Association

The European Route of Ceramics is a Cultural route certified by the Council of Europe since 2012 and it aims at giving value to the cultural heritage linked to the production of ceramics and its old tradition, creating a sustainable and competitive tourism offer not only based on the artistic productions and collections (workshops and museums), but also on the whole cultural and social development that these destinations have lived over the years. Born thanks to a European project in 2011, the Route was managed through an Association named UNIC and coordinated, for the first 5 years, by the City of Limoges.

In order to relaunch and give more value to the Route, the partners of the European Route of Ceramics have agreed with the handover of the association from the City of Limoges to the City of Faenza, which is therefore the new coordinator. To this extent, a new association headquartered in Faenza (Italy) has been created at the end of August 2018, aiming at continuing the activity of the European Route of Ceramics, promoting its development in terms of projects and members, with the support of the Council of Europe.

Members

Avanos – Turkey

The town of Avanos, situated in the Cappadocia region, is particularly famous for its pottery and ceramics dating back thousands of years. Avanos is part of the Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, which have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The pottery and ceramic tradition in Avanos is deeply rooted in the local culture and has been passed down through generations. Skilled artisans continue to create beautiful and intricate pottery and ceramics using traditional techniques. The motifs and designs often draw inspiration from Cappadocia’s history, nature, and mythology. The stunning surroundings and cultural diversity have undoubtedly played a role in nurturing and preserving these artistic traditions particularly in Avanos.

Aveiro – Portugal

Aveiro is a landscape of water, light and color offered by the Ria de Aveiro, winding through the white of the salt pyramids. Its more than 1000 years of history and tradition lived around the urban canals, present in the architectural heritage such as the baroque and mannerism in most churches, full of enchant by their richness and uniqueness, as well as in the beautiful Art Nouveau façades, give a special touch of charm to the city.

Besides the production of salt, the Xávega fishing activity practiced along the seafront, the harvesting of the moliço and the Ceramics provided subsistence for centuries to a large part of coastal population and the nearby rural regions.

Aveiro has a strategic position in the main roads and railways that cross and link the country, as well as in the relevant commercial port. The University of Aveiro provides the training of experts in several areas, namely in Ceramics, ensuring the continuity of secularly established international relations.

The International Biennial of Artistic Ceramic of Aveiro was created in 1989, by the will of the Aveiro City Council as organizer and promoter, with the collaboration of some local inhabitants (Aveirenses), namely local artists and companies in the ceramic sector.

Bolesławiec – Poland

Bolesławiec is one of the oldest cities in south-west Poland. The settlement was established as early as the late 12th century. After World War II, Polish people from the territories of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus settled in the city and its surroundings. This multiculturalism is now reflected in culture, art, traditions and culinary arts.

The cultural institutions of of Bolesławiec City Commune include the Museum of Ceramics, the Bolesławiec Cultural Center – International Ceramics Center (BOK-MCC) and two Tourist Information Desks; the Department for Promotion and Development at the Bolesławiec City Hall is responsible for the coordination of activities aimed at ceramics promotion.

Resting on natural clay deposits, Bolesławiec has become a strong and significant European pottery complex. Bolesławiec ceramics is a hard, impermeable stoneware, fired at 1200-1300°C. Its characteristic feature is the underglaze decoration made with stamps and brushes. The production range-mainly tableware- is exported globally.

The most important cultural events include the Bolesławiec Festival of Ceramics organized since 1994, an open-air event attracting exhibitors, producers and enthusiasts of ceramics from all over the world and the annual International Ceramics and Sculpture Symposium, welcoming artists from all over the world since 1996.

The ceramic plants in Bolesławiec cooperate closely with the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow.

ph.Grzegorz_Matoryn

Castelló de la Plana – Spain

european route of ceramics

The industrial, social and cultural history of Castelló would make no sense without ceramics, which have been one of the foundations in the economic and industrial development of the city. Ceramics have also now become an artistic feature that permeates many parts of the city and its life. There are a wide range of ceramic features to be seen around the city: façades, squares, churches, emblematic buildings, sculptures in the streets or ceramic furniture, to make a wide range of structures.

