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Replica "dragon kiln" kindled in ceramic capital

(Xinhua)

13:12, October 20, 2012

NANCHANG, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Ceramists on Friday kindled a replica of an ancient ceramic kiln in the city of Jingdezhen, marking the latest attempt by the Chinese "capital of porcelain" to revive historic porcelain-making techniques.

The "dragon kiln," which gets its name from its dragon-like shape, was used in ancient times to produce greenish-white porcelain, a landmark achievement in China's porcelain-making history.

The replica dragon kiln was built on a hill near Jingdezhen, a city in east China's Jiangxi Province that has a 1,700-year history of

producing porcelain.

The replica is being used to bake nearly 3,000 porcelain items, likely consuming over 15 tonnes of pine wood, according to Zhou Ronglin, director of the Jingdezhen Ceramic Culture Heritage Protection Center.

To ensure that the firing is done in the same style used by ancient ceramists, the kiln's attendants are relying on experience, rather than measurements taken by instruments, to monitor the 36-hour firing process, according to Hu Jiawang, who is responsible for overseeing the furnace's temperature.

Temperatures vary in different parts of the kiln, allowing the creation of multiple types of ceramics, an advantage unmatched by modern kilns.

The porcelainware fired in the replica will be finished and ready for scrutiny by experts by Monday.

The replica is not the first of its kind in Jingdezhen, which in 2009 recreated a 300-year-old wood-fired kiln, the largest of its kind. In 2010 and 2011, the city successfully created replicas of a centuries-old gourd kiln and mantou kiln, respectively.

"By rebuilding and firing ancient kilns, we can better inherit and preserve related techniques," Zhou said.

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