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Crystal Chinese Liuli


We hear the word Liuli (Chinese traditional colored glaze) very often. But what is Liuli? How did it come into being?

Liuli is one firing material exclusively used by ancient Chinese royal families, which dates back to the West Zhou Dynasty and East Han Dynasty 3,000 years ago. The user of Liuli was strictly confined so it was seldom seen among the common people.

Chinese Liuli has a long history. It is said that Liuli was first accidentally discovered by an alchemist named Lu Shen when refining the Elixir of Life for the emperor. He presented those clear radiant objects in the furnace to the emperor, claiming them to be the very medicine with functions of exorcising and maintaining life indefinitely. The emperor was so impressed and from then on the production of Liuli began.

Chu Kuo Jade, the Warring States Period

In Xi’an light green color Liuli beads dating to the West Zhou Dynasty were unearthed. During Wei, Jin, South and North Dynasties, with the prevalence of Buddhism Liuli was used in the production of bowls, cases of inkstones, folding screens and a large number of adornments on Buddha statues. With more varieties coming out, Liuli started to be used as decorations on doors and windows during the Sui and Tang Dynasty and later in women’s accessories. Site of Liuli furnace from late Yuan Dynasty have been unearthed in Mountain Bo Shan, Shan Dong Province. In the Ming Dynasty Liuli workshop was also set up in Mountain Bo Shan. Liuli produced in Kun Ming and Yong Chang were very well-known at that time too, with black, white, red, bright orange or green colors and were mainly in shape of chess pieces.

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