Ancient Chinese Kilns or kiln sites were distributed over vast areas of China.
The following list shows only over 140 ancient kilns according to the province they are located in. This is only a small part. The mentioned kilns include so-called kiln systems(*), but not their individual kiln sites. Some kiln systems are known to have included dozens, some even hundreds of individual kiln sites, respectively. Some were spread over very large areas.
The main kiln would usually be the kiln whose products were well-known, and other kilns in the vicinity would be producing the same or similar wares.
In general, ancient Chinese kilns would be established in locations conforming to the following requirements:
1. Easy access to a clay mining site
2. Located in a wooded area, where firewood for the kilns could be obtained easily
3. Easy transport access (i.e., near a waterway, for transport by boat)
|Anhui||Fanchang, Huainan, Qiuzhou, Shouzhou, Sizhou, Suzhou, Xiao (Xiaoxian)|
|Fujian||Anxi, Chongan, Dehua, Fuqing, Guangze, Jian (Jianyang), Lianjiang, Minqing, Nanan, Futian, Pucheng, Quanzhou, Chongan, Tongan, Xianyou|
|Gansu||Ankou, Huating, Lanzhou|
|Guangdong||Chaoan, Chaozhou, Gaopi, Guang, Huiyang, Shiwan, Xicun|
|Guangxi||Rongxian, Tengxian, Yanguan (Xingan), Yongfu|
|Hebei||Cizhou (Cixian), Ding, Jiabicun, Jingxing, Quyang, Xing|
|Henan||Anyang, Bacun, Baofeng, Bianjingguan, Chai, Dangyangyu (Xiuwu), Dengfeng (Quhe), Deng (Neixiang), Dong, Hebi, Huangye (Gongxian), Jiaxian, Jun, Linru, Lushan (Duandian), Mixian (Xiguan), Ru, Xinan, Yiyang|
|Hunan||Changsha (Tongguan), Liling, Xiangyang, Yuezhou (Xiangyin)|
|Jiangsu||Junshan (Nanshan), Yixing|
|Jiangxi||Baihu, Baishe, Cuigong, Hongzhou (Fengcheng), Hugong, Hutian, Huo, Jizhou (Yonghe), Jingdezhen, Lang, Leping, Baishe (Nanfeng), Nian, Qilizhen (Ganzhou), Shufu, Tang, Tao, Xiong, Yutu, Yuchang (Yuqichang), Zang, Zhou, Yangmeiting (Shengmeiting), Zhen|
|Shanxi||Changzhi (Bayi), Datong, Huairen, Hunyuan, Huoxian, Jiaocheng, Jiexiu, Peng, Pingding, Puzhou, Yangcheng, Yuxian, Yuci|
|Shaanxi||Xunyi (Xunyi), Zhou|
|Sichuan||Dayi, Guangyuan, Liulichang (Huayang), Pengxian, Qingyanggong (Chengdu), Qiong, Xiba|
|Zhejiang||Cixi, Deqing (De), Dongyang, Ge, Huangyan, Jiangshan, Lishui, Linhai, Longquan (Di), Ningbo, Ou (Dongou), Shangyu, Shaoxing (Fusheng), Taishun, Tiedian, Wenzhou, Wuxing, Wuyi, Wuzhou, Xishan, Xiangshan, Xiaoshan, Xiuneisiguan (Nansongguan), Yinxian, Yuhang, Yue (Mise)|
|Neimeng||Gangwa (Chifeng), Liaoshangjing, Lindong|
Among the ancient Chinese kilns the Yue kiln was the first official or imperial kiln. (Five Dynasties period and Tang dynasty)
Chinese kiln types
Dragon kiln (aka snake kiln):
This type of ancient Chinese kiln is longitudinal and is located on a slope, climbing upward
like a dragon or snake (hence its name). During firing the heat would
rise from the lower to the upper end through the the kiln. Firing material can be added from many openings along its sides.
Example of a "live" dragon kiln in Yixing.
The protrusions on the left and right side of the 'ribs' are the firing holes. Other kiln types had often only one opening for firing.
Dragon kilns usually had a length of 40-60m, but the longest known is over 90m. Usually they were positioned on a slope.
Great egg-shaped kiln: The great kiln at Jingdezhen had a chamber about nine meters long and four meters high. It was egg shaped with the door at the smaller end.
Muffle kiln: Small kilns that could be placed anywhere on the ground, for firing larger quantities a number of such small kilns would have been in operation at the same time.
* Kiln systems were often spread over vast areas, often over several provinces of China. A kiln system consisted of one or more main (or central) kilns producing a certain type of wares, and often many more individual kilns located farther away, also producing similar items, but not necessarily as their only product.
In the Jun kiln system, for example, between one and two hundred individual kilns have been identified as main or central kilns. However, the whole Jun kiln system, including the peripheral kilns, was spread from Inner Mongolia south to the Yangtse river.
The town of Jingdezhen (still active with pottery today) at the height of its production had at least several hundred kilns, some report over a thousand, and was also the location of the official (imperial) kiln during the Ming and Qing dynasties.