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China’s Last Kiln Workers


China’s Last Kiln Workers wang Xinke


foreword

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THE LAST KILN WORKS IN JIAXING CHINA There is a saying in China that three of the most important things in life: food, shelter and roads come from the kiln. The bowl which is used for eating; the roads on which people walk and drive and the roof and floor tiles all come from the kiln. That is why China’s ancient kilns and brick kilns are very important. Jiaxing City once contained 1,500 kilns making old and modern bricks. The area was called the “Kingdom of Brick Kilns.” Today there are 53. In 1949 each farmer’s farmland yielded 2.24 acres, but in 1998 the yield dropped to 0.98. Due to the depletion of the earth in Jiaxing (because of the heavy kiln use), the land dropped from 8-10 centimeters. Jiaxing local residents say that because two-thirds to Jiaxing’s bricks were sent to Shanghai to build the high rise buildings, “Jiaxing became depressed while Shanghai’s high rise buildings grew.” According to some estimates, an 18 story high rise building in Shanghai required 2.3 million Jiaxing bricks. In 1999 local government authorities ordered that the brick and kiln industry decrease its use of the fine sand and earth from Jiaxing, Haiyan, Pinghu, Haining and Tongxiang. The factories started importing sand from other areas. In addition, the factories started manufacturing other construction products. Today there are fewer than 100 people who work in each of the kilns in the five districts of Jiaxing City. WangXinke


There are today 125 kilns in Jiaxing City in the Yangste delta instead of 500 in 1999.


Workers stack bricks inside Qing Dynastry ancient kilns, one of the oldest kilns in Jianxing.


Once was there was 500 brick kilns factories in Jianxing city, but today only125 factories remain.


A worker uses his feet to smooth out th soft clay.


Workers making the bricks. There were once many workers. Today only 11 remain.


Once a job for young women , now only for older women and grandmothers to carry bricks.


Shrine were workers pray before firing the bricks.


This photo shows the history of the kiln.


Kiln workers predicted that the kiln will close in three years.


Children of kiln workers attend school near the brick factory.


Workers remove the finished bricks from the kiln.


Xu wang yuan 59-years-old LI Gui lin 61-years-old ft


Wang zhong hua 58-years-old Xu chang 66-years-old


Lu shi ying 57-years-old Li mei fang 55-years-old


Chang Song-year 59-year-old Huang yun yung 59-years-old


Yang de nian 65-years-old

Qian de Hua 50-years-old


Since 1999 seventy-five per cent of the land formerly occupied by the brick and tile industry has been returned to agriculture.


Jiaxing bricks were used in Shanghai, but today Shanghai is working to develop new materials to replace the bricks.


Thanks To: DJ Clark Wang Xi Jim Dooley Robert Pledge Professor Li Li qi huang wen


Attachment: China’s Last Kiln Workers Video


Wang Xinke Š2009

jxsj02@gmail.com


China's last Kiln workers