Zhegou town in Jining develops pottery clay industry
Zhegou town in Sishui county, Jining enjoys a reputation as a "pottery clay town", and is home to 1.3 billion cubic meters and five different colors of pottery clay.
Pottery clay is a kind of non-metallic mineral which is rare in China. It's an important material in the brewing, drilling, and baking of architectural porcelain, home-use pottery and crafts, and the production of paper and auto parts.
Zhegou town is the only source of pottery clay in Shandong province. Its pottery clay is high in quality and large in quantity, featuring a clear structure, appropriate composition, low expansion coefficient, high temperature resistance, and concentrated distribution, and is easy to mine as well.
A pottery clay kiln in Zhegou town, Jining. [Photo/Jining News]
Zhegou town has a 6000-year history of pottery-making. It is one of the oldest pottery-making sites in China. It produced a variety of home-use pottery products which sold well in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220). The pottery industry in Zhegou town saw a golden age in the Tang and Song Dynasties (618-1279), when kilns baking pottery could be seen everywhere, and could produce various pottery products with exquisite workmanship. The inkstone made of pottery clay in Zhegou town was listed as a tribute to be presented to the Royal Court due to its production techniques being improved greatly at this time.
Pottery-making in Zhegou town, Jining. [Photo/Jining News]
At the beginning of reform and opening-up, the demand for large jars surged rapidly, greatly promoting the development of the clay pottery industry in Zhegou town. There were more than 400 kilns in Zhegou town at its peak. Over 60 earthenware products including jars, tanks and pots were displayed at national exhibitions in 2000, selling to more than 110 counties and cities in eight provinces including Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu and Anhui.
The local government in Zhegou town spares no effort in promoting the preservation and development of the traditional craftsmanship, while encourages the pottery industry to cater to modern life, with the end goal of becoming a "pottery clay town" and "pottery city in North China".
Zhegou town set up an innovation award for the preservation of pottery clay culture, employed professors and experts from Jingdezhen, the Porcelain Capital of China in Jiangxi province, and the China Institute of Arts and Crafts to design, research, develop, and produce innovative pottery products.
Currently, there are more than 100 varieties in eight categories, including antique painted pottery, lacquer pottery, landscape pottery, ceramic relief, pottery sculpture, garden landscaping, greatly expanding the pottery market with sound economic and social benefits, and building the brand of Zhegou pottery.
Zhegou town will further promote the building of Pottery Culture Industrial Park integrating pottery enterprises, universities, research institutes and sales centers to upgrade the pottery-making industry in Zhegou town. It will also promote the integration of culture and tourism and build itself into a town featuring creative pottery culture.