Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture

An exhibition of Chinese ceramics opens the International Festival of Cultural Diversity

On 11 May 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura inaugurated an exhibition on the Ceramics of Jingdezhen (China) at UNESCO Headquarters in the company of Mr Zhou Jian’er, President of the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, Mr Qin Xilin, Honorary President of the Institute, as well as Madam Shi Shuyun, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the People’s Republic of China to UNESCO.

The exhibition is one of the first events in the International Festival of Cultural Diversity which is being celebrated at UNESCO and all around the world from 11 to 22 May 2009. The numerous cultural events held on and around the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21 May) at UNESCO Headquarters and elsewhere in the world are meant to underscore not only the intrinsic value of specific cultural productions, but also and above all the fertility of their diversity.

In his opening remarks, Mr Matsuura described the porcelain and ceramic pieces on display as “…more than remarkable works of art. Beyond the aesthetic pleasure they elicit, they reflect two types of continuity and transmission to which UNESCO is deeply rooted. The first consists of the continuation of the art from over 1000 years* at Jingdezhen…. The second is dissemination of porcelain from China to other peoples along with the motifs, tastes and techniques that inspired them. Indeed, it is quite humbling to consider the extent to which such a fragile material has served over the years as one of the most solid media for cultural exchange between the East and the West”.

Continuing, Mr Matsuura said that the exhibition “illustrates some of UNESCO’s top priorities: encouraging dialogue and mutual understanding among different cultures; promoting creativity; and, most importantly, safeguarding cultural diversity” and added that “it is probably through its normative work that the Organization has made its greatest impact on safeguarding the world’s cultural diversity”.

To conclude, the Director-General observed that “…the beauty and technical perfection of the objects on display universal reference points… and are a vivid illustration of how the diversity inherent in culture can provide an excellent opportunity for unity”.


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* The earliest ceramics at Jingdezhen trace their history back more than 1700 years. In order to protect Chinese traditional ceramic art, the five main ceramics-making phases of biscuit making, biscuit trimming, glazing, blue flower painting and kiln burning, were put on China's Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2005. The local government has taken measures to promote craftsmen's research in traditional ceramic art innovation. Nowadays, Jingdezhen's ceramic art is renowned worldwide for a vibrant integration of traditional and modern technologies in the ceramics-making process.

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Auteur(s): La Porte-parole - Source: Flash Info N° 083-2009 -  Date de publication: 13-05-2009

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