In the afternoon of April 12, on the site of Presenting Hubei Province to the World – Special Event of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Makou Pottery from Huanglong Lake in Hubei Province made an amazing appearance at the tea exhibition area and ushered in its highlights.
“Having gone through the inheritance lasting more than 500 years, Makou Pottery takes roots in the folk and carries the Jing-Chu Civilization.” Promotional video played in a continuous loop on site attracted and stopped many foreign guests to watch. In the picture, the pottery craft reproduced the traditional technological processes of Makou Pottery through clay selection, elutriation, ceramic throwing, finishing, removal of parts other than carved patterns, biscuit-firing, glazing, kiln filling and firing, etc.
“This series of ‘Number One Scholar’s Horse-riding and Parade along the Street’ ceramic cups in my hand describes a lively scene that the Number One Scholar was granted a horse to parade along the street after passing the national civil service examination (under the old Chinese examination system).” At the tea exhibition area, Yu Jing, a tea art specialist from Hubei Tea Group, made tea with cups made from Makou Pottery of Huanglong Lake for the foreign guests. “Perfect integration of Hubei tea and Hubei pottery let the foreign guests to appreciate the Jing-Chu Culture.”
On the site, Yu Jing introduced that Makou Pottery of Huanglong Lake, coming from Hanchuan City, Hubei Province, is made of the red clay peculiar at Huanglong Lake of Ma’an County in Hanchuan City and eel yellow glaze, and fired with a technique identified as Hubei Provincial intangible cultural heritage. In order to protect the local distinctive culture and inherit the intangible cultural heritage, Hubei Huanglong Lake Culture and Tourism Group restored Makou Kiln and Yujilong Kiln, and established Huanglong Lake Makou Pottery Cultural Inheritance Base. Makou Pottery of Huanglong Lake would be served as Hubei gifts and presented to the guests on the site.
As recorded in Hanchuan County Annals, Makou Kiln was originated from the years of Longqing in Ming Dynasty, and at a period of great prosperity, spread were hundreds of kilns here, in which thousands of workers sweated profusely to manufacture and fire ceramics, forming a grand occasion of “the bright working night of miles of kiln factory”. In 1980s, Makou Kiln was pushed out of business with each passing day, and its products were replaced gradually by the plastic products. In 2000, following the close of final kiln-eye – Jiukong Kiln, Makou Pottery, which had been brilliant for hundreds of years, gradually faded away from people’s lives and just became a culture symbol from mouth to mouth. Until 2008, the old site of Makou Kiln was listed as a Hubel provincial culture relic protection site, and then the firing technique of Makou Pottery was selected and identified as an intangible cultural heritage of Hubei Province in 2011. In June 2019, Hubei Huanglong Lake Culture and Tourism Group restored Makou Kiln and Yujilong Kiln at Ma’an County of Hanchuan City and built the Huanglong Lake Makou Pottery Cultural Inheritance Base.
“This is an opportunity to show Makou Pottery of Huanglong Lake to the world.” A related person in charge of Huanglong Lake Makou Pottery Cultural Inheritance Base said that the Base would hold the kiln opening festival on a regular basis to present the pottery art of Makou Kiln and disseminate Makou Pottery culture, so as to drive the integration of Makou Pottery culture into modern society, explore the new approaches of integrative development of traditional art and modern technology, and accomplish the sustainable inheritance and development of intangible cultural heritage.