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Reinventing China’s Porcelain Capital: From Mass Production to Heritage
February 2, 2017 - 15:15-16:30
Open lecture with Maris Boyd Gillette, Des Lee Professor of Museum and Community History Studies and Director of the Museum Studies program at the University of Missouri – St Louis.
China has long been known for producing porcelain, and its most celebrated wares are from Jingdezhen, the city known to many as China’s “porcelain capital.” Yet while Jingdezhen is renowned for making wares for emperors, export, and domestic consumers, the city’s porcelain industry has fallen behind newer ceramics producers in south China. Central government officials removed from Jingdezhen the title of “China’s Porcelain Capital” in 2004, awarding it to the city of Chaozhou, which produces much of the tableware and sanitary ceramics labeled “made in China” today. Since then, Jingdezhen officials, redevelopers, and entrepreneurs have reinvented the city as China’s capital for ceramics heritage, attracting millions of domestic tourists and thousands of artists each year. In this talk we will examine which heritage locals promote, why, how, and to whose benefit.
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