Significant achievements from the excavations of Qianwangshan kiln site in Zhejiang
Qianwangshan is located in Pujiang County, Zhejiang Province. From November 2nd, 2015 to October 2016, systematic survey and excavations of Qianwangshan kiln site and other kiln sites in the periphery were conducted by Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. The excavated area covered 930 square meters and significant findings were revealed.
The aerial photo of Qianwangshan kiln
Revealing relatively rich features including dragon kilns, flash walls, housing foundations and ash pits
There was 1 dragon kiln numbered as Y1. Y1 was constructed by bricks along a hill and filled by a few saggers. It was well preserved, almost south-north oriented and heading the south. Working surface ahead of the kiln, fire chamber, kiln chamber, kiln doorway, kiln end etc. were of good preservation state. The kiln was about 42.5m long diagonally and about 42m long horizontally. Working surface was in front of the kiln. Two walls constructed by bricks and saggers were preserved. Fire chamber was in the front of kiln with a semi-circular plane. Kiln chamber was in the middle of the kiln. The top of the kiln was already collapsed. Only 5 kiln doorways were uncovered, all of which were on the west wall of the kiln.
9 flash walls were numbered as Q1~Q9 respectively. They were constructed and piled by M-shaped and cylindric saggers, and sometimes filled by broken kiln furniture, which were mainly for protecting in order to prevent the collapse of kiln waste from destroying the kiln and other features.
There was 1 housing foundation named as F1. It’s in the southern part of the fire chamber and closely next to it. Its plane was irregularly rectangular. Only east and south walls were left. Walls were constructed by saggers and bricks. The housing foundation could be the remains of workshop of kiln production.
The dragon kiln remain in Qianwangshan site
There were 2 ash pits, which were named as H1 and H2. They were located in the southern part of the house with irregularly circular shaped. Fillings contained red broken bricks, bowls, plates, broken saggers and so on. Based on preliminary judgment, the pits should be clay storing pools of kiln production workshop.
From unearthed remains, the date of the kiln site didn't range from a long time. It could be almost assigned to the middle period of Northern Song Dynasty.
Porcelain products can divide into two parts, qualified ones and coarse ones. The former were fired separately on the gasket rings or in the saggers. The later ones were fired in piles, or separated by refractory clay or in saggers. Coarse ones took the largest part.
Qualified products were of various kinds with grayish white and relatively coarse body. They have blue or blue-yellow glaze. The glaze was relatively moist. Most of the porcelain were plain, only a few had decorations. Coarse products were of few shapes, most of which were bowls with grayish-white or gray body. Their bodies were usually coarse with blue or blue-yellow glaze and seriously cracked. Most of the products were plain, only some had flower pattern.
Kiln furniture includes saggers, gasket rings, gasket pillars, gasket bats, kiln stoppers and so on. Among them, saggers have M-shaped, bo-bowl-shaped, tube-shaped and etc. Gasket rings contains round ones and trumpet-shaped ones and so on.
House foundation F1
Acquiring important materials that could be compared with kiln industry in the periphery in the middle period of Northern Song Dynasty
The products of Qianwangshan Kiln site were similar to those of products of core areas of Yue Kiln in the middle period of Northern Song located in Cixi and Shangyu and etc. in terms of not only shape and decoration but also technology. According to comparison of products, the kiln site should be a Yue kiln site from middle period of Northern Song Period. The excavation of the kiln site provides rich materials for discussing distribution of Yue kiln sites and characteristics of products in the middle period of Northern Song Period. Besides, the products and porcelain production technique of the kiln could be compared with other kilns in the periphery. Moreover, rich features were unearthed from the excavation, providing precious materials for recovering the layout of Qianwangshan Kiln site. (Translator: Ma Huanhuan)