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The Modest Master



  Aleading center of porcelainmanufacturing in China, the an-cient city of Jingdezhen, nestledalong the southern banks of theYangtze River in Jiangxi Province, is hometo Wang Xiliang, a master artist who hasearned an international reputation for his ar-tistic achievements and personal character.Despite the high acclaim, while remainingdedicated to his profession and the paintingof fine porcelain works of art, he remains aman of modest bearing.
  
  Born into a family of humble means,at the age of 12 Wang ceased his formalschooling, choosing instead to study artunder the tutelage of his uncle. During thepre-liberation period, he had to struggle foradequate food and clothing. Only after theliberation could he devote all his energy tohis art. But because of the day's politics, theart was tinged with ideological overtones,and aesthetic value was not so important.With his artistic ability and sound character,Wang withstood myriad non-artistic temp-tations. Even in today's environment of acommodity economy, he retains his artisticindividuality and ideals. He neither thinksof himself as being superior to others, nordoes he compromise for money. Wang re-mains practical, realistic and magnanimous.Now 85 years old, he still maintains a low-key attitude and demurs from publicity. De-spite his high prestige and universal respectin Jingdezhen, he never puts on an air ofimportance.
  
  According to Wang, the art of paint-ing need not be rigid in rules, and naturalmodels are the most beautiful. In this wayhe depicts figures, landscapes, flowers andbirds. He combines the fruits of his peren-nial sketching over the years with ceramicart, and forms his own style and verve.
  Wang was born into a family of cera-mists. His uncle Wang Dafan won a goldmedal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Interna-tional Exposition with his powdered color-ing technique. Wang's son and two daugh-ters also devote themselves to the ceramicarts. His son Wang Cai works at the JiangxiResearch Institute of Ceramics, and his twodaughters, Wang Xiaofeng and Wang Qiux-ia, are highly regarded painters.
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