During the early 1980s, enormous quantities of fragments were unearthed at the imperial kiln sites in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. This archaeological discovery stunned the ceramic world: it was the earliest Ming-porcelain manufactured especially for the Chinese emperors. However, it never reached the imperial court in Beijing. 500 years later, in Porcelain for the Forbidden City, these delicately decorated objects finally receive the attention they deserve. In Museum Prinsenhof Delft, they can be seen outside of Asia for the first time.
“It was about ten years ago that I had the chance to prepare and create an exhibition in the Kunning Gong of the Forbidden City, and to demonstrate my work called New Guan Ware.
Supported by a good amount of funding and a team of porcelain craftspeople, my student Chunmao Huang and I took the first footsteps in a journey of embodying the New Guan Ware concept.
In order to define the character of the New Guan Ware, we first had to understand the design of the traditional Guan Ware. For days and nights we immersed ourselves in a literature study of Chinese porcelain, traveled unceasingly between Beijing and Sanbao, and browsed through all material made accessible to the public in the Forbidden City. If the knowledge of the traditional Guan Ware is an ocean, then we managed to cross it.
Such an experience of long-term dedication not only inspired us in shaping the design of the New Guan Ware, but also made us who we are today.
Chunmao Huang is now a renowned designer and creator of dining porcelain which is used exclusively during state banquets. And I have received worldwide attention and recognition from research institutes, museums and collectors due to the work behind the New Guan Ware. The pieces have been exhibited in famous art centers and museums in Canada, Australia, the UK and Ireland. Last year, the Victoria and Albert Museum unveiled a permanent collection of New Guan Ware art pieces to the public, displaying a contemporary appearance of Chinese porcelain.
Today, ten years further since the conception, I am grateful to Simone and Joke for hosting the exhibition of New Guan Ware again in their gallery – Terra Delft. For five years, we have worked together on porcelain art with passion and love, and we have developed profound trust in and respect for each other. I believe that such a partnership generates great energy on both sides in the preparation and realisation of such an exhibition.
In the past ten years I have traveled countless times between Jingdezhen and Delft. And I have made many new friends here as well. Delft has become my second home town. It is with heartfelt pleasure and great satisfaction that I share my work on the New Guan Ware with my friends in Delft.”
The catalogue ‘Jackson Li’s post imperial porcelain’ attending this exhibition is launched in this period.