(Originally published June 6, 2018)
We are very proud to feature the Nixing Clay Teapots of Li Changquan in our Shop. The Master of the Li Brothers Studio, Li has carried and added to the legacy of his family’s studio. This is a short introduction to this artist’s studio and to his work.
Li Changquan in his studio.
Li Brothers in San Francisco, 1915
It was during the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 that the Li Brothers Studio first exhibited its Nixing clay art overseas. The Nixing clay vase won the gold medal for ceramic art, bringing attention to a little-known school of ceramic art known variously as Qinzhou pottery – after the town in Guangxi where it is practiced – and Nixing clay. Although not as well known outside of China, the clay has long been prized by a devoted subset of tea drinkers for its special properties.
The Li Brothers studio has continued to produce excellent work from its many masters down through the years, who in turn pass on the knowledge and technique to new generations through the Master – Apprentice relationship that has kept the art alive through periods of serious upheaval.
The Seventh Master
Born into a family of Nixing artists in 1942, Li started his apprenticeship in Nixing ceramics at the age of 17. Once he succeeded his teacher, Li became the Master of the Li Brothers Studio, a title he has held for over 50 years. He is the seventh artist to hold this title since the founding of the studio six generations ago.
Li’s work, including his wheeling and especially his carvings, have earned the recognition of both artists and experts in the field, and he has seen his work exhibited in galleries in China and abroad. His awards and Exhibits include:
- 1984: A 2.2m tall vase titled “Live as long as the pine and crane” (松鹤延年), exhibited in Singapore.
- 1990: Awarded the “Honour Certificate for 30 Years of Art and Craft Work” by the Chinese government.
- 2005: One of his Nixing carvings was given as an official gift from the Guangxi provincial government to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong S.A.R.
- 2005: A number of his pots and vases with carvings was collected and exhibited by the Guangzhou City Art Museum (广州市艺术珍品馆) as part of the museum’s permanent collection.
- 2011: His work won the Gold and Bronze medals at the Guangxi Ceramics Exhibition.