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HOME > CENTRAL TAIWAN > ARTS & LEISURE

COMPASS MAGAZINE > June 2016
 

Exquisitely delicate eggshell porcelain from a Taichung artist

Exquisitely delicate eggshell porcelain from a Taichung artist

Exquisitely delicate eggshell porcelain from a Taichung artist

By Uvia Chang
Translated by Anna Yang

Eggshell china refers to porcelain that literally is as thin as an eggshell, with a smooth and translucent surface. Its weight in your hand is as light as a cicada's wing or piece of silk. Such amazing work is produced right here in Taichung, with Jingde township's eggshell porcelain representing a heritage that has been passed down from the Northern Song dynasty to modern times.

Taichung resident Tsai Ming-ho is a famed eggshell porcelain master who was honored among "100 Famous Taiwanese" in 2013. After several years of painstaking research work into eggshell porcelain, he was able to create the thinnest porcelain in the world, setting a Guinness World Record with porcelain with a thickness of 0.04 millimeter--the same as a strand of hair.

Ho's exquisite work has surprised many fellow professional porcelain makers in Jingde township. The challenging creation process begins with gathering the raw materials, clay molding, repairing, glazing, coloring, and fired under mega-hot temperatures. A total of 40 steps in this process takes four months to complete and the failure rate is very high, necessitating plenty of patience and skill. Clearly, an artist must be willing to accept such challenges to create such artistic beauty.

Eggshell pottery can be appreciated from different angles and its distinguishing characteristics include an eggshell-like lightness and translucent white color. In fact, a spider web can support the weight of a bowl or cup. Rapping a finger against the 100% porcelain will also create a light, clear chiming resonance. Beneath the light, this porcelain translucence is a thing of natural beauty. Moreover, every handmade cup and bowl is individually unique and can be appreciated not only as a piece of art, but also as a container able to endure high temperatures, such as hot tea.

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