Institutions have included ceramics in their course content, offering a wide variety of training in this sector. This commitment to the ceramics industry has enabled to look through innovative solutions and technological advances, without neglecting tradition.

The city of Castelló to ceramics is also committed in the organisation and participation in fairs, congresses and awards in this field. The Castelló City Council and the Association of Ceramic Technicians joined forces in 1997 to create the Ciutat de Castelló National Ceramics Prize award, with the aim for society to understand ceramics in a global way. It also allows ceramic technicians to develop their creativity and promotes artists living in Spain.

Domestic and international tourism in Castelló addresses culture: the City Council has developed a webpage of virtuals routes to increase the awareness of the role played by traditional and artistic ceramics in the aesthetics of the city: there are currently three routes with different ceramic themes: traditional, modern and avant-garde.

Delft, Prinsenhof Museum – The Netherlands

The town of Delft, also known as ‘Little Amsterdam’ is a historic town with picturesque narrow streets, close to both beaches and the larger cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. The city is world famous for its high quality delftware and 17th century artist Johannes Vermeer. Delft and ceramics The relationship between Delft and China is centuries old. It goes back to the beginning of the 17th century when Delft was involved in the trade of porcelain, which inspired the Delft potters to create the world famous delftware. Even to this day, these ceramics are still being made in the only remaining pottery from the 17th century: de Porceleyne Fles (now known as Royal Delft).

Here you can see and experience master artists at work, painting pottery in the traditional way. You can learn all about Dutch history at the Prinsenhof Museum in Delft – a unique historic building and the former court of William of Orange. The museum has an extensive collection of paintings, ceramics and historic objects. A large number of these date from the late 16th and 17th century, the period also known as the Golden Age.

Deruta – Italy

Deruta is a beautiful village in the province of Perugia, known worldwide for its production of traditional artistic ceramics.

The majesty of the ceramic production of Deruta is witnessed and contained in over 6,000 works in the Regional Museum of Ceramics of Deruta, the oldest in Italy for ceramics, established in 1898 and which has inside, a beautiful archaeological area of the ancient kilns of San Salvatore. But its grandeur is also visible in the churches, in the facades of the buildings, in the historic streets of the city. Surrounded by greenery, attentive to environmental sustainability, the city is full of characteristic shops and laboratories where you can actively live the art of creating, where tradition, contemporaneity and innovation coexist harmoniously.

In Deruta, everything talks about ceramics and you can breathe an air of creativity!

Faenza – Italy

Faenza is an italian city of etruscan-roman origins, worldwide known for having developed a ceramic art at the highest levels, since the first centuries after 1000 AD. Faenza reached the peak of its artistic and technical fame in the 16th Century during the Renaissence age, with its elegant “Whites of Faenza”, that excelled in ceramic art and technique. They influenced potters not only in Italy but also abroad.

Since then Faenza has become, all over the Western World, the City of Ceramics par excellence, so much as its name in the French translation Faïence indicates Ceramic Art. The tradition and culture of ceramics remains the vital hub of modern Faenza with its International Ceramics Museum containing splendid collections from all centuries and countries, its 60 artists’ workshops, the artistic and technical schools, its international events based on the traditional and contemporary production of majolica.

Precious neoclassical architecture, elegant shops, fine restaurants both in the centre and in the green, gentle beautiful hills surrounding the city and all the ceramic context are in Faenza a perfect example of the best italian lifestyle where art, creativity, innovation and research meets landscape, history and clay.

Gmunden – Austria

Archaeological discoveries of earthenware jugs, bowls and tiles date back to the Middle Ages. As early as 1492, “Gmundner” ceramics was mentioned in documents. Centuries of ceramics in Gmunden, and the Salzkammergut, produced a large number of craftsmen and artists who gained international recognition and appreciation.   Gmunden has set itself the goal of returning the topic of ceramics to its historically centuries-old significant role and promoting it in a renewed way. The lake Traunsee holiday and leisure region has positioned itself as a cultural hotspot in Austria, with many cultural activities from customs and traditions to contemporary arts and highlights.

