Yang Du: Why did Fujian blue-and-white porcelain last for the Ming Dynasty?
As a child, the temple of the Sanhe courtyard in Taichung’s hometown wrote “Hongnong Tang” in three characters, while the sign of the family wrote “peace”.Listen to grandmother say, ancestor was because of poverty, brought only a small burden, a pole, because the pole is not balanced, so picked a hometown stone, come to taiwan.Turn the flow away, and finally the foot in Taichung Uri.The stone then became the “ancestor stone” of the family, placed in the ancestral hall.
I’ve written this story in The Hundred Years of Wandering, but I’ve never intended to find a root.In 2015, although under the guidance of friends to go back, but because they did not bring genealogy, can not find.But this time it was to find out the whereabouts of a clark porcelain, and to go again.
Clarke’s Porcelain Pad, Collected at the American Museum of Asian Art
The story begins in 1602, when the Dutch East India Company, which colonized Taiwan, was founded.
In 1602, the Dutch fleet captured a Portuguese ship, the San Iago, near the island of St. Helena, laden with Chinese silk, porcelain and lacquer.The Dutch East India Company was just founded on March 20 that year. The ship was the first prize.
The island of St. Helena (most famous of all, in 1815, more than two hundred years after Napoleon was exiled and died on the island in 1821) was the shipping route from Asia to Europe, a ship full of goods from Portugal that was bound for its return and robbed by the Netherlands.The sale of Dutch porcelain has startled buyers across Europe.
The dutch didn’t know how to call these beautiful china, so they named it “kraakporselein” after the model of the portuguese ship, the clark.
A trading ship developed in medieval Europe from the Atlantic Ocean, the Clarke was raised from both ends, like a two-story tower, with a flat-bottomed center and arched sides, fitted with several cannons and capable of carrying two or three hundred crew and soldiers.This is a kind of ship designed to sail far away and defend against pirates.To be waterproof, the bottom is often coated with black pitch, so the Japanese call it “big black boat.”When it comes to China’s Rongke ships, to fight, directly hit it, with its tall bow, directly will be smaller Rongke boat overturned, “pressure” into the sea floor, strategic advantage.The Portuguese conquered Africa, India and some of the Fragrance Islands in the South Sea by this ship, only to be placed in the hands of the Dutch East Indies Company.
Navigator Columbus’s Clark Sailing _ Santa Maria
The next year (1603), the Dutch East India Company’s fleet captured Portugal’s Santa Catarina in Johor, the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea.It was the most sensational looting case of the seventeenth century.The Santa Catalina carried 100,000 pieces of porcelain weighing more than 50 tons and 1,200 bales of Chinese silk, which sold well in the year when the production of Italian silk was shut down.Buyers from the Nordic countries flock to Amsterdam, where kings ask them to buy whatever the market is.
It was an era without public international law, when European powers came to the southern coast of China to make resupply, the Portuguese who came first to East Asia traded in Malacca, Macau and Japan, the Spaniards established trade colonies in Manila, and the Dutch who came late had no strongholds. They’re looting all over the sea.The great auction of the Dutch East India Company caused a great stir.Total auction revenue was 3.4 million guilders, more than half the subscribed capital of the Dutch East India Company when it was founded.At that time, a Dutch teacher’s annual income was about 240 Dutch Shield.And a crew employed on a ship, the annual salary is only about 120 hydrogen shield.The looting of wealth is a thought-provoking thing to see.
In “Vermeer’s Hat: Looking at the Global Trade of the 17th Century from a Picture,” Canadian Sinologist Bu Zhengmin once described the “shock” of European seeing Chinese porcelain:
“When Chinese porcelain first arrived in Europe, Europeans were surprised to see or get it. To describe it, they just wanted to compare it with crystal. The glazed surface was hard and shiny, the underglaze pattern was clear and bright, and the color was vivid. The finest china is so thin that when looking at the light, you can see the shadow of the hand holding it on the other side.The most European-oriented style is blue and white.Blue and white porcelain is thin white porcelain, with cobalt blue on the surface of painting, and coated with a completely transparent glaze.”
