Place: This Ceramics Village In Fujian
Get to know Dehua, a scenic little ceramics village in one of the most culturally diverse provinces in China.
Located at the base of Daiyun Mountain, Dehua county is a scenic village located in Quanzhou city, Fujian Province, where ceramics has, for a long time, been at the centre of its local art, culture and trade. With a third of the population working for over 2000 local ceramics businesses in Dehua today, porcelain is not just a trade culture but also the people's culture.
Spending some time in the ceramics village of Dehua, visitors will likely see unburnt earthenware in cave-like kilns, craftsmen arranging moulds, artists carving into ceramics wares, or workers drinking tea on their breaks. These are scenes of thousand-year livelihoods passed down from the first kilns of Dehua.
Dehua’s ceramic village came about largely because of its bigger geographical surroundings. It was the entire region’s positioning along the Maritime Silk Routes that enabled the porcelain industry of Dehua to flourish. As ships entered and left the port city of Quanzhou, so did a diversity of goods and people. And contributing to these port activities are the many ceramic kilns sites and factories dotted across Dehua, their beginnings from the earliest pottery technology that date back as far as the Neolithic Age.
From Quanzhou’s port, Dehua's distinctive pure and white porcelain pieces were continuously exported to Asia, Africa and Europe. Soon enough, the town was making its reputation overseas as a ceramics capital. Its porcelain wares that travelled the world had earned the name 'blanc de chine', underscoring their delicate ivory texture.
The place characteristics of Dehua is also tinted by Fujian Province’s diverse immigrant history influenced by Maritime trade, its coastal and agricultural settlements, and its protected mountainous landscapes. Surrounded by such dynamic energy, the county of Dehua remains open yet authentic, while largely defined by lush forestry, gentle streams and hilly terrains. Arriving here, visitors enter a rural setting that is a great departure from hectic city living.
Today, despite the inevitability of modern amenities, the kilns of Dehua are still set in a landscape that is seemingly a world apart. Traditional tools and ways of life mingle with modern equipment and electric kilns, gradually adopted to keep up with global production and environmental sustainability. To get a closer look at how a factory in Dehua makes its ceramic wares, read our next story on Craft: Making Luzerne’s Ceramics.
To fully experience Dehua, we recommend taking leisurely nature walks, visiting the many kilns and museums, or participating in outdoor activities.
Recommended: Bamboo Raft Drifting, Daixian Waterfall, Dongshang Ancient Kiln Scenic Spot, beautiful views from The Hideout.