Every year in August Gmunden becomes the Mecca of ceramic arts, presenting a mix of contemporary ceramics; ceramists from Austria and abroad exhibit in Gmunden’s galleries and temporary locations, intensifying the focus on contemporary ceramic art.  The biannual Ceramic Symposium brings European ceramic artists together with international experts for a 5 week residency.

The K-Hof Museum offers a chronological cross section of Gmunden and the Traunsee district’s history from geological beginnings to 21st century. The ceramic theme is a constant thread throughout, with special exhibitions on history and contemporary ceramics changing regularly.

ph. credit: Wolfgang Ladin

Höhr-Grenzhausen – Germany

Are you interested in ceramics? Ever wanted to get to know this material with all its facets?

Then come to the city of Höhr-Grenzhausen, the competence and creative center of German ceramics with international significance. Beautifully located, in the middle of Germany, high above the river Rhine just a stone‘s throw from Koblenz (10 km) in the lower Westerwald opens up in Höhr-Grenzhausen the whole range of pots, tureens, plates and cups from the beginnings of the well-known traditional gray / blue design over the modern color and shape variety to today‘s ceramic art objects.

Whether in the modern spacious museum building, the Ceramics Museum Westerwald (www.keramikmuseum.de), in the “Trend Barometer“ Kultur-Kasino or directly in the more than 30 ceramics studios on site (www.keramik-stadt.de). Every day, visitors can look at ceramic workers‘ hands (Sunday and holiday opening). At the beginning of April “Höhr-Grenzhausen burns ceramics“ is a special Open-Day of the ceramic workshops. Every year in June Höhr- Grenzhausen turns into a ceramics market, where 150 important ceramics producers from all over Europe meet. If you yourself want to work with the white gold of the area, you can participate in unique pottery courses under professional guidance.

Tired of looking and wondering? Then in Höhr- Grenzhausen a rich spectrum of fine gastronomy awaits you, whether hearty and traditionally, smart and light or the upscale kitchen, quite stylishly and enjoyably. Still not enough? Then just hang on to your visit for another day, choose one of the two super-beautiful wellness areas of the 4-star superior houses to relax. Or go on a walking tour through the beautiful nature and the extensive forests that surround the City.

Iznik Foundation – Turkey

The ceramic tiles produced in İznik (historic Nicaea) during the 15 and 16th centuries represent the cultural and artistic zenith of the Ottoman Empire. These tiles still grace the walls of many mosques and palaces. The examples of these tiles are part of the best collections of museums in Turkey and around the world. The main principle of the Foundation is to revive the traditional art of tile making and with this purpose instituted an ongoing research phase in 1995. Because of this research Iznik tiles are today being reproduced using rediscovered traditional methods. The successful research and investigations into the subject, conducted by institutions such as Istanbul University, Istanbul Technical University and TÜBİTAK have drawn wide interest both within and outside Turkey. The Foundation consists of three units: Iznik Training and Education Foundation, Istanbul; Iznik Ceramic Research Centre, Iznik; Iznik Tiles and Ceramic Corporation, Istanbul & Iznik.

The founding aims of the Iznik Training and Education Foundation are to publicize the culture and artistic assets of Iznik and its surrounding communities, to activate the current potentials of the area, to systematize both existing information and any new information obtained regarding the traditional art of Iznik tile, and to pass this knowledge on to current and future generations through training and education.

Limoges – France

The City of Limoges is strongly linked with fire arts. Enamel, porcelain and stained glass constitute an oustanding industrial and craft heritage. Limoges, located at a crossroads of the major european road networks, with a population of 138 000, has been recognized by UNESCO in October 2017 as the 1st Creative City crafts and folk arts cluster in France.

Limoges, is also: 9 centuries of creativity and innovation in fire arts. Including 250 years of porcelain creation recognized and protected by a geographical indication.

Limoges enamels exhibited in all the great museums of the world, from New York MOMA to Abu Dhabi Louvre. 120 industrial, technology transfer professionals, research and training, strategic and constitutional actors constitute the ceramics competitiveness pole. 450 researchers, teachers, technicians and doctoral students gathered at the European Center of Ceramics (IRCER). 4 leading training institutions in the field of doctoral studies. L’ENSA National Art School of Art, l’ENSCI National High School of Ceramics ; High School of Art cratf of Mas-Jambost, l’AFPI Limousin Industry Vocational Training Association. 6 major exhibition sites dedicated to fire arts. National Museum Adrien Dubouché, Museum of Beaux- Arts, Bernardaud Foundation, Museum of the Casseaux, Conservatory of the technical arts of Limoges, Foundation Havilland.

