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Yoseka Ceramics Ink Series - Yuan Ji Blue

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 first successful formulation of a high-temperature blue glaze, this deep-sea color was developed and popularized in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), an era in which it was often used to express the lan di bai hua (cloud-and-dragon pattern) designs that were popular at the time. Lost to the tides of time, Yuan Dynasty blue-glazed porcelain has become extremely scarce; what remains of it is collected in major museums across the world. Over time, Yuan Ji Blue has inspired a variety of other blue glazes; the original is characterized by its vivid and warm hue as well as its translucency, which evokes the still and graceful deep ocean.

Blue-glazed white dragon plate from the kilns of Jingdezhen (ca. Yuan Dynasty [1271-1368])
The Palace Museum, Beijing, China

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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