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A Soul of Shiwan Ceramics: The Art of Liao Hongbiao

Liao Hongbiao (1936- ) is a master of Shi-wan pottery. Under his father's guidance, Liao learns the basic techniques and knowledge of clay, glaze and fire, and he builds solid skills for further art development by imitating works by the predecessors. In addition to creating various forms, Liao is diligent in studying and testing various formulas of clay and glaze, and features of fire to best represent his artworks.

His early artworks have the features of Pan Yushu and Liu Chuan, but gradually Liao integrates more and more his ideas in his art. By applying cubic structure, which is often used in western sculpture to emphasize the volume, Liao adds a taste of bold into his simple, powerful artworks. The Founder of the Chan Sect, Attains Enlightenment, and Li Kui are artworks with particular pottery textures, giving a more vivid impression of the characters, and generating strong visual power to viewers. Liao also depicts a subject with different viewpoint from others, such as Budda Sakyamuni, instead of presenting the general image of grace and peace after attaining Buddha-hood, the artwork shows the endurance and hardship during the practice, giving a fresh interpretation of the subject.

Shi-wan pottery originally is local craftsmanship, but with devotions of generations, it becomes an art that integrates the features of both oriental and western sculptures, and has rich cultural meanings by multiple interpretations. The Museum has held several exhibitions on Shi-wan pottery and earned great responses from the viewers. I believe this exhibition will be again a wonderful opportunity for the professionals to study, for general visitors to enjoy the art of Shi-wan pottery.

Director of the National Museum of History

June, 2013


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