27 may. 2012

Traditional chinese Xuan paper

UNESCO CULTURAL HERITAGE 
The unique water quality and mild climate of Jing Countyin Anhui Provincein eastern Chinaare two of the key ingredients in the craft of making Xuan paper that thrives there. Handmade from the tough bark of the Tara Wing-Celtis or Blue Sandalwood tree and rice straw, Xuan paper is known for its strong, smooth surface, its ability to absorb water and moisten ink, and fold repeatedly without breaking. It has been widely used in calligraphy, painting and book printing. The traditional process passed down orally over generations and still followed today proceeds strictly by hand through more than a hundred steps such as steeping, washing, fermenting, bleaching, pulping, sunning and cutting – all of which lasts more than two years. The production of the ‘Paper of Ages’ or ‘King of Papers’ is a major part of the economy in Jing County, where the industry directly or indirectly employs one in nine locals and the craft is taught in local schools. True mastery of the entire complicated process is won only by a lifetime of dedicated work. Xuan paper has become synonymous with the region, where a score of artisans still keep the craft alive.
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
© Text UNESCO, Images: Huang Feisong

13 may. 2012

Celadon firing technology

Celadon firing technology, ETHNIKKA blog for human cultural knowledge
UNESCO CULTURAL HERITAGE 
The city of Longquan in the coastal Chinese province of Zhejian is known for its celadon pottery and the traditional firing technology that imparts its distinctive glaze. Compounded from violet-golden clay and a mixture of burnt feldspar, limestone, quartz and plant ash, the glaze is prepared from recipes that have often been handed down for generations by teachers or within families. The glaze is applied to a fired stoneware vessel, which is then fired again in a repeated cycle of six stages of heating and cooling where precise temperatures matter a great deal: either over- or under-firing will spoil the effect. Experienced celadon artists carefully control each stage with a thermometer and by observing the colour of the flame, which reaches temperatures as high as 1310º C. The final product may take either of two styles: ‘elder brother’ celadon has a black finish with a crackle effect, while the ‘younger brother’ variety has a thick, lavender-grey and plum-green finish. With its underlying jade-like green colour, celadon fired by the family-oriented businesses of Longquan is prized as masterwork-quality art that can also serve as household ware. It is a proud symbol of the cultural heritage of the craftspeople, their city and the nation.
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
© Text UNESCO, Images: Longquan Celadon Industry Association


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