TSAI Hsiao-fang 蔡晓芳
"The Only Master of Today's Imperial Kilns"
Recreates lost ancient ceramics for museums
• As men focus on one era only, TSAI Hsiao-fang focuses on a thousand years.
• TSAI Hsiao-fang has spent 5 decades researching and reestablishing lost ancient ceramics production process representative of the imperial kilns of various famous dynasties of China. The richness and comprehensiveness of the glaze he has mastered is unprecedented, that's why he is dubbed the only master today who is able to reproduce antique ceramics that surpass his predecessors from the golden ages of Chinese pottery, perhaps the only one even now and in the future...
• In the past 40 years, Taiwan National Palace Museum commissioned TSAI Hsiao-fang to do most of the reproductions in exhibitions the museum was sending overseas, where works from TSAI Hsiao-fang sat next to those produced by famous ancient ceramicists, each complementing the other's beauty.
• "Exquisitely styled, accurately colored, classically elegant": That is how master calligrapher Chang Ta-chien described Tsai's work.
• This artist blends the elegant rhythms of classical porcelain with a bright modern style eloquently and consequently. TSAI Hsiao-fang brings his artist's sensibility to bear on earth and fire to create famous ceramic masterpieces acclaimed by collectors from around the world, including former US presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and master calligrapher Chang Ta-chien.
A Lifetime Road to Perfect Ceramics
Rebirth of the Classics in Spirit and Form
1938: Born in Taiwan
1950s: Enrolled in "Oversea Ceramic Research Program"
sponsored by the Association for Technic Exchanges between China and Japan.
Studied in Japan's best-known National Industrial Research Institute of Nagoya,
under such famous instructors as Etsuzo Kato and Shigeto Kaneoka
1960s: Worked as Technical Director at Peitou's Wangkuan Tile Factory, Taiwan
1974: Built his first workshop and kiln in Taiwan. It was there TSAI created his first work on classical examples: a "ruby-red glazed cup". He took the work to Taipei's "Antique Street" and it was well appraised, and since then there was growing demand for his work.
1975: 0pened a workshop in Peitou specializing in mastering archaic ceramics technics
1983: Invited by Chiang, Fu-ts'ung the former director of the Taiwan National Palace Museum, allowed TSAI's research and examination of the treasured antiques, to recreate archaize ancient Chinese antique pieces for the next 20 years.
TSAI established his self crafted system of recreating ancient imperial Chinese ceramics of the past 1.000 years - from Ru, Guan, Ge, Ding, Jun, Longquan of the Song Dynasty , to blue and white, oxblood red in glaze, multicolored, bucket color, pastel color of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.. .
TSAI resolved to bring the famous works of lost antique ceramics from the past into the living present-recreating their lines, forms, glaze and painting, allowing these ancient works to be passed along to future generations.
• Notable Museum Reproductions :
1983: Commission from the Dutch royal family to reproduce antique royal delft ware. Without information about the production process or examples in hand, TSAI successfully reproduced works so well that the Queen was surprised.
1994: Commissioned to reproduce Turkish imperial ceramics of the Topkapi Palace Museum, dating from the 15th to 19th centuries. Entirely relying on images from books, TSAI recreated numerous exquisite works for its collection, which were later exhibited in Nagoya, Japan.
1983- 2000s: Commissioned to produce replicas of Taiwan National Palace Museum artifacts from the Five dynasties (907-960), through the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Replicas are subsequently used in NPM traveling exhibitions abroad.
1994: After many years of research into Song dynasty (960-1279) glazes, TSAI succeeded his first production of the lost ancient Ru-type celadon tea implements, which is among the rarest of ancient antique ceramics in the world, a most difficult technique.
1995 - 2000: Reproduced most of the ceramics in the Emperor Qianlong's Sanxitang study. TSAI was able to reproduce even such extremely difficult pieces as a finely decorated gourd-shaped vase and a porcelain ruyi scepter.
• Major Exhibitions & Prizes:
2021: "Timeless" exhibition, Art Thema HéYī gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2007- 2008 : "The Colors of Tea: Taiwanese Teaware and Tea Settings", Touring Exhibition in Europe
2005: "Times Through Teaware-100 Years Development of Teaware in Taiwan", Yingge Ceramics Museum, New Taipei City, Taiwan
2003: "A Retrospective on Hundred Years of Porcelain", Taipei, Taiwan
1984: An Exhibition of Hsiao Fang Pottery, Selb, Germany
1978- 1992: Wins the“Taiwan Province Fine Handicrafts Prize” many times.