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Yoseka Ceramics Ink Series - Qing Purple

Produced in collaboration with Ink Institute and ceramic artist Li Yan Xun, our Yoseka Ceramics Ink Series showcases 8 unique colors inspired by ceramic glazes from the Yuan, Ming, Tang, Qing, and Song Dynasties, spanning 10 centuries of Chinese color and history. We worked closely with Li to select these 8 colors from his Yan Cai color project, in which he used chemical experimentation to revive the formulas of over 60 historical glazes, to represent the brilliant and splendid history of Chinese ceramics.

This rich eggplant purple emerges from the coloring agents cobalt and manganese when fired at a low and consistent temperature. First appearing in the late Yuan and early Ming Dynasties, this aubergine glaze reached its peak of popularity during the Kangxi Emperor’s reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), when the chemical formula was perfected. The dramatic gloss is a key feature of this glaze, which suggests opulence and auspiciousness.

Eggplant purple-glazed jade vase (ca. Qing Dynasty [1644-1912])
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, US

About Li Yanxun: Li Yan Xun is a ceramic artist and the founder of the Yanshan Art Museum  in Jingdezhen, China. Hailing from a family of ceramic artists, he received formal training at the renowned Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute before starting his own ceramics studio. In addition to inheriting the “watercolor glaze” techniques pioneered by his father, Li Xiaocong, Li Yan Xun spent almost a decade researching and cataloguing the glaze pigments used in Jingdezhen during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Experimenting with chemical methods like glaze reduction tests and pure reagent analyses, he revived more than 60 historic glazes and documented each formula. Through this color project, titled Yan Cai, Li pursues the notion that an artist can be involved in every phase of their art-making process, from the development of the medium, to the physical craftsmanship, to the firing and completion of the object.

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