Tag Archives: 3D clay printer

Immortal Clay Longevity


 Symbols of fortune in the ceramic arts



Kiyomizu  longevity tea bowl –   the bowl has the rounded shape of a tortoise shell and flying crane decoration. Both symbols of longevity.


As the New year starts to gain momentum, its always good to ponder health, prosperity and happiness for the coming year. Many of the ancient cultures had art displaying symbols and sacred objects designed to attract these qualities. Elixirs, amulets, charms, fountains conferring perpetual youth, philosophers stones and countless other procedures were pursued in the name of attaining immortality and longevity. Mystics and immortals that had attained illumination and lived long lives were also revered and remembered through the arts. In China this reached a peak during the Ming and Qing dynasties where motifs and stories relating to a long life became fundamental themes in the decorative arts. This is still prevalent in the Eastern arts, and it has been an excellent means to preserve some of the ancient doctrines and wisdom. The more distant epochs are harder to fathom, but ancient mysteries are still being unraveled. A large diversity of flora and animals also appeared in abundance throughout Eastern cultures, in paintings, garments, statues, ceramics and in furniture carvings. They are regarded as the harbingers of good luck, wealth, and happiness.



Casa-Enric-Batlló Barcelona Mallorca from Arnim Schulz on flickr

Barcelona ceramic phoenix facade – the mythological bird that rises from its own ashes to renewed youth and life.

Unlike the phoenix of the West, the Chinese phoenix does not have the connotation of a bird rising from ashes. The Chinese phoenix symbolizes joy and peace.

Photo by  Arnim Schulz on flickr





Qing porcelain gift box set in the shape of the Bagua, used on auspicious occasions and the Chinese New Year for presenting sweets and delicacies.



Carlton-Ware-'Bird-of-Paradise'-Enamelled-Large-Jug Pitcher---1930s


Bird Of Paradise pitcher – Carlton Ware

 This bird is associated with the phoenix. In new Guinea, they believe these birds come from a terrestrial paradise, and call them ” bolon diuata ” ( birds of god )



Chnese Zhang-Guolao-of-the-Eight-Immortals

 One of the Eight Immortals – Zhang Guolao

He was a master in the arts of alchemy, herbs and qigong and was a real historical figure.




 Jade Dragon Tortoise – symbols of luck and longevity



Chinese-vase with tiger

Yuan Dynasty porcelain vase

Tigers were used for the decoration of amulets and ceramics because they are powerful animals, symbolize heroism, and are believed to be able to eat evil spirits, or at least cause them to flee.



Ceramic Chineses-FO-DOG ornaments

Pair of early 20th century Chinese ceramic Fu Dogs

Statues of guardian lions, known in the West as Fu Dogs, have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces and temples. They were believed to have powerful mythical protective benefits.




 Meiping Cloisonne Lotus Vase, China

The spring flowers of magnolias and peonies, are both symbols of wealth. The lotus is the flower of summer’s purity; the chrysanthemum represents the longevity of autumn.  Bamboo is a winter plant, symbolic of long life and peace. The chrysanthemum, which blooms late and has to face the winter, symbolizes people who maintain their virtue despite adversity and temptation.





 Shousan Buddha




 Spinach Jade Foo Lion




 Prosperity Vase – Pierre Bounaud
Chinese symbols for good fortune, happiness, longevity, spirit,
love, and endurance grace the vessel to channel positive energies.



Finely painted vase with an immortal seated on a lotus blossom floating among the waves,and a large dragon

Vase with an immortal seated on a lotus blossom, floating among the waves and a large dragon






 Teapot decorated with Shou symbols, peaches and bats.



Chinese deity holding peaches on a branch and coins riding atop a crane,

Carved figure of a deity riding a crane while holding a peach branch and coins




 Italian twin handled herb jar with a rabbit motif and oak leaves.


RISD Museum

The rabbit is a symbol for luck in both the East and the West. In the East the rabbit represented yin feminine luck, while the dragon was yang masculine luck.



