Born in Yixing, Jiangsu Province in 1964, Zhang Zheng Zhong 张正中 is an official Grandmaster of Arts and Crafts of China known for his avant-garde creations that deviate from the elemental aspects and institution of the zisha world, and is widely praised for his brilliance and ingenuity in fusing art and academic tradition. His works has been sold at many auctions, with the highest bid reaching 2 million RMB.
Amongst the many types of ceramics available, zisha is truly a complicated study. In fact, famous for its rigorous and chancy production process, a zisha teapot requires both the vision of an artist and the foresight of an architect, while commanding the patience of a monk and the aptitude of a scholar to thoroughly execute over 100 critical processes, such that any unintentional modifications and haphazard mistakes will indubitably result to deformation and ruin.
“Making a zisha teapot is like building a house - you have to think about where the columns and steel frames will be, just like a construction engineer”, explained Zhang. And indeed, these seemingly fundamental aspects that are too often disregarded and misinterpreted by the average craftsman have been wholly studied, understood, mastered, and perfectly executed by Zhang Zheng Zhong, evident in every piece he debuts to the world, time and time again.
A fully handmade zisha masterpiece perfectly integrates practicality and artistry, while exhibiting both the density of the material and the delicacy of its texture. Zhang Zheng Zhong captures these attributes superbly, while at the same time exhibiting sheer creativity, exquisite craftsmanship, and noble spirit. These features are drawn from his unique experience with the craft, beginning with his intensive study on old zisha crafts collected throughout his lifetime, and learning the essence of some of the most captivating zisha artists of the past. Through discipline and dedication, Zhang Zheng Zhong developed a deep and profound understanding of the traditional zisha art form, boldly evident in his early Hua Qi creations. With his extensive knowledge of the physical properties of zisha clay and the metaphysical spirit of zisha craftsmanship, Zhang Zheng Zhong continues to pursue the development of zisha art not only for the cultivation of its heritage and tradition, but to also elevate its modern standing in the art world through a rigorous and intricate combination of cultural undertones, aesthetic value, and classical/contemporary style all at once.
Throughout the years, Zhang Zheng Zhong harnessed an unparalleled artistic style, creating and debuting one-of-a-kind Hua Qi pieces with a great deal of success. As famous critic Dr. He Ping had once said, “Zhang Zheng Zhong has a profound knowledge of zisha art and literati culture of Jiang Nan 江南. He also has a critical understanding of the traditional spirit of zisha, while sparking a novel view and new outlook for the future trajectory of Chinese art”.
Zhang Zheng Zhong intimately expresses his love for classical works through sheer appreciation and admiration, without the need to mundanely imitate and blatantly reproduce. Always on the path towards innovation and invention, Zhang Zheng Zhong has perpetually left his mark in the contemporary world of zisha and has continually unified tradition with modernity, functionality with artistry, and has dramatically inspired the celebration and appreciation of contemporary zisha craftsmanship.
Despite the continual success and honors he receives, Zhang Zheng Zhong faithfully reinvents himself by vigorously refining his skills through arduous study. In keeping up with the latest artistic trend—not only in China, but all over the world, as well as in different artistic platforms—Zhang Zheng Zhong effectively pushes the boundaries of innovation and modernization of zisha crafts.
Enriched by a network of colleagues with the same artistic vision and aspiration, Zhang Zheng Zhong is able to evolve and cultivate his creative pursuits, while at the same time proactively contributing to academic circles by frequently presenting in lectures, authoring professional articles, and conducting art exhibitions. Indeed, such an unwavering artistic and scholastic spirit acts as one of the few guiding beacons that presently lead the zisha industry on the road towards artistic development, cultural cultivation, and world recognition.
Jiangsu Province Arts and Crafts Grand Master 江苏省工艺美术大师
Jiangsu Province Arts and Crafts Celebrity 江苏省工艺美术名人
National Certified Research-level Senior Master of Arts and Crafts 研究员级高级工艺美术师
Jiangsu Ceramic Art Master
One of Twelve Zisha Elites of China
Member of Chinese Artists Association
Tutor of Ceramics Department (Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University, China)
Master Degree in Fine Arts Ceramics (Tsinghua University, China)
Member of China Industrial Design Association
Member of China Arts and Crafts Association
Member of Yixing Zisha Culture and Art Research Association
Professor of Chinese Arts and Crafts Club
Professor of Fine Arts (Jiangsu University, China)
Professor (Hood University, USA)
Founder of Zisha Mai Tian Charity
2001 - “The Sea Breeze Set”, Winner of the Silver prize at the 3rd China Fine Arts and Crafts Masters Exposition
2002 - “Annual Rings”, Winner of the Gold award at the 4th Chinese Arts and Crafts Artists Fine Works Exposition; "Sea Breeze" and “Interstellar” included at the 6th Cairo International Ceramics Biennale in Cairo, Egypt; "Sea Breeze" officially collected at the Chinese Embassy in Cairo; “Shu Chai San You" and “Shou Tao" officially collected by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, USA and Hong Kong Tea Ware Museum; “Xiu Mo Ke Diao” officially collected at the Wuxi Museum
2003 - “Heaven and Earth”, Winner of the Gold award at the 2nd National Ceramic Art Exhibition; "Naked Eyes”, Winner of the Bronze award at the 2nd National Ceramic Art Exhibition
2004 - "Heaven and Earth”, officially presented at the Art and Ceramic Art Exhibition of
China-France Culture Year Series in France and at the Chinese Modern Ceramic Art Exhibition in Canada; “Ripples”, officially presented at the 10th National Art Exhibition
Works periodically presented at “人民日报” People's Daily, “装饰” in Taiwan, “紫砂金砂” Zi Sha Jin Sha in Hong Kong, and “文汇报” Wen Wei Bao, as well as in other newspapers and magazines
2007 - Gu Yun Qing Liu《古韵清流》(Heilongjiang Fine Arts Publishing House); Zi Yu Chun Mei《紫玉淳美》(Rongbaozhai Press)
2011 - Chuan Shi Dian Zang (A Collection of Contemporary Artists' Hand-painted Porcelain Zisha Teapots)《传世典藏》(Anhui Fine Arts Publishing House)
2011 - Zi Yun Qin Liu《紫韵清流》(Rongbaozhai Press).