Malta Crafts Foundation – Malta

The Malta Crafts Foundation is a public organisation established in 2021, dedicated to enabling the preservation, appreciation and sustainability of Maltese artisanal products and skills.

Its mission is to generate national and international awareness towards Maltese artisanship through educational and promotional efforts, and to stimulate innovation by nurturing an ecosystem which allows artisans to embrace current challenges and transform them into opportunities to ensure the sustainability of the artisan sector, particularly traditional crafts.

In order to fulfil this, the Foundation provides extensive support to craftspersons, helping them develop their skills and creativity in order to safeguard their interests and entrepreneurial value as custom manufacturers.

It is guided in its work by three main pillars: Promotion, Education, and Innovation; all of which are key in order to ensure the long-term sustainability and success of the local artisan sector.

Manises – Spain

Manises, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Spain near Valencia, has been associated with ceramics craft work from its earliest days. Almost 700 years of uninterrupted ceramic activity have left the mark on the tradition, festivities, monuments and urban landscape: a tour around the streets of Manises will offer some examples of ceramics applied to architecture.

The city boasts several exhibition halls and museums: Manises Ceramics Museum counts a collection of over 5,500 pieces, ninety percent of which were realized locally with decorations in green and manganese, cobalt blue, blue; lustre paint produced between the 14th and 16th centuries; baroque polychrome tiles; multicoloured tiles from the beginning of the 20th century along with the ceramics of the modernist period, etc.

Currently, the ceramic sector covers the different areas of craftsmanship, businesses and auxiliary businesses, as well as workshops, associations and training centres.

The city offers a broad programme of activities related to ceramics, among which are the Ceramics Festival and Parade and the International Ceramics Biennial.

Manises is a member of AeCC (Spanish Association of Cities of Ceramics), which is in turn part of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation “Cities of Ceramics”.

www.manisesesceramica.es

Modra – Slovakia

Modra is historically linked with ceramics, honors its tradition and supports its current development. Ceramics is present in Modra in public spaces, museums and home interiors.

The decor of Modran products is based on Haban faience and after the breakdown of the traditional life of the Haban people, it was influenced by local folk motifs: the products have characteristic shapes and patterns. After the demise of the ceramic centers in western Slovakia, it absorbed the entire western Slovak ornamentalism into the decoration and thus became a synonym for Slovak ceramics in general.

In addition to traditional ceramics, Modra also produced modern pieces of ceramics designed by professional artists. These activities are carried out in Modra to this day, realized by Slovak Folk Majolica through regular artist symposiums and workshops attended by artists and students of ceramics from Slovakia and abroad.

National Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttia Folk Art Y.Kobrynskyi, Kosiv – Ukraine

The Yosaphat Kobrynskyi National Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttia Folk Art is one of the most prominent Ukrainian institutions that research, preserve and promote traditional folk art of the Carpathian region.

Founded in 1926, it was the first Ukrainian museum in Halychyna (Western Ukraine). The Museum’s collection includes more than 50 000 artifacts, a number of them dated to thousands of years. The traditional folk crafts of the regions of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttia, such as wood carving, artistic leather and metal work, ceramics, traditional folk costumes, embroidery, woven textiles, and jewelry, Easter eggs, painting and sacred art are represented in the Museum. The oldest samples include sacred art objects, dating to the 17th-19th centuries, which were the parts of Hutsul churches. A traditional Hutsul house is also put on display in the museum. The personal belongings of Andriy Chaikovskyi, the famous Ukrainian writer, lawyer, political and civil activist whose heritage was neglected by the Soviets make a valuable part of the museum exhibition.

More than 250 thousand tourists from over 46 countries visit the National Museum and its branches – The Easter Egg Museum/Pysanka Museum, The Kosiv Museum of Hutsulshchyna Folk Art, The Yaremche Museum Of Carpathian Ethnography and Ecology, and The Shukhevych Family Museum.

