Craftswoman's Bio

Women of China (English) - - CULTURAL HERITAGE |巧手中国 -

Deng Xiping, an inheritor of Jingdezhen color-glazed porcelain, strives to improve her skills. She has been creating porcelain for more than 50 years, during which she has won many prizes. The Chinese Government has presented many of her works to leaders and organizations in other countries during cultural exchanges.

Deng in 1965 landed a job, at the Jingdezhen Ceramics Industrial Research Institute, within a short time after she graduated from the chemistry department of Wuhan University. She learned the porcelain-making skills from the institute's experienced craftspeople during the first year she worked at the institute.

"My teachers told me craftspeople of each kiln have their own secret 'recipe' for producing the porcelain's glaze. They collect specimens of plants and animals, minerals, coral, agate and pearls, all of which are gifts of nature. Then, the craftspeople ground the materials into white or yellow powder to make the glaze … My teachers also taught me how to touch, smell and taste the powder to identify the glaze's raw materials," Deng recalls.

In 1972, she was assigned to Jingdezhen Jianguo Porcelain Plant. Within six months, she established a team to develop and produce color-glazed porcelain.

From 1976-1977, Deng led a team in completing the project of using diesel oil to bake Junhong porcelain. She and her colleagues also developed lead-free Junhong porcelain, so craftspeople would not suffer from lead poisoning while they baked porcelain.

In 1984, Deng was appointed deputy director and chief engineer of the plant. A short time later, she established the color-glazed porcelain research and development department in the plant.

Deng during the past several decades has led her colleagues in innovating the craft-making skills. They have created more than 40 varieties of color-glazed porcelains and reproduced more than 1,000 types of ancient porcelains. Given her achievement in developing the new "recipe" for producing large Langhong porcelains, she in 1985 received the National Science and Technology Progress Award.

Deng received first prize for her creation of rainbow color-glazed porcelain during the 39th Eureka World Invention Fair. The event was held in 1990 in Brussels, capital of Belgium.

Soon after Jingdezhen Jianguo Porcelain Plant was dissolved, in 1995, Deng established a studio to produce porcelains. With the support of Jingdezhen's Municipal Government, she in 2010 established Deng Xiping Ceramics Art Museum and Jingdezhen Academy of Color-glazed Porcelain.

Deng in 2013 established Deng Xiping Ceramics Co., Ltd. (in Jingdezhen), which produces and sells ceramics. The company also provides courses on the craft to residents, who are interested in making ceramics. The 2,400-square-meter ceramics museum, under the company, every year receives more than 10,000 visitors, from different parts of the world

During the APEC (Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation) meetings, held in Beijing in November 2014, a large, lanternshaped Langhong vase, made by Deng, was displayed in the hall where state leaders meet with distinguished guests. Deng had used new technologies to produce the vase.

In recent years, Deng has encouraged young people to learn the skills for making Jingdezhen color-glazed porcelain. "During the past few years, I have introduced the art form while I have participated in lectures, which were intended to help people increase knowledge about art. I hope more people will understand the beauty of the art form," says Deng.

Deng Xiping, who was born in 1942 in Xingguo, a county in East China's Jiangxi Province, is a State-level inheritor of the craft of making Jingdezhen color-glazed porcelain. In 1991, China's State Council named Deng one of the "experts who enjoys the special government allowance." Given her efforts to promote the traditional craft, she has received accolades and special titles, including "Outstanding Professional Technical Talents" and the Award for Promoting the Intangible Cultural Heritage in China.

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