As one of the historical sites under State protection, Yue Kiln relics lies 9 km southeast of Cixi's Qiaotou Town, with Guyinding Lake Kiln Relics 3 km away on its southwest, Baiyang Lake Kiln Relic and Shang'ao Lake Kiln Relic 2.5 km away on its east. These relics, located around the Shanglin Lake and surrounded by mountains on the east, south and west. The lake looks like a peach leaf with a perimeter of 20 km, and it enjoys very convenient waterway transport as it is connected with Dongheng River and les eastward to Ningbo port and westward to Jing-Hang Canal. Moreover, there are abundant natural resources on this land (such as porcelain), fertile soil, flourishing grass and trees, and rich fuels. All these advantages make possible the development of porcelain industry.
Shanglin Lake is the central production base of Yue porcelain and there were about 120 kilns distributed around the lake, which seemed like twinkling stars spotted along the 20-km-long lakeside. The lake is surrounded by the thick mist and situated in high mountains, where there are green trees and roaring waterfalls. In spring, the lake presents a more beautiful scene as thriving fragrant flowers cover these mountains. Clear springs run along the stream and exotic rocks present an impressive image; legendary gods and ghosts are said to have lived here. Shanglin Lake is not only a natural Yue-kiln museum, but a scenic spot combining natural and human beauty.
Products in the Three-Kingdom Dynasty here include jars, kettles and bowls, which were made of hard and rough material with green, green-yellow and brown glaze. In the early period of Tang Dynasty, there were no large-scale kilns, and the porcelain was processed in a rough way and was of very limited variety. In the middle period, the processing method of porcelain was largely improved and people at that time could manufacture relatively high-quality porcelains. The late period of Tang Dynasty witnessed the unprecedented development of porcelain processing when a record high quantity of porcelains was produced. The outstanding achievement of that time is that the people managed to make the "Mise Porcelain". The products of this period, such as pots, jars, bowls, plates, boxes, cups and censers, featured a wide variety, refined processing and charming shape, and they were made of even and semi-transparent glazes of green-yellow, green-grey and green-blue. Most of the porcelains h plain paintings on them, such as the water lily, fish, little birds and even the brown colored drawings. In the Five-dynasty Period, there were far more kinds of porcelains with impressive variations and they became more graceful than ever before. However, the glaze color of the porcelain ware of this time had the same characteristics as before. For instance, the porcelain born plain pictures like the lotus petals, water lilies, dragons and phoenix. In the early period of Northern Song Dynasty, the glaze color of porcelains was transparent and tended to be dark grey. It was fashionable to paint thin-wattle flowers then, which presented free and untrammeled image. In addition to the pictures like the lotus, water weed and peony, the people of that period liked to paint the bird, mandarin duck, parrot, butterfly, dragon, phoenix and human beings on the porcelain. In the late period, the porcelain industry began to decline owing to the deterioration of drawings and glazes, and lack of varieties.
According to Products Record of Yuyao County, "Mise porcelain" originated at Shanglin Lake. A special official was appointed for monitoring the kiln operation in Tang and Song Dynasties. In 1977, a sepulchral pot dating back to the 3rd year of Guangqi Period of Tang Dynasty was unearthed in Wujiaxi of Shanglin Lake. The epigraph on the pot reads "in the 5th year of Zhonghe Period, at the Shanglin Lake of Cixi in Ningbo… in the 3rd year of Guangqi Period, the dead body was buried on the north of Imperial Kiln." This indicates that the Royal Kiln was built near the Shanglin Lake in the late Tang Dynasty to produce Mise porcelains in order to meet the needs of the royal family.
During the Five-dynasty period, Wu Kingdom and Yue Kingdom presented Mise porcelain as tributes to the emperor of ancient China. In The Record of Tributes in Northern and Southern Song Dynasties, Emperor Zhongyi was reported to offer 140,000 porcelains as tributes to Song Dynasty. As time went on, the kilns of Shanglin Lake, Baiyang Lake and Guyinding Lake could no longer satisfy the increasing demand for Mise porcelains. Therefore new kilns were built along Dongqian Lake in Yin County and in front of the Shangyu Temple near Shanglin Lake so that the production was greatly expanded. After the unification of Northern Song Dynasty, as the royal demand for Mise porcelains rose abruptly, the porcelain industry witnessed a prosperous development and there evolved the Yue Kiln group, which centered around the Shanglin Lake. The Yue Kiln Group was representative of the celadon porcelain industry of Zhejiang Province.
Address: Qiaotou Town, Cixi, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province
Postal code: 315300