Well, lets see what we’ve got. Maybe upfront, I could find 3 Dragon Kilns in Yixing all of which I visited.
First maybe the kiln I already blogged about, the DragonKiln behind the Jun-Glaze factory. It is still a historic site, and it is still protected. Recently there have been made some efforts to make it accessible to the public and maybe as a touristic site. New stairs have been built alongside the kiln as well as the roof and a fence around it. In the future it might cost a little fee to see it. It has not been fired in recent years. The kiln is hidden behind the factory which is currently being used by Han Xiaohu as his studio and showroom. He was nice enough to let us in and we had some Hong Cha together after-wards.
Another kiln, actually the first I visited that day, is the QianShu Dragon Kiln. I underestimated the distance from where I live to the QianShu kiln a little. I had not been there before and had to ask more then 10 times for the way and still missed the little road leading there. There are a few signs on the way, but somehow for the last turn that was omitted. It took me about 1 hour to get there on my bicycle and half an hour for the way back. This kiln, interestingly enough, is indeed operational and has been fired more or less recently. I have been told about one year ago. This is a rare occasion and mostly for cultural purposes and to prove it works. Not really much reason for hope that one could get their hands on a contemporary piece of Yixing pottery that has actually been fired in a Dragon Kiln. Not much of that around.
So, whats left? Backyard Dragon Kilns!
There is a smallish(in length) Dragon Kiln called Zisha LongYao inside ChangLeHong on tongshu road. It is quite roomy inside though, one can even stand upright. Unfortunately that Dragon Kiln is decorative and by the looks of it used for storage of larger pottery items. It is not in active use, although it might work, sorry to get a but fuzzy on the details here, it probably never has had any useful output. It was a bit late by the time we arrived there and didn’t have much opportunity to ask.
The looks of the surface inside speak for themselves though…
Well, there you go. Sorry i haven’t got any better news for you, but it looks like there is currently no Dragon Kiln in regular use in Yixing, at least that i could find. If you heard differently and have an address please let me know, I’d like to go and have a look.
Maybe there is one more thing to add, reliable information is quite hard to come by. For me at least, asking about stuff just doesn’t cut it, i like to go out and see for myself if possible. For example the nice guy who had the key to the QianShu Dragon Kiln and unlocked the padlock to let me in said there is no other dragon kilns in Yixing but the one I was standing at….
I’m not sure what to think about that, but anyways, just go out and check for yourself if you can.