Message from the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China

Porcelain has a history of over 3,000 years in China. After our wise and industrious ancestors first transformed soil and fire into porcelain, this prized material was used and treasured not only as an indispensable utensil for daily life, but also as a symbol of wealth, social status, and royal grandeur. Since the early Tang Dynasty (7th century), Chinese ceramic has traveled the world with other specialties such as silk and tea. Over the centuries, the ceramic arts have experienced many changes, constantly influenced by interactions between different cultures and fluctuating aesthetic values.

Although China has a great variety of porcelain arts, the history of ceramic painting is still fairly new. In the past one hundred years, artists devoted to ceramic painting worked to find new visual languages and to establish new styles. Today, in the 21st century, a door has finally opened for porcelain to transform its thousands-year-old shape into another medium for painting, and this is providing artists with a new surface to imagine and explore.

Meridian International Center has maintained close cooperative relationships with Chinese cultural organizations for ten years. This past March, the China International Culture Association (CICA) signed a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding with Meridian, which provides a blueprint for future partnerships. As Chairman of CICA, I am pleased to see CHINA Town: Contemporary Ceramic Painting from Jingdezhen on view at Meridian’s galleries in Washington, D.C. This is the U.S. premier for a talented group of contemporary Chinese ceramic artists. Their works, provided by the Ren Jian Ci Hua Company in Jingdezhen, the "capital of ceramics," exemplify the spirit of artists who are fusing traditions with innovation. I believe this exhibition sets an excellent example for future cultural cooperation between our two countries.

On behalf of the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Meridian International Center for its meticulous work in bringing about this exhibition. I wish this endeavor every success and am hopeful that China-U.S. cultural exchanges will bear more fruits of this kind.


Cai Wu
Minister of Culture
People’s Republic of China