Tingziqiao (Chine) :Excavation of Warring-Stats Period Kilns


Excavation of Warring-Stats Period Kilns in Tingziqiao site, Deqing

Chinese Archaeology 

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The Tingziqiao亭子桥 kiln site is located on a mountain slop to the north Dongshan东山, a village of the Longsheng龙胜 Village Group in the Economic Development Zone of the Deqing德清 County, Zhejiang 浙江Province. The site, which is 1500 sq m in aree, was a factory for proto-porcelain manufacture in the Warring-States period. The Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Archaeology, with the help of Deqing County Museum, had conducted a salvage excavation at the site from September 2007 to April 2008, during which 7 kilns had been unearthed within the 720 sq m exposed together with a large quantity of proto-porcelain vessels and kiln furniture.  

The 7 kilns evenly distribute on the slop of a small hill. They are typical Southern China style long “dragon-kilns” and all had been repaired fro several times during their use period. The best preserved kiln Y2 is 8.7 m in length. Its furnace bed is 3.32 m wide at the front part and 3.54 m wide at the back part. Its burning room is rectangular in shape. This is the most complete Warring-States period dragon-kiln ever found and is significant for the researches on the structure and construction of dragon-kilns in that time.

CIV  108 - 208 :   Civilisations de la Chine antique / Ancient China : Origins to Empire

Artifacts found at the site demonstrate that it had the location for the manufacture of high-grade proto-porcelain imitations of bronze ritual and musical objects. Besides some every-day use vessels, a large amount of the proto-porcelain objects which are totally several tons in weight are different kinds of ritual objects and musical instruments. Ritual objects include basin-shaped ding鼎 tripods, yan甗-shaped ding tripods, lids of ding tripods, dou豆stemmed-plates, jian鉴-basin tripods, flat-bottom plates, plate tripods, ring-foot plates, flat-bottom basins, handled hu壶-vessels, handled he 盉vessels,  long-neck vases, zun尊vessels, pot tripods, bu瓿vessels, hu 壶tripods, bo钵bowls, yi 匜vessels and zhen镇 objects. Musical instruments include yongzhong 甬钟bells, chunyu錞于bells, goudiao句鑃bells, drum seats and fou 缶tripods. This is the first kiln site for making proto-porcelain imitations of bronze ritual and musical objects ever found in China and is especially important in the research history of kilns and the Yue 越culture. The discovery and excavation at the site demonstrate that the large number of proto-porcelain imitations of bronze ritual and musical objects found in the noble burials at Hongshan鸿山 in Wuxi 无锡 might have been made in the Deqing area in northern Zhejiang, where might have been the manufacture center of high-grade proto-porcelain objects.

The proto-porcelains found at the Tingziqiao site are relatively higher in burning temperature with hard body and glazed shinning surface. Their quality is not far from the developed celadon in the later periods. The imitations of bronze ritual and musical objects are especially finely made. They are similar with their bronze prototypes not only in size and shape, but also in surface designs such as the yunlei 云雷cloud designs, the S designs, the C designs and the corrugation designs. They are elegant in shape, fine in manufacture techniques and are excellent imitations of the real bronze objects. The making of these large proto-porcelain objects indicates a great progress of porcelain making techniques more than 2000 years ago in the Zhejiang area.

A large amount of supporters in the shape of the trump, cylinder, plate and ring had been found in the kilns at Tingziqiao. In other words, almost all the supporter types found in the Han period kilns had appeared in the Warring States period. Obviously, different types of supporters had been widely used at Tingziqao to improve the quality of proto-porcelain products. Before the discoveries at Tingziqao, the earliest supporters were those found in the kilns of the Eastern Han period which were nearly 500 years later. Hence the new discoveries will rewrite the history of porcelain making in China.        (Translator: Li Xinwei)