Jin Jin


Gold brick factory, China



China, Jiangsu Province, Lumu I Brick manufacturer


The Jin Jin’s heritage project allows the making of bricks that are exact replicas of those produced by the imperial kiln, 600 years ago to build a Chinese Palace! The Lumu’s brick is smooth, shiny, big and square. It has nothing to do with gold and yet can be as hard as metal, as attractive and fascinating as a jewel! Through a long, complicated and high cost manufacturing process, requiring not less than 29 steps, each one following a strict protocol, the brick gains rare properties. The gold brick stands the test of time just like gold, which never corrodes or loses its luster. It also prevents moisture from the underground. Today, Jin Jin’s Brickyard is the only one of Lumu, the unique inheritor of the official royal manufactory!

Of course, we can speak of high-tech production. The high-tech is in the knowledge of material, acquired by restoring the memory of the ancestral skill. Moreover, by refining it years after year.  The slowness is in the strict compliance of every step of the process, to obtain a resistant and splendid material. As an exclusive contemporary architectural ceramic, Lumu’s gold brick highlights human values. He also treasures the historical identity of clay material and the uniqueness of the hand-made product. Currently, 20 craftsmen fire the only remaining kiln in Lumu. The renovation and repairs of the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and other ancient architecture in Beijing use Lumu’s bricks exclusively. Jin Jin explains the entire procedure of goldbricking and its meaning as a cultural heritage.


    Author: Jin Jin



The height main procedures of making
the Gold Brick


Smash the dirt

After choosing the yellowish clay from Lumu town, north east of Suzhou, remove the impurities by 7 different procedures and smash the clay into small pieces.

Refine the clay

This process is to subside the clay, air dry it, knead it, stamp it to be ready for making adobe.

Make adobe

Put the clay in the mold, knead it, stamp it, press it with the stone roller, beat it with the lodge, and the clay becomes to be the adobe.

Air dry

Put the adobe inside the room, cover it with cloth, turn it over and pat the two sides from time to time. The process will last for 5 months, from April to August in Chinese lunar calendar.

gold brick clay

CLICK ON the image, to see the timetable of Gold brick production

oad to the kiln – Burning

Use the rice chaff as the fuel for the first month, the small firewood for the second month and larger firewood for the third month, and the pine wood for the last forty days. The adobe will be in the kiln for 130 days.

Moisturize the kiln

In the process, seep a little to the kiln from the top, keep reducing atmosphere till the bricks cool down completely.

Move bricks out of the kiln


A royal material

The Gold Brick is a special royal material which was applied for the floor of the palace in Ming and Qing Dynasty. According to Yin-Yang and Five Elements theory in Chinese ancient philosophy, Confucianism and Taoism, bricks are made after the counteract of the elements of water and fire. Having been burned, the brick transforms from the loose dirt to solid “gold”. It has been the symbol of a stable regime and secured system. Together with the “Gold Pole”, the logs which support the royal palace, are the most important building materials among the all.

Made by locals

The Gold Brick is made from the earth kiln by the local villagers. The Gold Brick started its royal role from Ming Emperor Yongle (1402-1424) and perished at the same time of Qing Emperor Xuntong(1909-1911). In over the 500 years of Gold Brick producing, the only kiln was in Lumu town, Suzhou. The clay is from the village of Yuyao (which means Royal Kiln). The kiln is made of earth, and the kilnmen are the local villagers. There is no record that scholars have been involved in. In other words, the local villagers turned the “dirt” into the “gold”. It is the treasure of the human civilization and the wisdom of human being.







Local villagers

A complicated and time consuming process

Suzhou Made is very famous for its fine craftsmanship, especially during the Ming and Qing Dynasty. At that time, the economics was booming, and a lot of skillful craftsmen gathered in Jiangnan region. Lumu town, which is in the north east of Suzhou, because of its unique water and clay quality, kilned since the Five Dynasty. There are 29 procedures in making the Gold Brick, which takes a whole year. The cumbersome refining of the clay, fine craft of performing, high request of burning techniques, and low rate of finished product make the brick a real gold. There is an analogy that 12 gold bamboo for a brick.

production Gold Brick

Production Gold Brick

The understanding of Chinese culture

Making the Gold Brick is the experience of understanding of Chinese culture and the spirit of life. The art of the Gold Brick making was kept in the folk after the demise of the Qing Dynasty. The inheritor Mei-Quan Jin resumed the Gold Brick production in 1980. In 2008, based on the historical data record and with the help of her father, the young generation inheritor, Jin Jin, successfully reproduced the ancient Gold Brick skill which can be traced back up to 600 years ago.

Making the Gold Brick is complicated. The secret is to abide by the reinforcement of the physical characteristics of the dirt. Each step of the 29 procedures will adjust according to the temperature, the humidity, the counteract of the elements of fire and water, as well as other laws of nature, to make the finest bricks. It is so called “Follow the nature’s will, Raise Gold Bricks from dirt.” Timetable of Gold Brick production.

Transcending ordinary building materials

The craftsmanship of Gold Brick transcends other ordinary building materials and becomes the symbol of Suzhou and Chinese culture. When the Gold Brick was used in the gardens of the rich merchants and high officials, the beauty and glory of the Gold Brick showed up, because of its fine craftsmanship and also because it was once the royal material.   Only one Gold Brick can make the small and elegant garden into sedate, concise atmosphere, yet, still with a natural touch. In this way, the Gold Brick transcends the ordinary building materials and becomes the symbol of Suzhou and Chinese culture. Nowadays, The Gold Brick can be used in many ways, as an ornament, tool to practice Chinese calligraphy, tea set, perfect material for engraving, etc.​


brick Kilns

Brick Kilns





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