Dangzhen Pichu is the son of Gama Dingzhu, the last master of the Nixi pottery craft. Gama Dingzhu was declared an intangible cultural heritage in Yunnan Province for his living knowledge of a 2000 year pottery tradition at the brink of extinction. Gama Dingzhu passed his craft and knowledge on to Dangzhen Pichu who apprenticed with his father for over twenty years before traveling China under a research grant to study the pottery traditions of Jingdezhen, Yiixng and beyond before returning to his hometown of Nixi to found the Shangri-La Longba Pottery Workshop in 2005 with his father.
Dangzhen Pichu’s goal is to continue his father’s dream to bring the Nixi pottery craft back from the brink and restore it as a thriving cultural tradition for his people. He has taught sixty young craftspeople in Nixi over the last fifteen years, and has developed over 190 shapes and styles based on archaeological excavations of ancient Nixi pottery sites, along with new forms that carry on a living tradition.
In 2009, Dangzhen Pichu was also recognized as an intangible cultural heritage person for his contributions to the folk tradition. Over the years, he has travelled worldwide and has been exhibited in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe and the United States, bringing international curatorial attention to the Nixi tradition and building the value and respect for Nixi pottery.
We were lucky enough to meet Dangzhen Pichu and his father Gama Dingzhu in 2008 as they were just beginning to revive the tradition, and are incredibly lucky and honored to have reconnected with Dangzhen Pichu and be entrusted with representing his craft, honed over seven generations in his family. He hopes to build deeper interest worldwide for Nixi pottery to show the generation he is training that there is hope and motivation to devote themselves to the craft and carry it forward to a new age.