Ceramic vessel with each side in relief with a different scene of samurai, as well as a crane in flight

 Samurai vessel with flying crane




 Lotus koro incense burner with flying crane motif




Ceramic sculpture of a  giant tortoise – Julian Jardine

The tortoise (gui 龟) indicates strength and endurance, has a long life-span and is, therefore, an instirnsic symbol for longevity.



Ceramic boat with eight immortals

 Eight immortals in a dragon boat




 This phoenix stoneware ewer was among the 240,000 Vietnamese trade ceramics and artifacts recovered from the Cu Lao Cham shipwreck

National Museum of Vietnamese History, Hanoi.



Imari Porcelain Vase with Koi and Sakura Trees

 Porcelain  Imari Vase with Carp and Sakura Trees

The carp is  a symbol for an abundance of children because it produces many eggs.
A pair of carp symbolizes a harmonious marriage



Japanese Imari Porcelain Lobed Dish with Peach of Immortality

Porcelain Lobed Dish with Peach of Immortality –  Japanese Imari


Tao Hua Yuan by Tao Yuan-ming (translated by Rick Davis and David Steelman)

During the Jin Dynasty, a fisherman from Wuling, while following a stream  came across a huge grove of blossoming peach trees. It lined both banks for several hundred paces and included not a single other kind of tree. Petals of the dazzling and fragrant blossoms were falling everywhere in profusion. The peach trees stopped at the stream’s source, where the fisherman came to a mountain with a small opening through which it seemed he could see light. This led him to the mystical kingdom of Shambala. This is how the peach got its reputation.



Japanese Karajishi Shishi Fu Lion-Okimono

 Japanese Karajishi Shishi Fu Lion – Okimono



Japanese Meiji Hirado Fuji---Dragon Tripod Vase

 Meiji Hirado Fuji Mountain—Dragon in clouds tripod Vase



Leys jar with peanut plant,Ming dynasty-(1368–1644),

 Leys jar with peanut plant, Ming dynasty (1368–1644)

The taoists regarded the peanut as a longevity food. Preferably unroasted.



MET Stoneware with inlaid decoration of cranes and clouds under celadon glaze

Korean Goryeo dynasty celadon jar with flying cranes



Ming Dynasty-JiaJing Reign-Five Colored and Blue Underglaze Decoration Porcelain Square Flat Vase With Sea Dragon Pattern

Five Colored and Blue Underglaze Decoration Porcelain Square Flat Vase With Sea Dragon Pattern

 Ming Dynasty -JiaJing Reign




 Netsuke persimmon fruit

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA





 Kiyomizu ware crane and tortoise longevity pair of teacups





Kraak Porcelain – 1570-1645

  In the centre of the dish is an attractive decoration of a flying Chinese bee and a Cicada (insect) perched on a rock in a marshy landscape with flowering peonies and rocks. On the interior wall are four medallions decorated with sunflowers. Also present are the following auspicious symbols –

The ‘Artemisia’ leaf considered to be a symbol of healing and health and considered a good omen. A single peach fruit, ‘Amygdalus persica’ – also known as the fairy fruit. A book scroll with a tassel and ribbon and a ‘lingzhi’ mushroom.






 Porcelain Eight Immortals Plate

Jingdezhen, China



Qing Dynasty Inkstone from the tenth year of QianLong-Reign, carved with the symbol of Happiness immortal crane, God of longevity,

  Inkstone from the tenth year of QianLong Reign, carved with the symbol of Happiness, an immortal crane and the God of longevity

Qing Dynasty



Reticulated oval finely dressed lady walking in-a landscape accompanied by a deer, which-is the symbol of both longevity and riches,PollyLatham

 Reticulated oval plate showing a finely dressed lady walking in a landscape accompanied by a deer,

The deer is the symbol of both longevity and riches. The Taoist physical ” deer exercise ” promotes longevity.

