Jingdezhen: Sister City and Porcelain Capital of the World


By Mark Jinkins, Fall 2015 Door County Sister City Jingdezhen Delegate

I’ve been to China before, but not Jingdezhen. Door County has made Jingdezhen a Sister City and that has increased the commitment to work together. More later on “exchanges” between the sister cities, one way or both.

The first words at the Gallery of Chinese Ancient Ceramics at the Shanghai Museum are: “Pottery has always been regarded as a part of man’s life. Wherever there is a human settlement, there is pottery. However, porcelain is an invention of China…. Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province made itself the pre-eminent center for porcelain production.”

Jingdezhen, the Porcelain Capital of the World, hosts the Door County Sister City Delegation for its International Porcelain Fair every October, with attendees from around the world. I broke bread (or had a cuppa, tea that is) with groups, to name a few, from the United Kingdom, Italy, Sri Lanka, and Taos, too (New Mexico is in the good old U. S. of A., fun-loving gents and ladies). From the walls of the airport to every little teacup, street light posts above and every floor below, all are porcelain.

Now let’s exchange. How about products? In preliminary stages, porcelain coffee mugs from Jingdezhen would be available to purchase in Door County, and Door County Coffee would then be available in Jingdezhen. Door County and Jingdezhen are 12 hours apart standard time, so opposite sides of the earth, but not really that far as exchange is contemplated.

Have a need, and maybe your sister city halfway around the world will come to the rescue? The Jingdezhen delegation visiting Door County in July 2015 heard about a worker shortage in Door County between mid-summer and mid-October – so how about a student worker exchange? No plan to send our needed workers to Jingdezhen, but Jingdezhen are now planning to implement a program to send Jingdezhen students to Door County to help during the busy tourist season.

Those beloved lyrics come to mind from that song written by Irving Berlin for that classic movie White Christmas; who can forget “Sisters” performed by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen:


Sisters, sisters

There were never such devoted sisters,

Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,

I’m there to keep my eye on her

Caring, sharing

Every little thing that we are wearing

When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome

She wore the dress, and I stayed home

All kinds of weather, we stick together

The same in the rain and sun

Two different faces, but in tight places

We think and we act as one

Those who’ve seen us

Know that not a thing could come between us

Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can

Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister

And Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man.


Door County and Jingdezhen: thank you then-chair Charlie Most, signer of Door County Resolution 2004-41 making these sister cities. Lord help the mister who comes between these sisters (cities, that is); thank you former county board chair Leo Zipperer, signer in 2010 continuing this relationship. And lord help the sister (city) who comes between Door County and its man, County Board Chair Dan Austad, signer of Door County Resolution 2014-56, for again supporting the Door County Jingdezhen Sister (City) relationship. Thank you to all of the Door County supervisors for more than a decade of giving support. I can see the benefits for Door County.

My thought while I’m in Jingdezhen is an Austad-ed (all-studded) relationship, and I’m Zipperer-ing (zippering) some matters for better relationships together, and making the Most (sorry Charlie) of the relationship with our sister city, Jingdezhen. Thank you to all of Door County for fostering this relationship.


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