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Moonlight on an Autumn River: The Chen Guozhen Collection and Donation of Yue Kiln Celadon


Location:Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong)

Dates: 2015-10-21 through 2015-12-15

What we call the "Yue kilns" today is in fact a general term used to describe kilns in eastern Zhejiang province prior to the Song dynasty (960-1279), including those in the Ningbo, Shaoxing, and Taizhou areas where the ancient Yue people lived. The central kilns were located around the Shanglin Lake in present-day Cixi.
  Production at the Yue kilns began in the Shang and Zhou dynasties (1600–221 BCE), initially with the production of proto-celadon. It was in the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220) that true porcelain first began to appear. Porcelain production in these kilns flourished during the Three Kingdoms period (220-265) and the Western Jin dynasty (265–316). Although production dropped between the Eastern Jin (317-420) and the Sui dynasties (581–618), the Tang dynasty (618-907), Five Dynasties (907-960) and early Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) marked a golden age for the Yue Kilns. After the middle years of the Northern Song dynasty, production declined once again.
  It was during the aforementioned golden age that the Yue kilns produced their finest work: mise (secret colour) olive green porcelain ware, commissioned exclusively for imperial use.
  The renowned collector Chen Guozhen was born in Yuyao, Zhejiang province, the centre of the Yue kiln celadon production. His passion and enthusiasm for the local culture has led him, over the past three decades, to collect more than six thousand celadon artefacts from the Yue kilns. In 2014, Mr. Chen hand-picked twenty-two representative items from his collection, covering the time period from the Warring States (475-222 BCE) to the Southern Song (1127-1279), and donated them to the Palace Museum. In appreciation of Mr. Chen’s generosity, the Palace Museum decided to hold an exhibition displaying 204 items from his donations and collection.
  It is the Museum's hope that this exhibition shed light on the long history of celadon from the Yue kilns, the distinctive characteristics and differing tastes of each era, and the rich cultural meanings these artefacts embody.

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