Faces: Character & Wisdom in Shiwan Ceramic SculptureAugust 19, 2005 - August 19, 2005
Even though the ceramics in this exhibition are from only a single collection, they present quite a wide range of subject matter, shapes, glazes and styles of China’s Shiwan art pottery.
Shiwan ceramics play a significant role in understanding the culture of the Guangdong people (Cantonese) of south China. To a large extent, this pottery provides us with glimpses of the tastes, values, beliefs and practices of the ordinary people of the region. The Shiwan style is free, unpretentious and shows a spontaneous, direct vision, which is typical of unsophisticated art. Through its refreshing naivet? and directness, a great vitality is released. The potters? sympathetic use and deep understanding of the natural materials, and of their colour and texture qualities, allows them to create admirable works of art. Shiwan pottery is a very important Cantonese art form and because of its naturalness, rustic charm and usefulness, it has been called the ceramic art of the people, as opposed to the delicacy and refinement of Chinese porcelain which in the past was made for the well-to-do.