** A Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller **
"Other things in the world are white but for me porcelain comes first"
A handful of clay from a Chinese hillside carries a promise: that mixed with the right materials, it might survive the fire of the kiln, and fuse into porcelain – translucent, luminous, white.
Acclaimed writer and potter Edmund de Waal sets out on a quest - a journey that begins in the dusty city of Jingdezhen in China and travels on to Venice, Versailles, Dublin, Dresden, the Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina and the hills of Cornwall to tell the history of porcelain. Along the way, he meets the witnesses to its creation; those who were inspired, made rich or heartsick by it, and the many whose livelihoods, minds and bodies were broken by this obsession. It spans a thousand years and reaches into some of the most tragic moments of recent times.
In these intimate and compelling encounters with the people and landscapes who made porcelain, Edmund de Waal enriches his understanding of this rare material, the ‘white gold’ he has worked with for decades.
** Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 **
The definitive illustrated edition of the international bestseller with gorgeous new photography of the celebrated netsuke collection, and sumptuous full-colour images hand-picked by Edmund de Waal from his family archive
264 Japanese wood and ivory carvings, none of them bigger than a matchbox: Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in his great-uncle Iggie's Tokyo apartment. When he later inherited the 'netsuke', they unlocked a story far larger and more dramatic than he could ever have imagined.
From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siècle Paris, from occupied Vienna to post-war Tokyo, Edmund de Waal traces the netsuke's journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.
THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2010 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD
264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them bigger than a matchbox: Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in his great uncle Iggie's Tokyo apartment. When he later inherited the 'netsuke', they unlocked a story far larger and more dramatic than he could ever have imagined.
From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siecle Paris, from occupied Vienna to Tokyo, Edmund de Waal traces the netsuke's journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.
'You have in your hands a masterpiece' Frances Wilson, Sunday Times
'The most brilliant book I've read for years... A rich tale of the pleasure and pains of what it is to be human' Bettany Hughes, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year
'A complex and beautiful book' Diana Athill
Edmund de Waal is an artist whose porcelain is exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. His bestselling memoir, The Hare with the Amber Eyes, won the RSL Ondaatje prize and the Costa Biography Award and in 2015 he was awarded the Windham-Campbell prize for non-fiction by Yale University. He lives in London with his family.