JingDeZhen Porcelain Teawares

Jingdezhen, "The porcelain centre of the world."

As the world-famed ceramic capital, Jingdezhen City has a long history of ceramics making and a rich cultural heritage. In accordance with the historical records, “Xinping (as the city was known as then) began to make pottery in Han Dynasty”. It is evident that pottery was first made in Jingdezhen in Han Dynasty. In the first year in Jingde Reign of Song Dynasty (1004), the royal court decreed the city made porcelain wares for imperial use with the wording “Made during the Jingde Reign” printed on the bottom of every piece. Hence the city got its name “Jingdezhen”. From Yuan Dynasty to Ming and Qing Dynasty, emperors sent their officials to Jingdezhen to supervise the manufacture of royal porcelain. They set up the Porcelain Office and built the royal kiln, which produced many wonderful ceramic articles.

The porcelain made in Jingdezhen enjoys the praise of "as white as jade, as thin as paper, as sound as a bell, as bright as a mirror" .Guo Moruo (the late famous historian and scholar) highly praised the brilliant ceramic history and culture in Jingdezhen and the ceramics connected the Jingdezhen to the world closely with the poem that "China is well known by the porcelain, the famous porcelains are made in this city."

Among them were those particularly famous for the four classic decorations: blue and white, famille rose,  color glazecontrasted colors,Colour enamels...

Blue-and-white (青花 Qing Hua)Procelain

"Blue and white wares" designate white pottery and porcelain decorated under the glaze with a blue pigment, generally cobalt oxide. The decoration is commonly applied by hand, by stencilling or by transfer-printing, though other methods of application have also been used.

 

The first blue and white wares were as early as the ninth century in Henan province. In the early fourteenth century mass-production of fine, blue and white porcelain started at Jingdezhen, sometimes called the porcelain capital of China. Chinese blue and white porcelain was once-fired: after the porcelain body was dried, decorated with refined cobalt-blue pigment mixed with water and applied using a brush, coated with a clear glaze and fired at high temperature. Production of blue and white wares has continued at Jingdezhen to this day. Blue and white porcelain made at Jingdezhen probably reached the height of its technical excellence during the reign of the Kangxi emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

 

By the beginning of the 17th century Chinese blue and white porcelain was being exported directly to Europe. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Oriental blue and white porcelain was highly prized in Europe and America and sometimes enhanced by fine silver and gold mounts, it was collected by kings and princes. The early wares of European were strongly influenced by Chinese and other Oriental porcelains and an early pattern was blue onion, which is still in production at the Meissen factory today.

Famille-Rose (粉彩 Fen Cai)Porcelain

Famille rose is the group of Chinese porcelain wares characterized by decoration painted in opaque overglaze rose colors, often involving shades of pink and carmine. These colors were known to the Chinese as yangcai (foreign colors”) because they were first introduced from Europe (around 1685). The enamel paint used was originally the type of glaze applied to metal wares, such as cloisonné, and was adapted to porcelain after it entered China. Nowadays, the term fencai (literally “pink color”) is perhaps more commonly used, and is almost interchangeable with yangcai . However, fencai did not appear in official records until the beginning of the 20th century.  

In general, the steps for making Fencai porcelain are: sketching, finalizing, copying, printing, line drawing, coloring, and dyeing. The steps from sketching to printing a design are the steps needed to create outlines. This is the step for determining the content and image composition of the painting. Finalizing a design is to finalize the ink outline on the surface of the source porcelain. Copying a design is to copy the line drawings from the source to paper. The paper, which contains the outlines, is then printed onto the target porcelain‘s white body. This is called printing a design. After printing the design, the artist can then start the color painting steps described above.

Fencai was the most famous variety of ceramic in the Yongzheng period. The color material was finer than Kangxi's, and the colors were soft with many different levels. Most of them used the white ground (white procelain body), and a small amount of them were decorated with colored grounds. Based on Kangxi’s foundation, Yongzheng Fencai developed greatly and regardless of shape, painting technique, and decoration design, all types of Yongzheng Fencai reached unprecedented levels. Official and civilian kilns all had mass productions. In particular, the delicate official kiln workmanship was comparable to Enamel porcelain which was used exclusively by the emperor. 

contrasted colors (斗彩 dou cai) Porcelain

Doucai is a variety of decorative porcelain formed by the combination of underglaze blue-and-white and overglaze decoration. Before firing, the contour of the pattern should be sketched on the base with blue-and-white, and some part should be filled with blue-and-white too. Then the painted base should be sent into the kiln and fired into blue-and-white porcelain, on which the blank of the previously-sketched pattern should be filled with paints of various colors. And then it should be fired again in the low-temperature kiln with oxiding flame about 800 degrees Celsius. As the underglaze blue-and-white and the overglaze decoration seem to contend for beauty, it is called "Doucai" (literally, compete for color).The firing of doucai porcelain dates back to the Chenghua Period of the Ming Dynasty, which is most well-known for its doucai. Chenghua doucai porcelain features quiet and elegant blue-and-white, bright and smooth white glaze, soft color, as well as white and fine base. It is a rare and fine variety of porcelain. In addition, the doucai procelain made from Kangxi to Qianlong Period is also of high artistic value.