The Ji Yu Fang Lao Long Kiln is the work of a lifetime- 20+ years of research and excavation studying Song Dynasty kilns. Master Xiong Zhonggui has to fire the kiln once a month to keep it ‘tuned’ correctly and at the right heat to fire successful pieces. Many of the cups produced in this kiln naturally form epsilon phase iron oxide crystals in their glazes, some of the first since the Song Dynasty.
Master Xiong is becoming a nationally renowned hero for helping to restore this lost art, and recently returned from a teaching trip to Japan to meet with the living masters of Tenmoku pottery and work with them to share his research on how the original Tenmoku were fired in the Shui Ji area almost 1000 years ago.
In August 2014, he was recognized with a gold award at the Shanghai International Gift Craft Creative Design Exhibition. In March 2015, he was awarded with a Gold Medal at the Beijing 31st International Gift and Handicraft Exhibition. In September 2015, his work won the 9th China Arts and Crafts Exposition Gold Medal.
His work is represented in the Xiamen City Museum’s permanent collection, in addition to galleries and private collections around the world.
Master Xiong’s cups grow deeper in color and luster over use, much like yixing pots, and are highly prized by collectors. Generally, the only way to get access to his work is to go directly to the kiln and help with the kiln opening and unloading.