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Xie Dong: Celebrating The Ephemeral

Internationally acclaimed artist Xie Dong is known for her ability to render moments of poetic movement in porcelain. The way a pillow crumples, the way fabric ripples when touched by a gentle breeze, even the way an ice cube melts—all have been elegantly realized by the artist, in fine bone china.

“Shui” Porcelain Vase by Xie Dong | $880 | W: 8.25″ D: 7.5″ H: 10.75″

Over the years, the Beijing based ceramicist has perfected a complex technical process that yields pieces which are ultra-delicate in appearance and terrifically strong in reality. Built from scratch, a large-scale Xie Dong work can take up to five years to produce.

“Shui” Porcelain Pendant by Xie Dong in our Fulton Market gallery.

“Back and forth from the mold to the oven, creating the perfect thickness, and giving each creation the ideal balance requires a lot of experimentation,” she explains.

A group of Xie Dong vases in our Fulton Market gallery.

Born in 1967, Xie graduated from the Beijing Institute of Art and Design in 1988 and began exploring various ceramic materials and methods. Her first collection took its inspiration from a foil-wrapped chocolate bar she was eating. Enchanted by the beauty of the rippled foil, she set about trying to recreate the wrapper’s airiness and the way it played with light. She called the resulting work Zhezhou, which translates to mean “wrinkle.”

Xie Dong’s studio. Photo by Alessandro De Toni.

Xie Dong’s studio. Photo by Alessandro De Toni.

A visit to a bone china factory in Tangshan introduced her to the perfect material for her ethereal creations. The transparency and purity of the medium made it an ideal fit for her artistic vision. Organic shapes with gently bent or ruffled surfaces, crafted in translucent porcelain, became her signature.

According to Xie, her work explores the phenomenons of weight and weightlessness, the dynamics of form, and the fleeting, elusivity of elements. Here at PAGODA RED, we love the ways in which her craftsmanship and celebration of the natural world relate back to ancient Chinese artisans—while inhabiting a thoroughly contemporary aesthetic.

Xie Dong and PAGODA RED founder Betsy Nathan.

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