Onda – Spain

The municipality of Onda is located in the north of the Valencian Community, in the south of the province of Castellón (Spain).

Thanks to its location and climate, Onda’s economic activity has been based on two main sectors: agriculture and ceramics. There are currently 71 tile factories and 6 artisan ceramic workshops, all of which work with ceramic pieces and two hand-paint on ceramic tiles.

This ceramic tradition has given rise to the Manolo Safont Tile Museum, which houses a ceramic collection of more than 28,000 pieces from all periods and numerous ethnological and industrial objects.

This ceramic tradition can also be seen in the streets of Onda, where some of the most recent examples are the restoration of the old ceramic factory “La Campaneta”; the creation of a ceramic mural that covers one of the main façades of the Municipal Market depicting the journey of a product “from the field to the table”; or the renovation of the “Trencadis” tunnel.

Petrinja – Croatia

Pottery is considered the oldest, most widespread and best-known craft in Petrinja due to the high-quality deposits of clay.

In Petrinja, the tradition of pottery and ceramics is very strong, long and rich so that Petrinja was widely known for its potters and diverse clay products. Thanks to the abundance of very high quality red-toned clay in the area along the Kupa and skilled craftsmen, pottery has been for centuries the most widespread trade, and starting with 1775, Petrinja’s potters were gathered in a pottery guild.

During the summer months, Petrinja hosts various cultural programs. Due to a very long and rich tradition of pottery and ceramics, Petrinja is widely known for its potters and pottery products. Therefore, FLIK – Pottery and Ceramics Festival is held in the summer at the Town beach with various workshops for children and adults as well as for professionals and artists.

Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics – The Netherlands

Housed in the 18th-century city palace of Leeuwarden, the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics is the biggest ceramics museum in the Netherlands.

Both the collection and the museum were initiatives of the collector Nanne Ottema who was granted permission to use the former palace of Princess Mary Louise van Hessen-Kassel (the current Princessehof) by the municipality of Leeuwarden in 1917. The city palace of Maria Louise van Hessen-Kassel, Princess of Orange Nassau, ancestor to King Willem-Alexander, is located at the heart of Leeuwarden’s historic city centre.

The Museum has the largest and most varied collection of Chinese porcelain of the country and has a rich collection of the Dutch Art Nouveau and Art Deco ceramics from the period 1880-1930.  The collections of Chinese Imperial porcelain, magnificent Art Nouveau and iconic Delft Blue objects and works by artists such as Picasso, show that ceramics are of all times and of all ages. In addition to the permanent exhibition From East and West, the museum has a lively programme of varying, much talked-about exhibitions.

 

Sifnos Island – Greece

The island of Sifnos is located in the Aegean Sea and is a part of the south western Cyclades.

The development of pottery in the island of Sifnos is mainly due to the abundance of refractory clay, mixed with the availability of rainwater, suitable fuel, and a mild climate, as well as to the exceptional dexterity and skills of the Sifnian craftsmen in the art of processing the clay, which has been passed from generation to generation through the centuries. Thus over time the adjective ‘Sifnian’ came to mean a person who practises the profession of ‘tsikalas’ (a Sifnian word used to indicate potter), ‘aggeioplastis’ (pot-maker or potter), or ‘kanatas’ (pitcher or jug maker).

Sifnos certainly stands out as the most authentic island of the Cyclades. In 2021, the ceramics of Sifnos became part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Since 2001, with the foundation of the “Sifnian Potters’ Association”, efforts in the preservation and continuation of the craft have been increased. Nowadays there are 16 pottery workshops on the island employing about 30 artisans.

 

Selb, Porzellanikon Museum – Germany

The north-east of Bavaria is, as it has been for more than 100 years, the most important porcelain region in Germany and even Europe. In the centre is the Porzellanikon, a state museum with two locations in Selb and Hohenberg a. d. Eger with an exhibition area of 10,000 m². It presents the traditions of German porcelain since the foundation of the Meissener Manufaktur, illustrates the successes on the world market that have continued to this day, and presents the design developments of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Europe’s largest porcelain collection offers a unique view of 300 years of European cultural history, beauty, elegance, the quest for perfection, figures, tableware, art – things that make life beautiful and useful. A treasure of almost infinite creativity. In the museum in Selb, a former porcelain factory of Rosenthal, the production of white gold is explained and demonstrated in authentic workplaces, from the elaborate manual work by the skilled and knowledgeable porcelain workers to the highly developed computer-controlled production today. The “Mythos Rosenthal”, the history of this world-famous company, is presented in its own exhibition.

