So this trip to WuYiSan was interesting to me because we were much farther north up the Wu Yi mountains than I had anticipated. In fact, we were practically on the border with Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces and we saw lovely celadon and blue glazed white pottery everywhere. (In the states we've often seen this kind of China via Holland and it's referred to as Blue Willow. That style originated in Jingdezhen, about a 5 hour drive from where we were.)
There was an afternoon excursion to a Song Dynasty (960-1279) Dragon kiln that was spectacular. Dragon Kilns are built to hold a huge fire pit at the base of a hill. The fire, and the heat snake up the hill, firing the pottery packed in clay shells. At one point this kiln had a production output of 80 thousand cups a day.
There were moments when I wish friends of mine could see and experience what I was seeing. While I appreciated the culture and art of these pieces, I knew they would be admired and respected to a deeper level by potters and artists. I may have actually muttered out loud while browsing: "wow, I wish you were here for this - you'd really love it!"
And later after yet another 10 course meal, our evening excursion involved meeting an art dealer with classic Song Dynasty black/blue cups and other treasures
A wine vessel.
A tea cup.
The cabinet with a lock on it that held the most special treasures.
Reproduction Song dynasty cups.
Real Song dynasty cup. Flawless.
Bottom of same cup.
I don't know what these cups/shallow bowls were but they were impossibly thin and stunning.
For me none of these pieces were remotely affordable, but they were certainly once in a lifetime collector pieces. They were stunning to behold and gave a feel for the aesthetic of the people and region they were from helping me understand the deep and long culture of tea in WuYiSan.