Polly Latham



Round Ceramic incense stick burner with Chinese longevity Shu symbols

 Round Ceramic incense stick burner with Chinese longevity Shu symbols



Running Rabbit Netsuke--Mountain Mahogany

 Running rabbit carved from mountain mahogany – Netsuke, Japan



Shoulao,-God of Longevity,-Qing dynasty-(1644–1911),-Kangxi period-(1662–1722)

 Shoulao, God of Longevity, Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Kangxi period (1662–1722)





The pine tree (song 松) is a very popular symbol for longevity because it is an evergreen and can endure severe winters. The stork (guan 鹳) is believed to live 1,000 years and is also a symbol of longevity. The stork is frequently shown together with pine trees .




  Egyptian scarab Art Deco vase

Designed by Charles Schneider, France – 1923

A symbol of rebirth and good fortune




This netsuke depicts the Immortal Kasenko in a cloud

 Japanese netsuke depicting the Immortal Kasenko in a cloud




 Tenmoku Pottery “fook luk sau” Tea Pot Set

Fook Luk Sau – the Chinese characters mean LUCK and WEALTH (Fook), HAPPINESS and RECOGNITION (Luk), LONGEVITY (Sau).



Long neck vase with immortals bearing the character for longevity (shou),- Ming dynasty

 Vase with immortals bearing the character for longevity (shou)

Ming dynasty



Chinese Scholars Rock on wooden base

 Scholars rock, China

The interest in collecting rocks for religious or aesthetic purposes began with the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) when  large stones were used to decorate their gardens and courtyards. Scholar’s Rocks (or Gongshi) were stones that were chosen if they resembled or represented mythological and famous mountains and were used by scholars as objects of meditation.




 The qilin (麒 麟) or Chinese unicorn represents good luck , prosperity, goodwill and benevolence.

It is described as having a deer’s body, an ox’s tail, fish scales, five-toed hoofed feet and a horn on its head.







Wedgewood willow plate

 The willow (liu 柳) branches were regarded as being magical and became associated with the life of scholars and poets who drew inspiration while strolling among them.



Vase with immortals offering the peaches of longevity, Qing dynasty (1644–1911),-Kangxi period


Vase depicting immortals offering the peaches of longevity.

The peach symbolizes marriage, spring, justice and especially Taoist immortality.

Qing dynasty, Kangxi period

Sources quoted – primaltrek



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Here come the claybots (automated pottery)

Auto Pottery Ceramic Printer

As futuristic as it seems, automated pottery is a distinct possibility , especially with complex builds, using a printer as a foundation for its development.

3D printers of every build tend to get geeks excited (maybe it’s the inevitable Star Trekreplicator comparison), but Unfold Lab’s 3D ceramic printer still fills us with a particular brand of awe. Rapid prototyping and three-dimensional printing have been around for some years, but Unfold Lab  has successfully built a DIY ceramic printer. The design is based off an open source project and prints wet clay from its nozzle, which can then be placed in a kiln and fired. The machine uses powder clay which is mixed with water and printed out using a syringe. To test their design Unfold wanted to print a ceramic vessel which would be difficult using traditional techniques. So they drafted a double walled vessel with fins connecting the two walls. The result was successful and they fired the vessel along with a number of other testing pieces that demonstrate the printers effectiveness.Unfold ( Netherlands) was founded in 2002 by Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen, after they graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven as a platform for everything they did and would do. The Antwerp-based duo developed a strong multidisciplinary background in design, technology and art and often collaborates with a vast network of kindred spirits and specialists.

Unfold takes its name from a fascination for computation design methods and the surface of the human body, which led to a series of design projects called ‘tribute to surface’. A computer program designed to Unfold simple forms was used on complex 3D models, such as a 3D scan of the human body. It generated new patterns and demanded new production methods. These projects are primarily research based, although the methods are implemented in assignments whenever suitable.

Ceramic Spray Nozzle

Double Walled Vessel from Ceramic PrinterCeramic Double walled pottery vessel3D prototype printing

3D Ceramic Printer Pottery

Auto Ceramic PrinterAlas, the 3D printer isn’t coming to a ceramics studio near you anytime soon: it’s very much a prototype. But it’s a great illustration of what’s possible when science and the arts team up.

see the Video on a newer post here