Preservation Research of Guangdong Shiwan Pottery Ridge Decoration 广东石湾陶塑脊饰的保护研究——以陈家祠陶塑脊饰为中心

Haiyan Huang, Liaochuan Mu, Haobin Shi, Guangdong Folk Art Museum


Originating from the late Ming Dynasty to the early Qing Dynasty, Shiwan Pottery Ridge Decoration flourished from 1850s to the early of 20th century. It was commonly used as the ridge decoration of the large public old buildings in Pearl River Area, Hong Kong, Macao and Southeast Asia. It was made from the local clay as the biscuit, sculptured in group, with colourful glaze over the figure, fired at 1230℃ and mounted on the roof of the building. There are 11 groups of pottery ridge decoration in Guangzhou Chen’s Lineage Hall, an important heritage site under state protection with nearly 120 years of history. In 1908 and 1975, the hall was hit by a typhoon and several ridge decorations were destroyed, though they had been repaired in different ways at different stages. In addition, we find other damage on parts of the pottery figures, such as the ceramic glaze peeling off, weathering and losing of the components. Now the pottery ridge decorations in Chen’s Lineage Hall are facing several threats:(1)lightening stroke and typhoon;(2)atmosphere and circumstance pollution, including the acid rain and plants; (3) damage by people

Housed in the Chen’s Lineage Hall, Guangdong Folk Arts Museum has been responsible for protecting the buildings. The museum has adopted several means to protect the pottery ridge decoration which are(1)installing the lightning protection; (2) strengthen its monitoring, getting rid of the plant growth to avoid loosening the ridge decorations; (3) use the traditional handicrafts to repair and mend part of the pottery ridge decorations which have been destroyed heavily.

Haiyan Huang &  Liaochuan Mu

Huang has been working in the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum as a curator since 1995. The major collections of the Museum contain items of traditional craft in particular, ceramics, ivory and stone carving, embroidery and textiles. The site of the museum, Chen’s Clan Hall, was built in 1893 and it is noted for its distinguished architecture which manifests a variety of traditional craftworks. Since 1988, the building has been chartered as a national historic site.

Since promoted as deputy director of the museum in 2006, Huang has taken charge of the museum exhibition planning, the collection and management of relics, as well as research and publication matters. Huang’s research project about the protection research of the Shwan Pottery Ridge Decoration in Chen’s Lineage Hall with Mr. Liaochuan Mu (the director of the museum) has been carried out since 2011. The project aims to find some effective ways to protect the pottery ridge decoration and to protect the whole building eventually.