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March
Exquisite ceramics on display at Museum of Tea Ware
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The exhibition, "Pottery and Porcelain: A Journey of Discovery", will run at the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware from tomorrow (March 10) to December 13.

The exhibition features 130 elegant ceramic pieces dating from the Ming dynasty (AD 1368 - 1644) to the 20th century. The pieces include tea ware, items for the scholar's studio, snuff bottles, pillows, miniature ornaments and export ware.

Divided into five categories - quarrying, shaping pots, decorating, kiln firing and export ware - the exhibition will give visitors an opportunity to appreciate quality porcelain and purple clay ware.

China has a long history of pottery making - indeed, it is where porcelain originated. The production of ceramics in China peaked during the Ming and Qing dynasties (AD 1368 - 1911). During that time, the most outstanding potteries were located at Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province and Yixing in Jiangsu province. These two places produced refined porcelain ware and purple clay ware, respectively.

The production of ceramics and kiln-firing techniques progressed significantly in the Hongwu period (AD 1368 - 1398) of the Ming dynasty when Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang founded an imperial kiln at Jingdezhen, attracting experienced and talented potters.

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the manufacture of an abundant variety of refined and lustrously glazed porcelain was accompanied by the application of flamboyant and colourful decorations on the underglaze of blue ware and polychrome ware. Doucai, wucai, fencai and opaque enamels were used.

Porcelain has long been used to make glazed tea ware, as it is visually appealing and does not damage the original colour, flavour and aroma of the tea. Teacups made of pure white porcelain have always been the best choice for showing the colour of this golden brew.

Yixing purple clay tea ware is admired for its subtle forms and elegant designs. Yixing purple clay teapots earned the distinctive praise of scholars and tea drinkers in the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Made from a unique kind of sandy clay indigenous to the region, Yixing teapots are highly absorbent and retain the flavour and temperature of the tea for a long time. A patina will also form on the exterior of the teapot and produce a lustrous surface after prolonged use, and the tea-stained interior will enrich the flavour of the tea infusion, thus producing a stronger taste.

To tie in with the exhibition, two video programmes - "The techniques of making porcelain teapots" and "The techniques of making Yixing teapots" - will show modern pottery techniques. Visitors can also create their own tea ware with the interactive computer game at the education corner.

Located at 10 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong (inside Hong Kong Park), the Museum of Tea Ware is open from 10am to 5pm daily and is closed on Tuesdays. Admission is free.

For more information, visit the Museum of Tea Ware's website at http://hk.art.museum or call 2869 0690.

Ends/Tuesday, March 9, 2004
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