After a big auction in Amsterdam, “Clark porcelain” became famous in Europe.And the Chinese porcelain factory also orders unceasingly, the craft is exquisite, may even according to the order request, draws the European scenery on the blue-and-white porcelain.That’s why china’s blue-and-white porcelain has painted european landscapes and buildings in london’s museums.The export of goods was through the port of Fujian, then China’s only open port, which flowed to Europe and made a lot of silver for Fujian.
On the dock of Yuetang Rating Hall, Haicheng Town, Longhai City, Zhangzhou City, Fujian Province, stands the steles bearing the “Remains of Yuetang”
Zhang Xie in the “Eastern Western Expedition” book, called this is the “Tianzi Nanku.”According to statistics, one-third of the world’s silver was flowing into silver-denominated China, and the moon port was the aorta of this gold flow.Through silk, porcelain and so on, Fujian merchants and Manila’s Spanish frequent trade.The spaniards imported silver from the then american colonies, making the ming dynasty the “silver grave of the world”.
What is unknown in Europe is that this large quantity of porcelain comes from the port of Moon in Fujian, China.A port that has been declared open for thirty-five years.After a long period of sea ban, the Ming Dynasty Longqing first year (1567), because of the folk smuggling trade atmosphere too prosperous, the Ming Dynasty emperor finally accepted the proposal, legally opened the port, sent people to supervise the collection of taxes.
Yuetang, located at the mouth of the Jiulong River in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, belongs to Haicheng County, which is named for its moon-shaped harbor.It is the south bank is the Longhai, and the north bank Haicang Qingjiao village, is” Kaitai King “Yan Sizi’s birthplace.The Jiulong River is the second largest river in Fujian Province after the Minjiang River. The upper reaches are Longyan and the lower reaches are in Zhangzhou.After the Ming Dynasty’s long-standing sea ban, the monthly port for overseas trade, opening a window, no one expected, this small window, in a short time, became the most busy international trade at that time.
In the Portuguese deal,90 percent of the porcelain on board the Sainte Iago and Sant Catalina came from Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, but the porcelain produced in the nearby town of Binh also flourished after Europe caused a stir.
Because Clark porcelain is so famous, then Europe also introduced Zhangzhou porcelain craftsmen, began the production of porcelain.The craftsman also along with the trade ship and spread to Japan, becomes the Japanese porcelain origin.However, in the last years of the Ming Dynasty, because of Zheng Chenggong’s war against Qing Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty not only carried out the sea ban, but also “moved the boundary”, to retreat to the coast for 10 miles, so that Zheng Chenggong could not supply trade.The bustling scene of the Port of the Moon was over.
However, the origin of the fascinating clark porcelain has been a mystery since then, and has been a subject of inquiry in the European and Japanese academic circles.
In 1999, Zhangzhou held the “Chinese Ancient Ceramics Research Association” invited the so-called “father of ancient ceramics in Japan” to deliver a speech.The similarity and inheritance between the pottery unearthed at Zhangzhou Ping ancient kiln site and the bowls, plates and plates collected in Japan are discussed in this paper.China’s export ceramics in the 16th and early 17th centuries, mainly produced in Pinghe Nansheng County, Wuzhai kiln as a representative of Zhangzhou kiln.This said a solution to the international outstanding issues, but also clark porcelain, plain three-color incense box to find the original village.
Investigation of ZHOU Qi-yi in Tai Long Kiln
However, Pinghe County does not produce ceramics.And where did it start?This has to do with Wang Yangming, a great scholar of the Ming Dynasty.
From 1511 onwards, civil strife took place in the border areas of Fujian, Jiangxi and Guangdong, and the scope of civil strife expanded continuously.In 1516, Wang Yangming was appointed governor of Nangan, the capital of the capital.He took on the task of pacifying the chaos, and when he arrived at the place, he learned about the military situation, and analyzed that the local rebels were only the poor people who could not support themselves and fell into the enemy’s position, plundering all over the country in a guerrilla manner, rather than having organized and armed forces.So he prepared his best troops and broke them up one by one in guerrilla warfare, and quickly put an end to the trouble.
