Rustic Splendors: Kiln Treasures From Shiwan

The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco and Pacific Heritage Museum co-present an exhibition of Shiwan ceramic– Rustic Splendors: Kiln Treasures from August 26 th, 2005 through March 25th, 2006.


As the Center is being remodeled, the Pacific Heritage Museum will be the venue for this exhibition that will feature 141 pieces, on loan from 19 Bay Area collectors, ranging from the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) to present. The Museum is located on the historic site of the original US Branch Mint from 1854 to 1874. In 1984, the building was restored and became the Pacific Heritage Museum where Asian arts have been on display. United Commercial Bank is the owner of the building and also sponsors the various exhibitions at the Museum.

The Shiwan kilns, located in the southern province of Guangdong, have been producing pottery for over 4,000 years. Its name, ‘Stone Bay,’ perfectly describes the rocky terrain that made this region unsuitable for farming and may explain why locals turned to making ceramics for their livelihood. Although it has never received imperial patronage, Shiwan wares have earned recognition beyond their remote provincial place of origin.

Little is known about Shiwan’s early history. Material evidence suggests a humble beginning. Early potters used local coarse sand and inexpensive pottery clay to produce basic utensils. This tradition continues to the present day as evidenced by the high demand for utilitarian Shiwan ware.

In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, while Shiwan potters continued to manufacture their popular everyday articles, they also began to produce outstanding decorative and fine art objects. Situated in close proximity to Guangzhou (Canton) and Foshan, Shiwan benefited from the prosperity and cultural flowering of these two important southern cities. Known as “Lingnan’s City of Art,” Foshan distinguished itself by supporting a great variety of arts and crafts. Guangzhou (Canton) is the southern port city through which goods and merchandise from all over China were assembled for transport to Southeast Asia and other countries. As the Shiwan potters came into contact with the wide variety of ceramics from China’s best pottery and porcelain centers, they were inspired to emulate and exceed these famous northern wares.

Beauty, color, and passion best describe the finest of these Shiwan works. Superb vessels made in an infinite number of creative shapes were decorated with great skill and imagination. Finely modeled figures capture not only the features but also the spirit of the subject with vivid animation. The most magnificent aspect of Shiwan ceramics is the incredible variety and range of their unique glazes and glaze effects.

While previous exhibitions of Shiwan ceramics focused on the popular appeal of the wonderful figurines and the colorful glazes, “Rustic Splendors” reveals the superb qualities that rank the best of Shiwan ceramics equivalent to those from more prestigious Chinese kilns. The rich holdings of Shiwan ceramics in North American collections, especially in California, enabled the organizers of this show to choose exceptional examples without including many art works previously exhibited elsewhere. These140 objects fully illustrate Shiwan creativity in the traditional categories of figures, vessels, animals, and household items. A distinct section devoted to scholarly objects offers a fresh perspective in appreciating Shiwan art. In these selected works, the artists have transcended their humble materials with skill and ingenuity to create magnificent, sometimes imperial quality works that take Shiwan art from the common to the sublime.

The museum hours are: Tue – Sat: 10am – 4pm


陶瓷藝術在中國有源遠流長的歷史, 石灣陶特色鮮明,獨樹一幟。石灣窯座落於中國南方的廣東省,生産陶器已經有四千多年的歷史. 儘管地處偏遠, 其陶製品還是聲名遠播。


這次展覽由舊金山中華文化中心和太平洋傳統博物館聯合主辦。《石灣窯寳》共展出一百四十件來自美國和加拿大收藏家的石灣精品,製作時間從明代(公元 1368-1644)跨越至現代。除了其中的十六件藏品外,都從未做過公開展示。展品包括人物動物和日常用具,還有專區陳列的文房四寶,將給觀衆提供一個全面欣賞和探究石灣陶特色的大好機會。

展期自二零零五年八月二十六日 至二零零六年三月二十五日,展覽地點為太平洋傳統博物館。地址:608 Commercial Street, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Montgomery 街夾 Kearny 街之間)。 觀覽時間:星期二至星期日,上午十點至下午四點。查詢電話:(415 )399-1124。

Book Sale

$100.00 – Gathering of the Early Gods: Shiwan Wares from the Collection of the International Shiwan Ceramics Association (hardcover)

Gathering of the Early Gods

$38.00 – Shiwan Ceramics: Beauty, Color, and Passion (hardcover)

Shiwan Ceramics: Beauty, Color, and Passion

$19.99 – Faces: Character and Wisdom in Shiwan Ceramic Sculpture

Faces: Character and Wisdom in Shiwan Ceramic Sculpture

To purchase books, call 415-986-1822, and leave your name and phone number and we will contact you.

Center Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm

*Additional charges will be added for sales tax and shipping/handling if applicable