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Jingdezhen (Ching-te-Chen)

A renowned ceramic center situated in the northeastern part of Jiangxi Province, at the juncture of Jiangxi and Anhui Provinces and bounded on the east by Zhejiang province, China. Active by the 10th century if not earlier. It is usually considered as the greatest pottery center in the world and in China called the "Capital of Porcelain".

Originally Jingdezhen was called "Changnan Town" (South of Chang), as it was mainly situated on the south side of the River Chang. Some have it that the English word "China" has evolved from the pronunciation of this "Changnan". In the Jingde Period of the Song Dynasty, the name of "Changnan Town" was changed into "Jingdezhen"or "Jingde Town". From then on, it became more and more famous for her exquisite porcelains in the Chinese texts described as "being as white as jade, as thin as paper, white bright as glass and as sweet-sounding as the ancient chime stone".

The city is surrounded by famous tourist attractions as Mount Lushan, Mount "Dragon-and-Tiger", Mount Sanqing, Mount Huangshan, Mountain Jiuhua and two great lakes - Lake Poyang and Lake Qiandao (One-Thousand-Island) - at both sides of the famous city. The whole region of Jingdezhen is on the transition belt between the plateau of Lake Poyang and Mountain Huangshan and Mountain Huaiyu. The northeastern and northwestern parts of the region are mountainous and its eastern and southern parts, hilly land and plains. The topographical features slope down from the northeast towards the southwest.

The weather is subtropical. The annual average temperature is around 17 degrees centigrades and the average frost-free period is 285 days. It has abundant rainfall and sunlight. The warm and wet weather is quite appropriate for the growth of crops and plants so that the natural vegetation, especially pine, fir and bamboo, is abundant. Tea is also an important crop in the region.

Of the highest importance for its pottery industry is its great reserves of the raw materials Kaolin and Porcelain Stone for porcelain production, in its mountainous areas. The main river flowing through the Jingdezhen region is the Chang river (Changjiang) which rises in Mountain Dashing in Queen County of Anhui Province. It flows through the whole region from the north to the south and empties into the Yangtze River through Lake Poyang. The three tributaries in the region of Jingdezhen; the East River, the West River and the South River -empties into Changjiang at different reaches. Most of the places through which these three tributaries flow, are were the important sources of raw materials for porcelain production and fuels are found. The water transportation on the Chang river and its tributaries were instrumental for the location to and the successful development of the porcelain industry in Jingdezhen.

In 1369, Hong Wu (1368-1398) who was the founder of the Ming dynasty, ordered the the various kilns already located there to be rebuilt and to be made into the Imperial manufactory of the Ming dynasty, which brought the colored and painted porcelains of the great Ming dynasty to its present fame.

In the succeeding Qing dynasty a veritable renaissance in Chinese porcelains was achieved at Jingdezhen where this great ceramic center reportedly had about three thousand kilns. The many hundreds of private manufactories located there followed the work of the Imperial potteries in a lesser grand scale and also catered to the important export trade to the West through the various East India Companies.

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