President Xi Jinping demonstrated the country’s traditional blue-and-white porcelain to the world - by using it for a state banquet at the BRICS summit.
Inspiration from Gulangyu Island
The inspiration behind the design comes from the picturesque Gulangyu Island in Xiamen city, a famous tourist spot that had just been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in July, 2017.
On the lid of the main course plate is a golden mark in the shape of the island, surrounded by sea wave patterns.
This set of tableware includes dozens of pieces, which have been made into different shapes, each inspired by Gulangyu Island, such as shells, boats, and pavilions.
“State banquet is a ceremony, so the ceramics are more for show than for daily use,” Huang Chunmao, designer of the tableware told CGTN. “The biggest challenge is figuring out how to feature elements of the host city yet not turn it into a tourist souvenir.“
Chinese leaders are advocating our traditional art form to the world, that will help to raise Chinese people’s self-confidence in our own culture.”
State banquet ceramics: a commercial success
This is not the first time Huang Chunmao has designed tableware for a state banquet: His porcelain work has graced the tables of some of China’s high-level events, including the APEC summit in 2014 and last year’s G20 summit in Hangzhou.
These exquisite works are not only for state event. Actually they’re also for sale!
The price of a tableware set is roughly the same as a designer handbag.
“The G20 tableware set sells pretty good,” Liu Quanhui, ceramics maker of the state banquet porcelain told CGTN. “So far the sales reached 200 million yuan ($30.5 million) since the summit was held in Hangzhou in September 2016. People usually buy them as gifts.”
China is renowned for its long history and advanced technique in ceramics, but the industry still faces great challenges, namely that there isn’t a world famous Chinese brand for ceramics.
Both the designer and maker of the porcelain hope that the ceramics’ appearance on the state banquet table will help boost the industry.