What is valuable is that he believes that the source of local chaos is not banditry, but poverty.In order to resolve the civil unrest, only administrative units should be established to effectively manage the border area between the three areas, and in 1518 the county of Pinghe was set up by Wang Yangming. (In 2018, the county was commemorated for five hundred years.)In order to let the people learn and understand the righteousness, the establishment of rural studies, temples, to receive the effect of peace of mind.He also left behind some soldiers and cadres recruited by Jiangxi to administer military affairs, and hoped that Jiangxi cadres would revitalize the local economy in order to maintain stability for a long time.Jiangxi cadres then introduced ceramic production technology from Jingdezhen, peaceful then become a ceramic production base, the economy also revitalized.Later, there were 13 people of Jiangxi nationality, whose influence can be expected.
After forty-nine years, when the port opened, the ceramics of Zhangzhou became a famous international brand in Europe and the bulk of China’s foreign trade.This” Tianzi Nan Ku “for the Ming Dynasty’s Northern War to raise a lot of funds, equal to the Ming Dynasty also extended life.
In this regard, Wang Yang-ming’s contribution, but also is” knowledge and action into one “philosopher just.His deeds, witnessed a practical intellectual, how in the troubled times, even as a local official, can still do something, his education, culture, economic development of the contribution, also let Zhangzhou to meet the great sailing era of the foundation, so that southern Fujian’s sea heroes such as Yan Si Qi, Zheng Zhilong was never absent from the East Asian War.
In this historical context, I can not help but think deeply of Mr. Yang Ming, if he did not set up Pinghe County, so that the ancestors have a place to live, but also later cross the sea to explore Taiwan’s descendants.I just don’t know, my ancestors, was it for theft?Or the soldier left by Mr. Yang Ming?But what’s wrong with that?Mr. Yang Ming said that as long as” to conscience “, the ordinary woman can also be a saint.
Peace in Zhangzhou is not at all impressive.Now its most famous product is not china, but honey pomelo.In the winter rain, a pile of huge honey grapefruit, because the off-season, placed on the roadside.The peaceful old kiln site has found dozens of places, the most famous in Nansheng, where the construction of a small clark porcelain museum, can be a simple review of the past prosperous history, but also let children play clay, learning ceramic art.Unfortunately, the museum is too small to tell the story in its entirety, and its moving history is not fully presented.After all, it’s still a long way from what I imagined was the home of the blue-and-white porcelain that shocked Europe.
In Yang’s ancestral temple, I met the old people in the clan, than on the genealogy of the name.Generation after generation, although I found a vein of Uri Yang’s family, I couldn’t name the ancestor of my family. It is likely that my ancestors came from another part of Taiwan, not in Uri.They have been wandering for too long, and their footprints are hard to find.
In order to write the history of “King Kaitai” Yan Sizi, I visited Fujian and saw a child from Qingjiao in Xiamen, how to rise up in the great navigation era and go to the sea where the great powers competed for hegemony.And in the sound of the barrage of business, the pearl-like, gleaming clark porcelain of seventeenth-century europeans was discovered.In the pursuit of clark porcelain, I found my father’s hometown, back to his father’s hometown, a quiet village.
What kind of opportunity is that?What kind of fate?
I imagine my ancestors drifting out into the sea, across the black ditch of the Taiwan Strait, into Taiwan, a strange island.It was a desperate attempt, the beginning of a difficult journey.
I’m beginning to understand,Everyone’s life is not rootless.Everyone’s blood is one of the family.The fate of every family is part of history.
In this erratic age, individuals slowly become rootless orchids, but in the search for history, that vein is still, but buried in unseen layers of memory.Like blue-and-white porcelain, and its original countryside.