In 2015 or so, I was in China on an extended business trip. I went to many cities, including Zhuzhou, where I asked the hotel concierge what interesting sights there were in the city. He consulted with his coworkers, and then told me, “I’m sorry, sir, there is nothing of interest in this city.”
When a weekend came along, I thought Jingdezhen would be of more interest than Guangzhou, so I contacted May and Qinghua Huang, with the help of Dr. Peter Y. K. Lam in Hong Kong. May Huang kindly showed me around Jingdezhen, and in the evening, we went to a party at a local dealer’s house. In the middle of the room was a long table, with a glass-covered channel in it filled with shards. Guests were supposed to pick out shards and talk about them with their friends. I told the host, “You know, we really never do this where I come from.” “Oh Steve,” he replied, “you must be very lonely in America.”
Earlier on the same trip, I visited the Palace Museum in Beijing. I went to see a small exhibition on Jun ware. While I was going through it, I noticed an unmarked stairway in one of the halls. It wasn’t blocked, so I decided to see what was on the upper floor. Imagine my surprise when I came upon rooms full of shards! There were thousands of them. “Oh boy,” I thought, now I’ll really see some great Yuan blue and white shards!” But out of the thousands of shards on display, only four (4) were Yuan blue and white, and not very good ones at that (see photo below left)!