All that glitters is not gold

The manufacture of celadon at the Longquan Kilns was not only a money-spinner but also an early exercise in mass production and globalization, Wang Kaihao reports.

They look like jade, but are made of earth.

For centuries, they set off on long voyages from the mountainous regions of southern Zhejiang province to captivate the world with their greenish glint.

Traveling back in time, over 800 celadon artifacts have been gathered together for an exhibition in Beijing to tell the story behind the Longquan Kilns, situated in today’s Lishui, Zhejiang province. Starting in the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), the kilns continued to operate for 1,600 years up until the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Opening its doors at the Palace Museum on Tuesday, Longquan of the World: Longquan Celadon and Globalization will run through Oct 20. This is the largest display of Longquan celadon held anywhere in the world. The museum, China’s former imperial palace between 1420 and 1911, has set aside two exhibition spaces for this major event: the Hall of Abstinence and the Palace of Great Benevolence.

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