This article examines the phenomenon of yaobian 窯變, or kiln transformations, in late imperial and early modern China as material epistemology and material practice. By providing a genealogical analysis of documentations of yaobian in late imperial texts spanning the twelfth through the nineteenth centuries, the article relates their supernatural connotations to the production of Qing-period Jingdezhen Jun-style wares, variously known as flambé wares or kiln transmutation glazes. The article advances that the significance of such eighteenth-century yaobian porcelain wares lies in their very inexplicability of craftsmanship and ability to index both physical transformation as well as infinite formal transformation for the Qing empire, particularly during the reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736–1795).

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