The story appears on

Page C4

November 6, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » Art and Culture

In search of a 'Made in China' china that's really smashing

WHAT'S the dish on China? A major ceramics fair "China Unlimited" opens today at ShanghaiMart. It asks why China these days isn't making world-famous china. Wang Jie is fired up. You'd think that China, the cradle of china, would have world-famous ceramics brands, but it doesn't.

"Made in China" does not beckon buyers of fine china and domestic producers are overshadowed by imported brands of fancy crockery.

The problem isn't technique - China fills many orders for fine china from the West. It's about lack of innovation, promotion and marketing strategy, insiders say.

A four-day ceramics fair opening today aims to promote Chinese china, both as ceramics art (even furniture) and fine tableware.

Visitors can watch demonstrations of china making.

"China Unlimited - Ceramic Art Shanghai" runs through Monday at ShanghaiMart, showcasing nearly 80 participants from China and abroad. International producers include KPM, the German porcelain producer, and Lamborghini.

Visitors won't find any cheap ceramics, like those mass-produced in Jingdezhen (Jiangxi Province), says fair organizer Ge Qiantao, general manager of Spring Art Salon and an artist himself.

Instead, there are tea sets with unique designs, ceramic artworks like sculpture and installation, even furniture made with wood and ceramics.

"This really widens the vision of ceramics," says Ge. "It's a collision of tradition and fashion."

One highlight is a series of sculpture and installation by Wu Yongping, a pioneer in combining ceramics and contemporary art. He is an associate professor at the National Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

He uses ceramic fragments found in Jingdezhen, the cradle of China's china, to conjure up modern images, like an abstract earth-colored kneeling figure and a blurred mountain shape.

Apart from ceramic art pieces, many ceramic tableware brands are featured.

Some industry insiders complain the fair doesn't have a clear image and seems to struggle between pure ceramic art and regular ceramic ware.

"I don't see any thing wrong with the definition of this fair," Ge says. "Based on my experience with many domestic producers, there are many problems in the industry."

For many Chinese people, it's rather a loss of face that China still doesn't have a world-famous ceramics brand of its own.

"That's why it is critical for domestic producers to be here," says Ge. "It offers them exposure and a platform for communication."

Ge isn't just organizing a fair, he is also promoting a "renaissance" in China's ceramics.

"Many producers don't know the market here in Shanghai," he says. "It's almost impossible for them to get into big shopping malls or open a boutique in this cosmopolitan city."

But Ge can help.

He and his team are helping in promotion and working with designers to "refresh their ideas" and identify their target customers.

"It's ambitious, but that's the initiative for organizing this fair. We are doing something meaningful."

"China Unlimited - Ceramic Art Shanghai"

Date: November 6-9, 9am-5pm

Address: 4/F, 99 Xingyi Rd


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend