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.
The porcelain industry reached its height during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which was best known for “blue-and-white” wares — fine Persian cobalt met ice-white Chinese pottery in high-temperature fires to produce porcelain in this iconic tradition. In the southern Zhejiang province, a type of ceramic called Yue-ware celadon was particularly popular. This type of porcelain was often praised in the poetry of the time; for example, writer and tea master Lu Yu likened Yue ware celadon to both jade and ice in his monograph “The Classic of Tea” [茶经] (780 AD). These celadon pieces were also called mi se ci, or “secret color porcelain,” a poetic description of the subtlety and nuance of the color.
This “secret” blue-green glaze is quiet and elegant. It evokes the saying: “when the wind blows and the dew thickens in the late autumn, the Yue ware kiln opens up and wins a pool of lush.” (Lu Guimeng, “Secret Color Yue Ware”)
Yue-ware eight-ridged lotus leaf lidded jar (ca. Song Dynasty [960-1279])
National Museum of Korea, Seoul, Korea
- Tang Mi Se Blue (唐代秘色青) – grey-green with hints of blue
- A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Yoseka Ceramics Inks will fund the Yanshan Art Museum to support the work of Li Yan Xun
- More Yoseka Ceramics Inks
- More Yoseka Special Projects
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.