Looking at the Latin characters and ideograms on her business card, one notices that her family name “Zhao” is written before her first name “Bing,” following Chinese tradition. This archaeologist from the “Middle Kingdom”1 (where porcelain was invented in the 7th century), specializes in Chinese ceramics–“a very minor discipline in
Bing Zhao feels very much Chinese, but likes to point out her French intellectual “heritage.” “After leaving
She was also inspired by the work of Jean-Marie Pesez (1929-1998), a medievalist archaeologist who studied the organization of villages and the life of craftsmen and simple people. Zhao's research traces the social organization that formerly surrounded the production of Chinese ceramics during the Song era (960-1278): the life of potters, their techniques, distribution networks, etc. And for this, she relies on all types of resources including archaeological, textual, and ethnoarchaeological data. “Ceramic research takes me everywhere,” she says. Zhao has gone to
1. That is how the Chinese referred to their country, which they believed to be at the center of the world.
2. Centre de recherche sur les civilisations chinoise, japonaise et tibétaine (CNRS / Collège de France / École pratique des hautes études de Paris / Université Paris-VII joint lab).
3. Bing Zhao was awarded prizes by the French Association for Chinese Studies and the French Association for Collectors' Ceramics for her thesis “The Jizhou Pottery Works in Jiangxi from the 10th to the 14th Century.”
4. Program headed by Monik Kervran, from the laboratory “Orient and the Mediterranean” (CNRS / Universités Paris-I and IV / Collège de France / École pratique des hautes études de Paris joint lab).
Centre de recherche sur les civilisations chinoise, japonaise et tibétaine, Paris.