother Kiln was said in ancient books to be sparkling, pure and as perfect as jade.

Celadon with black celadon base and natural glaze crackle is called Elder, Brother Kiln . The celadon mouth appears purple and in the place where base in exposed , it appears black. This is so called “Purple mouth and black foot ”.

Graceful and refined and dignified , it was one of the five famous kilns of the Song Dynasty.

Longquan Kiln history

In the feudalism society, the command from the royal court always means the top power upon the society. For instance, the development of chinaware kiln, such as Longquan kiln which became famous is a typical example. Because of the kilning official presided, high grade kiln and raw material can be grabbed, the free artificers were available, plus the detailed work division, no worry of cost and professional skills resulted in that “bureaucracy ware” always represented the highest level in ceramics industry of that period. Thus, Both making” tribute wares” and establishing a “bureaucracy kiln” led to a rapid growth of Longquan kiln. The 3 times of resplendence of Longquan kiln was tied up with the royal court.
The period between A.D.618-960 and A.D.420-479
As Zhao Kuang yin's(the emperor of Song Dynasty) saying "No one can sleep on my bed", which means he wouldn't allow others to share his territory, is showing his domination power even now. However the governor of Wu and Yue States named Qian Chu wasn't brave to fight, on the contrary he established a peace relationship with Zhong Yuan state's governor, drawing into Zhong Yuan state's orbit by paying tributes including thousands of "Secret color ceramics", gold and jewelry.”Celadon of LongQuan kiln shouldered such a “peaceful” tribute destination in order to obtain an opportunity for its growth. In the volume480 of “History of Song Dynasty” told biographies of an old famous family (Mr.Qian lived in Wu and Yue States)” The third Year of peace, March, tributes for QianChu….Yue wares 5 Thousand pieces, including 150Golden edge ones.” “Song Session Summary” also tells that “The third Year of peace (A.D.987), March, tributes for QianChu….Yue wares 5 Thousand pieces, including 150Golden edge ones.”。"Third Year of peace "( a title of an emperor’s reign)was in A.D.978,the "secret color celadon tribute" for the second empiror of Northern Song were more than 100,000 pieces, we suppose the tribute was not a voluntary payment, and the capacity was so big that YueZhou(an eparchy)kiln couldn't afford it. In this condition, the most modern skills of Yue kiln were introduced into LongQuan kiln,a passel of professional artisans were settled in LongQuan, besides they were supported with fund so the quality of celadon was improving rapidly. JiYu who lived in Song dynast told in his book "Chicken rib" that "in ChuZhou LongQuan county…there are also celadon products, called secret color, it was a kind of trbute for Qian(a family name),this maybe was the origin". The second period of "secret color" made in YueZhou was the surpassing LongQuan celadon products. During the Five Dynasties and Middle of Northern Song Dynasty , LongQuan kiln became as top kiln among the famous kilns .
Those "secret color celadon" which were praised across the long history was the beginning of LongQuan kiln's performance its beauty and miracles.
A.D.995-1279(Late Northern Song to Southern Song Dynast)
Pale blue and light greenish blue were the best choice for celadon glaze colors, so they definitely became as the symbol of LongQuan kiln in its brilliant period, which means the ceramics making skill was improving and more aesthetic charms in LongQuan's works. It seems there's something connected with the emperor of Northern Song Dynast who had a gift for art. A lot of the new style ceramics came down from the Bronzes of ancient, such as the ancient cooking vessel, jade article, Eight Diagrams stove and so on. When people look at those exquisite celadon, they'll marvel at the nobiliary stoneware which bear so many resemblances to the bureaucracy porcelains. Bureaucracy kiln is a kind of monopolization, its porcelains were not allowed to copy. The relationship between LongQuan kiln celadon and the Bureaucracy kiln wares was influenced and influencing, just reflected the democracy of feudalism. Black embryo celadon also appeared at LongQuan's time. Some celadon even had a burned mark at the bottom, and there's nothing can be traced back on such kind of skill in LongQuan's history, especially the unprecedented skill which needs to put the half-done wares totally in the glaze liquid holding by a stick to the bottom. The sudden style-change in those wares was absolutely caused by a skill impact coming from outside, such impact most probably came from the court's intervention. Although there were already two Bureaucracy kilns, the court maybe still not satisfied with it, or other reasons, so skilled workers and placemen were sent to LongQuan to supervise on the "tribute". Now the remains of LongQuan kiln is still keeping the old streets of Northern Song, and the kiln remains of Northern Song Dynasty can be found everywhere, local people are still telling the stories about Northern Song generation by generation. And the high-tech test tells us that the chemical composition of Black embryo, veins celadon bear a lot resemblances to one of the Bureaucracy kilns.
Though we're still looking for the establishment record of the LongQuan Bureaucracy kiln, it's not important any way.
Governor of Yuan Dynasty maybe not able to enjoy the succinct art, but celadon was truly an essential intersperse to the royal life. LongQuan kiln in Yuan Dynasty was still working for court and noble, the appearance of "BaSiBaWen porcelain" was a strong proof. And LongQuan celadon in Yuan Dynasty even had a refreshing style. In fact, Mongolian Governor at that time was not simply nationalized by the Han nationality's civilization, Mongolian cavalry men also brought the heroic characteristic from their motherland.
However everything experiences rise and decline in its lifetime, so was LongQuan kiln. But does it begin to decline in Ming Dynasty? We can not deny that there were also elaborate works at Yuan Dynasty, so if you see through all these celadon, you can find a kind of celadon which has so alike form and spirit, big trays and bowls more than 40cm in diameter……brilliant imagery decorative decorations was a symbol of sumptuous, and the caves lacework permeate perfectly, which was a unprecedented art level. LongQuan kiln's folk celadon was too far behind to catch up with such kind of high level. When looking at the Jindezhen Bureaucracy kiln in the same period, you'll be suddenly enlightened that both of them happening to develop alike designation in sculpt and sculpture which declared its identity as LongQuan kiln celadon. Actually, many ancient books do have the record about LongQuan kiln in Ming Dynasty Further more, for a long period, we've know only a little about the LongQuan kiln celadon during early Ming period, meanwhile, with the limited academic ability, we didn't find the authoritative wares and enough evidence, and the subject about ChuZhou(an eparchy)LongQuan kiln in Ming Dynasty were always ignored naturally or on purpose, as a result, people always think the valuable rare ChuZhou LongQuan Bureaucracy celadon were made in Yuan Dynasty.
ChuZhou(an eparchy)LongQuan kiln in Ming Dynasty maybe was the last miracle in LongQuan kiln's history, however it has been buried for so long.

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