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Chinese ceramics inspired by art and sport

Updated : 2018-08-09
(chinadaily.com.cn)

Chinese ceramics inspired by art and sport

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach visits the purple clay teapot exhibition at the Olympic Museum on July 31. [Photo/chinaplus.cri.cn]

Fourteen Chinese teapots, sculpted from purple clay by artist Lyu Junjie from Yixing, Jiangsu province, will be on display in the Art Lounge of the Olympic Museum from Aug 1 to 19, as part of the Five Rings & Five Colors exhibition.

Each year, in the build-up to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Olympic Museum will be hosting an exhibition devoted to the work of a Chinese artist. This year, the museum is showcasing 14 traditional teapots made from zisha (purple clay) from Yixing.

Zisha comes from deep in the mountains near the city of Yixing in Jiangsu province. The clay contains many minerals, such as iron and quartz, which help to create the perfect teapot by keeping the water hot, helping the tea to infuse properly and to "breathe" thanks to its porous nature, which brings out the flavor and fragrance.

Yixing zisha teapots have been exported to Europe since the 17th century and are considered the finest teapots.

Chinese ceramics inspired by art and sport

Fourteen Chinese teapots, sculpted from purple clay by artist Lyu Junjie from Yixing, are on display at the Olympic Museum. [Photo/jsyxzsc.com]

While making their way around the exhibition, visitors will truly experience the passion and energy of the artist, who subtly combines the symbolism of Chinese culture with sports imagery.

The teapots depict scenes from different sports, ranging from curling and speed skating to equestrian, as strength, beauty and intelligence are fused together to form a unified whole.

The "Lotus" set of pots is a tribute to the lotus flower, with the painstakingly designed knob on the lid and the curved handle that evokes the strong yet pliable stem bending in the breeze.

Lyu Junjie's artistic vision, purpose and aesthetic choices are reflected in these works.

"For the average person, a purple clay teapot is nothing but a small device for making tea. However, it is very diverse and symbolic of Chinese culture," Lyu said.

Born in 1966, Lyu Junjie is a master of Chinese ceramic art and a research-level senior craft artist, as well as a member of the Chinese Artists Association. His hobbies include wushu, a traditional Chinese martial art more commonly known as kung fu.

In 2018, IOC President Thomas Bach awarded him the Pierre de Coubertin medal for his work, which uses zisha to spread the Olympic spirit.

The Olympic Museum attracted 270,000 visitors to see exhibitions in 2017. The museum's displays are an invitation to dive into the history of the dreams, the culture, the design, the challenges and the values of Olympism. They incorporate the latest technological innovations and an excellence recognized in 2014 by the International Audiovisual Festival on Museums and Heritage (FIAMP).

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