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In Search of China's White Gold

2 November — 19 November, 2018 | Tour Director: Lars Tharp


• Journey through the mountainous scenery depicted on so many porcelain pieces from the Ming Dynasty to the present

• Learn the processes passed from generation to generation of Chinese potters and porcelain painters

• Visit the hidden valleys and trip-hammer mills of Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of the world

For centuries, Europeans valued porcelain form China so highly they called it 'white gold'.

Exquisite ceramics have been made in China for more than 1,000 years amd this comprehensive tour not only traces its fascinating heritage but the impressive mountain landscapes that are depicted on so many porcelain treasures.

The tour explores both cities and traditional villages, visiting notable kilns – some of them still working. Ample time is spent in Shanghai Museum, home to one of China's finest ceramic public collections. This will be an absorbing journey tracing an artform and the wider culture of a nation of infinite riches.

We will stay in Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of the world, guarded by a circle of mountains and straddling the great river on which millions of pieces headed south for European merchants or north to the courts of emperors. Visit the hidden valleys where trip-hammer mills still squeak and clatter.

We also take in the architecture of the Ming Dynasty, witnessing remarkable temples and monuments, and take a boat trip on the exquisite West Lake in Hangzhou, famed for its sunsets.

This tour will be led by Elizabeth Morrell and Lars Tharp.




Tour Dates

2 Nov — 19 Nov 2018





Tour Code





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Cost includes:

return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, eleven lunches, eight dinners, excursions & admissions, gratuities.

Not included:

Visa, travel insurance, single room supplement £795.

In association with









Tour directors

Lars Tharp, MA, FSA

Danish-born art historian, lecturer and broadcaster.

Full biography and other tours >




Elizabeth Morrell, BA

sinologist and Chinese speaker who has been visiting China since 1976.

Full biography and other tours >






1410 Depart London on British Airways Flight BA169



0925 Arrive Shanghai. Meeting and transfer to Jinjiang Hotel. Visit to Old City, Yu Yuan Gardens, Pudong Dinner in hotel restaurant, with an introductory talk.



Shanghai. Visit Shanghai Museum, with focus on Chinese early pottery and porcelain, followed by lunch and walking tour of the Bund. Free evening, own arrangements for dinner.



Shanghai to Hangzhou. High speed train to Hangzhou (West Lake). (1 hour) Visits to Lingyin Temple - Temple of Soul’s Retrea, with its wall of carved Buddhist figures, and Dragon Well green tea plantation. Lunch in village. Overnight in Lakeview Hotel. Dinner on own arrangement.



Hangzhou. Full day visits in Hangzhou including the Song Dynasty Guan Ware Kiln site and afternoon boat ride on West Lake. Lunch included. Free evening, own arrangements for dinner.



Hangzhou to Huangshan. By coach to the Huangshan area (around 3.5 hours, approximately 200km). Visit to the Tangyue village – commemorative archways and ancestral temple to a woman, Cheng Kan village laid out in the pattern of a tri-gram, Stay in hotel in Tunxi (one of the districts near to Huangshan) check into the Crowne Plaza Hotel for two nights’ stay. Dinner in the Old Town with time for an after dinner stroll.



Huangshan Area. Drive to Huangshan scenic area, and take cable-car (east side) up the mountain. Enjoy the views, lunch on mountain Return to Tunxi and visit the Hu Kai Wen ink cake mould factory. Lunch and dinner will be taken en route.



Huangshan to Jingdezhen. Transfer by coach to Jingdezhen (about 2.5 hours, approximately 200km). En route, visit to the ancient village of Hongcun in Yixian County, a unique example of an ancient rural settlement in an idyllic setting. Continue to Jingdezhen city, the ‘porcelain capital’ of China. Transfer to Zijing Hotel for three nights’ stay. Lunch and dinner in local restaurants.



Jingdezhen – Yao Li and Gaoling Mountain. Drive into the countryside to Yaoli and Gaoling mountain where the ‘kaolin’ was mined and visit the traditional village at its foot with its medieval alleys and waterfront. Lunch in local restaurant. Dinner on own arrangement.



Jingdezhen. Visit the Ceramic Cultural Exhibition Area, chicken egg kilns, traditional wheel potting. Dragon Pearl Pavilion and the Imperial Porcelain Kiln site and museum, as well as the Folk Kiln at Hutian. If there is time visit to Jia Yang Tao Ci Company, a long established porcelain producer, see underglaze decoration and design and the high quality range of facsimile pieces, which are produced here and are for sale. Visit People’s Square and see animal sculpture and bronzes of ceramic workers. Lunch and dinner in local restaurants.



Jingdezhen to Longquan. Transfer by road to Longquan (about 4.5 hours, approximately 400kms). Returning to a remote corner of wealthy Zhejiang province. Lunch en route and dinner in a restaurant close to our hotel. Check-in to Longquan International Hotel for two nights’ stay. (OR SIMILAR). Lunch and dinner in local restaurants.



Longquan. Longquan has been famous for production of celadon ware since the 10th century. Visit to Da Yao Kiln Village for lunch at farm home, Da Yao Kiln site and new ceramics museum. (PASSPORT INFORMATION AND SPECIAL PERMIT TO VISIT REQUIRED) Lunch in local restaurant. Dinner on own arrangement.



Longquan to Wuyishan. Visit to Shang Yang town with its modern celadon factory and show room. En route to Wu Yi Mountain scenic area visit the Jian Yao Kiln (Song dynasty ‘rabbit’s fur’ ware) Arrive Wu Yi Mountain and stay at Wang Feng Hua Yuan Hotel for overnight stay. Lunch and dinner in local restaurants.



Wuyishan to Quanzhou (or Dehua?) Morning to enjoy scenery and possible boat ride. In the afternoon take the high speed train to Quanzhou, arrive Quanzhou and transfer to Hilton Hotel or similar. Lunch and dinner in local restaurants.



Quanzhou – Dehua. Drive to Dehua to visit the local kiln site (special permit REQUIRED), Temple to the God of the Kiln, Dehua Ceramics Museum and the Yueji kiln site (working kiln) and ceramics art centre and studio. Stay at 5 star Meiyuan Hotel in Dehua.



Dehua – Quanzhou – flight to Shanghai. Morning return to Quanzhou, visit Maritime Museum in Quanzhou. Own arrangement for lunch. Depart by air for Shanghai (CA3805, 14:20-16:10). Transfer to Sunrise on the Bund Hotel. Dinner on own arrangement.




Depart Shanghai. Breakfast and transfer to Pudong Airport for flight to London. 1055 Depart Shanghai on British Aiways Flight BA168 1600 Arrive London Heathrow Airport.