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Devotee sustains the luster of Huaning pottery

By Hu Yongqi and Yao Bing in Kunming | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-04 14:05

Devotee sustains the luster of Huaning pottery

Li Zixuan paints on a pottery at her kiln in Huaning county in Yuxi, Yunnan province. Provided to China Daily

While throngs of people squeezed into the exhibition hall for animation and costume players at the first Yunnan Cultural Industry Expo in Kunming, Li Zixuan's exhibition of Huaning pottery was much less crowded. Her booth glowed as it reflected a traditionally charming culture - quiet but beautiful. Huaning pottery (or Ningzhou pottery in ancient times), once on the verge of disappearance, was passed on by Li's selfless determination.

Born in 1946 in Huaning county of Yuxi in Yunnan province, today's master of Huaning pottery began her career by shaping clay as a 17-year-old when she married a potter. "In the past, it was taboo for females to enter the dragon kiln, let alone learn the skills of making pottery," says Li.

Devotee sustains the luster of Huaning pottery
Pottery craft a dying art

"I tried and failed again and again, but never gave up. In June 1980, I got a chance to have three months of training in All-China Art Pottery Designing class in Qinzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region," she says. That broadened her horizons and changed her destiny. "Since then, I was dedicated to studying Huaning pottery's physical properties, digging into its style design and exploring the ratio of the ingredients."

Li only attended school for one and a half years. Later, she had to study chemistry with her daughter who was at high school to explore the ingredients. That was difficult for a woman in her 30s.

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