Palace Museum curator praises Suzhou brick making
2018-03-02 17:18:00

Golden bricks exhibited at Suzhou Imperial Kiln Brick Museum. [Photo/VCG]

Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum, made an agreement with Jin Jin, director of Imperial Kiln Brick Factory in Suzhou and the 6th-generation inheritor of royal golden brick producing techniques, authorizing the factory to build the material base for the Palace Museum’s ancient imperial architecture.

From the beginning of the Ming Dynasty to late Qing Dynasty when Emperor Xuantong stepped down from the throne, the Suzhou Lumu Kiln had been the sole manufacturing place for golden bricks customized exclusively for royal buildings. Located on the west bank of Yangcheng Lake, Lumu boasts fine soil for making bricks along with mature and exquisite brick-producing techniques. But the Lumu Kiln had to stop production for historical reasons and the techniques were gradually lost.

In 2008, the Suzhou Imperial Kiln Brick Factory started a project on restoring golden bricks from the Ming and Qing dynasties using ancient techniques. The quality of golden bricks produced by the factory is very close to their ancient counterparts, according to technological appraisals.

Shan said the Palace Museum has been following the principle of using original materials, techniques, structures and architectural forms to restore buildings in the complex, now listed as cultural relics. But more and more traditional techniques are facing extinction.

After many investigations and assessments by ancient architecture experts from all over the country, the Palace Museum finally confirmed that the brick techniques by the Suzhou Imperial Kiln Brick Factory are complete and in the right inheritance order, said Shan, meaning the factory meets requirements for producing golden bricks for the Palace Museum. Another factory selected in Jiangsu Province is Nanjing Golden Foil Factory.

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