Blue and white porcelain originated in China and the vivid look is achieved via hand painted designs with a blue pigment (commonly cobalt oxide) decorated under the glaze. If you read magazines like the World of Interiors or Elle Decoration you frequently see how blue and white porcelain pieces are really popular as part of a high end interiors schemes - and for good reason, in the right seting they can make a room come alive. There's something so vivid and alluring about the deep cobalt blue designs against the white background.
Photo: Blue and White Porcelain Ginger Jars with baluster form
The blue and white porcelain technique was first developed in China in the 14th century. They were also popular in the Middle East in the 9th century and this cultural interplay can frequently be seen in the hand painted designs which often features Arabesques and other Middle Eastern designs - multiple repetitive floral work and interlaced curlicues. That's why I love the cultural interplay you can trace in blue and white porcelain as trade with other parts of the world influenced the design, a great example of the early influences of globalisation.
Photo: Blue and White Porcelain Planters with Chinese designs including vivid dragons
At different times in China the various dynasties came to generate their own distinctive style of blue and white porcelain. Hence during the Ming Dynasty in the 15th Century it was very popular. It was during the Qing Kangxi dynasty in the 17th century that blue and white porcelain really started to be produced specifically with export to European markets in mind. This increased even more in the 18th century with the Qianlong dynasty so that European motifs coexisted with Chinese scenes on the vases and urns.
Blue and white porcelain increased in popularity so that eventually European factories like Meissen in Germany, Delft in Holland - Delfware - and Worcester and Stafford in England would imitate the Chinese decorative style and Chinoiserie.
Photo: Chinese Kangxi Blue and White Porcelain Lidden Urns - you can see here the Middle Eastern influence in the hand painted designs with floral Arabesques
We carry a range of different styles of Chinese blue and white porcelain, including vases, ginger jars, urns, planters, plates and plaques in Ming, Qianlong, Kangxi and Nanking styles. Many of these pieces are on display in our Hertfordshire showroom so please get in touch for an appointment.
View our range of blue and white porcelain
View our range of Chinese porcelain
Blue and white porcelain on Wikipedia
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