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A lifelong dedication to enamel

Updated: 2021-04-02 07:40 ( China Daily )
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The shape of the chamber pots, commonly used when many Chinese families didn't have toilets at home decades ago, resembles ancient Chinese bronze ware. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY

His persistence eventually moved her. "Many people came to see my collection, and she gradually became convinced of the meaning of my dedication," Xie says.

In 2015, when he made up his mind to display his collection in a proper exhibition, his wife, a successful career woman in the real estate industry, helped him to acquire a three-story building in Jiading and had it refurbished for the showcase.

Since its opening in 2016, the exhibition, Tangci in China Through 100 Years, has received hundreds of thousands of visitors, many of whom travel all the way from Europe and the United States.

Xie's passion has also resonated with the younger generations.

He recalls that he was heartened when Gao Huanhuan, the then girlfriend of his son, Xie Xian, asked him,"Do you think we can make tangci objects again?"

The young couple even started their own company, Jiushen Cultural Creative (Shanghai) Corp, in 2016 to produce high-quality enamel ware with imported steel and glaze pigments.

"I used to buy interesting tangci objects in Europe for my dad, and saw fine pieces reflecting the rich cultural heritage of European handicrafts. We gradually fell in love with the material," says Xie Xian.

He also recalls being fascinated with the material after visiting a market in Prague, the Czech Republic.

"There is a big world for enamel ware. We can create something new with it that is fun, lovable and relevant to the aesthetics of the young generations," he says.

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