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jingdezhen china report, october 13, 2007, ric swenson

updated sun 14 oct 07


Ric Swenson on fri 12 oct 07

Hello again from JingDeZhen. It has been a busy six weeks since I last wrot=
e. The new fall term has begun for the 14,000 students studying ceramics, a=
rt and liberal arts here at the University. October 18-22 sees two big cera=
mics conferences here in China. Both JingDeZhen and Foshan have concurrent =
exhibitions during the coming week. The China JingDeZhen International Cer=
amics Conference is an annual event since the 2004 celebration of 1,000 yea=
rs of porcelain production in this small city. There will be exhibits of al=
l manner of ceramic wares and products in three venues around the city. I=
have been asked to show my work along with many other potters and ceramics=
from around the world in the Contemporary Ceramics Exhibit. I will show on=
e of my winged vessels...this one has red and gold silk "wings" attached to=
chopsticks...and stands 62 cm tall, fired to cone 13 with an iron rich sem=
i-gloss glaze. (imagine tenmoko red/brown) The body of the piece is thrown =
from the local famous porcelain on an electric potters wheel (which is the =
Chinese knock off of the Shimpo style wheel.) There will be speeches, prese=
ntations and exhibits by manufacturers and potters from all over China and =
all over the world. Some students from our Institute have been chosen to ac=
t as translators and guides for foreign visitors. They are very excited at =
the prospect of using their English skills and meeting people from other la=
nds. During the Oct 1-7 National Holiday, I journeyed to GuiLin, China. A=
bus carried me the 4 hours to NanChang and there I met with the many other=
s who took the train for 12 hours to GuiLin, SW of JingDeZhen. I was the on=
ly foreigner among the several hundred tourists on tour there that week. My=
fellow travelers came from all over China. I like traveling this way. It i=
s much cheaper than going with a group of Americans or Europeans, and I get=
the chance to practice my language skills.=20
We 28 people boarded our bus in GuiLin at 5 AM and proceeded directly to El=
ephant Mountain, one of the highlights of our trip. The sharp peaks of the=
many mountains surrounding GuiLin are even featured on the 20 Yuan currenc=
y everyone here knows about the scenic beauty of the area. The m=
ountains there reminded me of the lower jaw of a crocodile....very sharp te=
eth-like peaks....several hundred meters or more in height. We took a ride =
in a tour boat on the Peach Flower River and I took a LOT of photos. We st=
opped for a few hours to visit a small fishing village alongside the river.=
...where Bill Clinton and his family visited some years ago. There were pi=
ctures of them posted all over the village. The village is very old and som=
e of the architecture was quite wonderful. On our way to LiPu village, we s=
topped at the fabulous caves found inside some of the peaks. Silver Rock Ca=
ve was the most spectacular. Stalagtites and stalagmites hovered hundreds o=
f feet above us. Strange and beautiful shapes of mineral deposits formed ov=
er hundreds of thousands of years. The pathways were easy to transverse and=
the climbing up always paid off with a breathtaking sight. It was a fantas=
tic trip. The food was excellent...including the snake we had for supper on=
e night. I was surprised that for the amount of money I paid for the 5 day=
trip (1,600 RMB) that was all inclusive, the hotels were 4 star hotels. N=
ew and very modern.=20
We were treated to several ethnic minority presentations of dance and singi=
ng their folk songs. Miao People, Tijua and Dong ethnic groups sang and da=
nced for us that last night. There are 56 proud ethnic minorities in China=
in addition to the general population which is 90 % Han people. Then.... =
Back to JDZ by train/bus and a day to prepare for classes Monday. Life here=
is good. I look forward to the Ceramics Conference this coming week. All =
the best, Ric "...then fiery expedition be my wing, ..." Wm. Shakes=
peare, RICHARD III, Act IV Scene III Richard H. ("Ric") Swenson, Teacher, =
Office of International Cooperation and Exchange of Jingdezhen Ceramic Inst=
itute, TaoYang Road, Eastern Suburb, Jingdezhen City.JiangXi Province, P.R.=
of China. Postal code 333001. Mobile/cellular phone :13767818872 +86-0798-=
8499600 (ofc.) +86-0798-8499012 (fax) <>
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