The Professional Training Pattern of Purple-clay Pottery Art


As a kind of folkart, purple-clay pottery, like many other crafts, was passed down form masters to apprentices in the ancient way. It was taught face to face, and hand to hand. There was no exception to this in modern or ancient times, in China or elsewhere. The apprentice generally had to learn for three to five or six years under the master¡¯s guidance. There was a fixed ceremony for an apprentice to acknowledge an artist as his master, and he had to kneel down before the master. The master-apprentice contract was to be signed by the guarantee. During the apprenticeship, the apprentice was only offered meals, without pay. And the master¡¯s artistic style, creative experience and technical level would inevitably leave impression upon the apprentice¡¯s technique, idea and moral character. Even if a famous artist, the artistic trace and behavioral pattern of his earlier ages could be found in the course of his style-making.

1 The Training Pattern In The History

The earliest purple-clay artist recorded was Gong Chun, originally Wu Yishan¡¯s servant. When he was accompanying his master reading in Jingsha Temple, he secretly learned the old work¡¯s skill and thus began making pottery. So the old monk was considered his master.

Shi Dabing was a consummate craftsman in Ming Dynasty. He had many learners, of which, Li Zhongfan was the most brilliant one. Some of his teapots were actually made by Li Zhongfan. Other disciples were: Xu Youquan, Ou Zhenchun, Chao Wenjing, Chao Wenying, Chen Junqing, Shen Junyong. There was no literal record after that period. So it was difficult to make inferences.

Huang Yuling, the famous artist in Qing Dynasty, was taught by Chao Xiangpu, and Cheng Shouzheng was Chao Youting¡¯s disciple.

2 The Period During The Republic of China

In 1931, ¡°Public Vocational School of Yixing, Jiangsu¡±was established. In it ,they set up the ¡°potter branch¡±, which was renamed ¡°Kiln branch¡± the next year. In 1933, the ¡°kiln branch¡±separated from Yixing vocational school and in dependently founded ¡°Junior Pottery Vocational Scholl of Yixing, Jiangsu¡±, which enrolled students who had higher primary school education or above. Situated in Shushan Bei Chang, it made use of the pottery factory as their workshop. The first president was Wang Shijie, who had graduated from Empire University of Industry, Tokyo, Japan. Wu Yun-geng, Zhu Ke-xin, etc, were invited to be teachers and technicians of the experiment workshop. From then on, the traditional teaching way of ¡°one master, one apprentice¡± was changed. A master may admit many disciples, while a disciple could also learn from different masters.

In 1921, ¡°Applied Pottery Company¡± founded ¡°Potters¡¯ School¡±. Yu Guoliang, Chao Yunru were teachers at that time. Excellent students were: Feng Guiling, Chu Liang, Chen Hanxi, etc.

Wang Shenyi taught Wang Baogeng, Zhu Kexin, Wu Yungeng.

Jiang Zuocheng taught Pei Shiming, Jin Ashou taught Wang Yanchun.

3 After 1949

In 1954 the purple-clay production team was established in Shushan Workshop. Many purple-clay artists were assembled together from other places. Among them were: pottery carving artist, Ren Ganting, model-makers: Zhu Kexin, Gu Jingzhou, Wang Yanchun, Pei Shiming, Wu Yungeng, Jiang Rong, etc.

In 1955

Zhu Kexin admitted Pan Chunfang, Bao Xinyuan, Si Zhipeng, Li Qingxian, Li Bifang, Ni Shunsheng, Cao Wanfen, Wu Qingan;
Gu Jingzhou admitted Li Changhong, Gao Haigeng, Shen Juhua, shan Shufang, Bao Xiuyun;
Wu Yungeng admitted Gao Yongjin, Si Jihua, Xu Xuan and Zhu Fengying,
Wang Xiaolong, Li Tianxing and Li Yuanru as appreatices.

In 1956

Wang Yanchun admitted Gao Honghing, Chen Xiaogeng, Ge Yubing, JiangHongda, Ji Debao, Bao Saifeng, Fang Lipiu;
Wu Yungeng admitted Si Yuqing, He Tingchu, Xu Ciyuan, Fan Hongquan, Wang Yuexian, Xie xuexian, Wu Xinnao;
Yu Honggeng admitted Xu maotang, BaoQijun;
Ren Ganting admitted Xu Xiutang, Xian Qiying, Feng Xiya, chao Xinhe, Wang Pinrong, Zhang Hetang and Zhu Rongjuan as apprentices.

From 1958 to 1959

Zhu Kexin admitted Wangyanxian, Fan Hongquan, Xie Manlun;
Gu Jingzhou accepted Gao Haigeng, Li changhong, Shen Quhua, Zhou Guizheng;
Wang Yanchun admitted He Daohong, Gao Hoonghing;
Wu Yun-geng accepted Lu Yaochen, Xu Ciyuan;
Chen Fuyuan accepted Pan chiping, Zhou Zhunyan, Gu Chaopei as apprentices.