Chinese tableware designer combines culture, art in ‘ceramic diplomacy’

China 24

When it comes to Chinese state dinners, there’s one ceramic designer that officials call. The artist is known for flawless tableware that impresses international leaders.

CGTN’s Nina Edwards reports how this artist just may have started a trend in ‘ceramic diplomacy.’

‘Dainty, elegant and feminine’ are just a few of the words that inspired tableware by Chinese ceramic designer, Chunmao Huang. His delicate pieces were commissioned by China’s first lady, and used during her banquet at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in 2016.

Huang said he draws his design inspiration from various places, including a city’s geography, history, and culture.

“It’s very important for me to put carefully put in Chinese culture in the design and I can hope to reach the inside of Chinese people’s feeling,” he explained.

“But, for Hangzhou, this time, it was color. Color is related to the city, that kind of feeling. There is a lot of water in the south of China and green, very soft very smooth. It’s kinda like silk you touch, blue silk. And, at the same time, the city has a very strong Song Dynasty culture and it also has old wood.”

Huang’s work is now being shown outside of China for the first time. It’s come to the United States, where Huang studied and perfected his ceramic-making craft: Alfred University in New York.

Huang received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Alfred in 2003, as part of a cultural exchange program between the U.S. and China.

“This particular body of work of Chunmao’s has become such a marker of a particular moment in history and time,” said Wayne Higby, Director of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum.”His ability to bring that insight which I think, again, back to the exchange, comes from the fact that he’s gonna see the world in a more of a kaleidoscopic way, and he’s very committed to his culture and very knowledgeable of his culture.”

Fifteen years ago, a younger Chunmao Huang, had no idea he would become China’s number one tableware designer. Today, he hopes sharing his path can inspire designers of the future.