#05 A myth or the future? Should ceramic industry still drive the development of the “City of Ceramics”?
From Song Dynasty, the production of ceramic product has dominated the ceramic industry of Jingdezhen. Back then, the uniqueness of ceramics from Jingdezhen relied mostly on the abundance of Kaolinite and porcelain clay, two of the main raw materials to produce glossy ceramics that could only be found in the rural area of Jingdezhen at that time. Jingdezhen was therefore given the title of “City of Porcelain”. In contemporary context however, the natural resource in Jingdezhen was no longer rare as both Kaolinite and porcelain clay were gradually discovered in other parts of the world. Also, it was until Qing Dynasty that Kaolinite was used up while porcelain clay was at the brink of depletion in Jingdezhen. Currently, most of the ceramic productions in Jingdezhen were made of imported clay. Moreover, the market of ceramic product has shrunken especially after 1990s. As the uniqueness of “City of Porcelain” faded and left with only expired fame, production basis development that has driven the urban structure of Jingdezhen for centuries has reached a dead end.
Jingdezhen has gradually been developing into the “City of Ceramics” without actual production of ceramic products. However, it is important to note that the scope of ceramic industry is beyond production of ceramics. In the new master plan of Jingdezhen, ceramic industry remained as the core of urban development of the city. The proposal suggested the urban planning that facilitate the upgrade of city from production-based development of primary and secondary industry to the high-end tertiary and quaternary industry of ceramics.
The historical city centre of ceramic production would be revitalised and developed as tourist attractions revolving around Yuyao Kiln. Meanwhile, the establishment of Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, Taoxichun Ceramic Creative Park and Jingdezhen New Urban Districts would provide sufficient space for education, research and development, as well as organisation of annual ceramic exposition such as the Jingdezhen Internation Ceramic Fair. With new infrastructure in place, the ultimate goal of the Jingdezhen would be the continuous influx of tourist, investors and Jingpiao to provide important human capital that drive forward the upgraded ceramic industry of Jingdezhen.
Despite the fact that ceramic industry has evolved and changed drastically, it has been the irreplaceable core and non-neglectable part of the development of Jingdezhen throughout its development history and that it is important for Jingdezhen to utilize its unique character to further develop in the future.
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