The Porzellanikon is part of a region that lived and still lives in the history of porcelain. Cities such as Selb are home to important companies, and for many generations people have worked here and in other places for the production of porcelain and technical ceramics. The Porcelain Route runs through this region, porcelain can be found in the streetscape, big events like the annual Porcelain Festival in Selb in August attract tens of thousands of people to this beautiful low mountain landscape.

State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan – Azerbaijan

Ceramics is one of the most ancient and widespread crafts in Azerbaijan. The first samples of this craft belong to the Neolithic era and the archeological finds show that this craft was developed in almost every major city of Azerbaijan. Today it is the city of Sheki which has kept the traditions alive and where traditional pottery is still a part of daily life.

Sheki’s historical center has been recently inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The combination of geo-climatic location of this ancient city, offering an array of raw materials – clay, timber, river stone, etc. and the rich traditions passing down through generations have facilitated the development of different crafts, including pottery.

The Center for Ceramics and Applied Arts was created to revive the art and craft of ceramics, bring up a new generation of artists, and popularize the different types of clay and ceramic traditions from this region in the world. The First International Ceramics Symposium was held at the ABAD Center for Ceramics and Applied Art in Sheki in 2019.

Today, one can experience pottery in Sheki visiting the small potters’ shops or workshops, the central bazaar and the Center for Ceramics and Applied Arts, or enjoy the specialty food piti in a clay pot, visit Sheki Museum of Ethnography, and admire the architecture of the city featuring ceramic tiling and red bricks.

Talavera de la Reina – Spain

The city of Talavera de la Reina is capital of a natural region, is located in the fertile confluence of the Tagus and Alberche rivers. A city that is served as a wedding present for a queen. Alfonso XI gave it as a wedding gift to Maria of Portugal when he married her in 1328 and Talavera has been called “de la Reina” (of the queen) ever since.

Ceramics in Talavera is known since the 12th century; imported from China and started as a craft by Muslim potters. Furthermore, in 1575 it received the royal patronage and they started to trade through Spain.

Ever since, Talavera has been known like ‘City of Ceramics’. Currently, it counts with several workshops/ shops which can be visited, to know in person the handicraft processof making ceramics.

In addition, Talavera hosts the Museo Ruiz de Luna, exhibiting classic and modern ceramic artworks, together along a section dedicated to Ruiz de Luna, the renowned ceramic artist of the city.

Talavera itself is an open-air ceramics museum, as ceramics is present everywhere

Telemark Museum – Norway

Telemark Museum is a 110 years old cultural history museum. It is a consolidated museum which includes a number of museums within the Telemark County. The Porcelain Museum is the latest new department, which was established in 2015. Porcelain Museum, situated in Porsgrunn, has in its offer both permanent and temporary exhibitions, ceramics workshop and a gift shop where our visitors can buy design items such as porcelain, jewelry and textiles. The museum itself is a mixture of historical items created and produced at the only porcelain factory in Norway and digital installations making it possible to learn more about porcelain in general and more specifically about the porcelain from Porsgrunn. The museum can give the visitors a unique insight into ongoing porcelain production as well as the history of Norwegian porcelain design. The production facility at Porsgrund Porselænsfabrik and their factory outlet is in the same building as the Porcelain Museum. Porsgrund Porselænsfabrik has been producing porcelain since 1887. Established in 1885 by Johann Jeremiassen, the factory has become the leading and only porcelain manufacturer in Norway.

Both museum and factory are situated in Porsgrunn – a town with a long and rich porcelain tradition. One can find sculptures made of porcelain all over the city. The Porcelain Museum offers guided tours around the city and in the factory`s production hall.

The museum has a cooperation with University in South-Eastern Norway and many local artists and craftsmen.

Ph. Stina Glommi

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