“Yin carve Yang fill” is a unique term in Jianshui purple pottery decoration technology, we always regard it as a whole now. To explain what the word means, it is only necessary to make clear two sets of mutually dependent antonyms. Because there is no “Yin”, there is no “Yang”; if you don’t “carve” in advance, you don’t need to “fill in” later.
1、 Yin and Yang
“Yin” and “Yang” here are neither the “Yin and Yang” in the simple world outlook of ancient China, nor the “Yin and Yang” in Buddhism and Taoism. The “Yin and Yang” here refers to the specific meaning, that is, the two special carving methods of Yin carving and Yang carving in traditional Chinese characters.
Intaglio is to carve out the three-dimensional lines under the plane objects displayed by the strokes; the intaglio refers to the convex shape, which is the three-dimensional lines above the plane objects displayed by the strokes. It’s a little hard to understand, right?
Inscriptions in Yin
To put it simply, intaglio is to carve out the part where the strokes are located, for example, most of the characters on the inscriptions are intaglio; the intaglio is to keep the position of the strokes, and carve out the other parts around the strokes, so as to protrude the strokes. For example, the ancient movable type printing and seals are mostly embossed.
2、 “Carving” and “filling”
The “carving” in Jianshui purple pottery is to carve out the parts where the strokes are located and carve them into grooves, so it is called “Yin carving”. People in the industry often say “carving flowers”, which means carving out patterns.
Filling is opposite to engraving, which means that the prepared colored mud is filled into the grooves. Jianshui purple pottery mostly adopts “Yin carving”, so the corresponding is “Yang filling”.