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As Exquisite as Porcelain


Text by Wu Zhen

For many, the most alluring piece of a city is its older streets soaked in the strongest local flavor. The greater vintage orthodoxy the street preserves, the more mesmerizing it becomes for visitors. Ancient Ciqikou stands out as a miniature version of old Chongqing, a major Chinese municipality known as “mountain city.”

Ciqikou lies on the Jialing River in northeastern Shapingba District, 14 kilometers west of downtown Chongqing. Initially named Longyin Town, it was built during the Xianping reign (998-1003) of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The town had become a bustling port by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). A local ballad recounts its prosperity at that time: “A thousand merchants greet each other in the daytime, while ten thousands lanterns light up the sky at night.”

The city’s porcelain industry grew so strong that the town was eventually renamed after it ‘Ciqikou translates literally to “porcelain mouth.” Early in the 20th Century, local merchants embraced cutting-edge techniques and jointly established Sichuan Porcelain Factory. Its exquisite and diverse products sold well both in Sichuan Province and beyond. In its heydays, the town was packed with more than 70 porcelain factories, and countless cargo vessels squeezed into its wharfs, injecting vitality into the local economy.

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