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Cizhou Kiln

The main Cizhou kiln, located at Guantaizhen in Handan of North China's Hebei Province (at that time under the Cizhou Administration), was an important kiln in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and a representative of the civil kilns. Cizhou porcelain was a type of ordinary household ware manufactured in the region of Cizhou, hence the ware's name.

Archaeological investigations locate the Cizhou kilns over a large area -- far beyond the confines of Cizhou in the Song Dynasty. Production flourished most in southern Hebei Province and northern and central Henan Province (Central China), which included the areas of Handan, Pengcheng, Cixian, Yuxian, Xiuwu, Hebiji, Lushan, Baofeng, Dengfeng, Mixian, and Tangyin on the Central Plains. Shanxi (North China), Shaanxi (Northwest), and Shandong (East) provinces also produced this porcelain ware.

Cizhou porcelain came in many glaze colors: white, black, yellow, brown, and green as well as a blended glaze.

Cizhou's most outstanding achievement was applying the traditional Chinese art of painting to porcelain, with the painted decoration on white glaze being mostly black or brown, or black on green or yellow glaze. There were also incised, engraved, carved, and embossed designs on white glaze, all showing proficient skills.

Cizhou motifs were fish, aquatic weeds, flowers, birds, galloping deer, frolicking rabbits, dragons, phoenixes, vases with carved designs of flowers on a body with pearl-like dots, acrobats, legends, and poems and essays.

In one example, a headrest portrays a boy fishing. On the white glaze surface is drawn in black a vast river, with the little boy on the bank. The concise, vigorous strokes demonstrate the rich, vivid effect of Song ink paintings.
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