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Color and decoration on the porcelain
Color used for decoration on the porcelain occurred in the late period of Xi Jin Dynasty at first. Then simple designs composed of brown speckles could be found on some celadon in South China. In Sui dynasty, the hair, cap, frown, eyes and the cloths on the porcelain has been painted by black decoration. Underglaze brown glaze was then produced in Changsha ware in Tang dynasty. While Overglaze decoration originated from Song dynasty. Moreover, the blue and white, underglaze red and gold enamels just occurred in Jin and Yuan dynasty.
Various kinds of decorative porcelain occurred in succession in Xuande and Chenghua period of Ming dynasty. For example, clobbering red decorative on the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Xuande and doucai contrasting colors made during Chenghua period. The blue decorative and kingfisher blue were created in Jingdezhen in Qing dynasty. The famille rose possessing unique decoration style was formed gradually in the years of Kangxi and reached the summit in Yongzheng and Qianlong period. Down to the middle period of Qing dynasty, foreign color was began to be used because of the introduction of decorative arts from western countries.
The artistic process during which the pictures, decorations and veins are drawn on the porcelain by special pigment is called decoration. It not only increases the sense of beauty, but also enhances the artistic value of the porcelain. The occurrence of the decoration porcelain was an important milestone in the history of Chinese ceramics. Both Ming and Qing dynasty are the important period in this field.
First of all, the porcelain will be decorated after being fired, then roasted in the Jin kiln. It is rich in color because many coloring pigment can stand the firing temperature. But it is easy to fade after rubbing and contacting with acid or alkali things because the painting is on the glaze. The onglaze decoration was created in cizhou kiln in Song dynasty and developed on the basis of low temperature colored glaze. So it is called "Song red and green decoration". In Ming dynasty, the manufacturing of onglaze single decoration and multi-decoration has been improved greatly. After Qing dynasty, the onglaze decoration has new varieties such as "wucai", color enamels, famille rose, "doucai" and so on.
Underglaze decoration means the design is decorated under the glaze. First, it will be coated a layer of transparent glaze after the design is painted on the body. Then, it is fired with the porcelain only once at the temperature of 1300℃. The characteristic is that the color is soft, smooth, insipid and elegant. At the same time, it doesn't tend to abrase and fade because the decoration is painted under the glaze. But their colors aren't as rich as onglaze decoration because few color can stand high temperature. The underglaze decoration was fired by changsha ware initially. At first, it is underglaze brown decoration and the decoration is very simple. Then, it developed into two decorations including brown and green decoration. After Song and Yuan dynasty, some new kinds appeared, such as blue and white, underglaze red,underglaze "wucai" and so on.
Blue and white
Blue and white is a kind of underglaze decorative porcelain taking on blue veins. Its manufacturing process is as follow: first, the painting is painted by cobalt material on the porcelain. Secondly, it is coated by transparent glaze. Finally, it is fired at the temperature of 1300℃. It has two characteristics. One is that it only uses one color. The other is that it is fired only once. It was widely used on porcelain decoration because of the simple working procedure. Among them, the blue and white made in Xuande period of Ming dynasty was the best because it used a kind of cobalt blue pigment called "suniboqing", which is a kind of ore containing cobalt from abroad. After the years of Chenghua, native blue pigment such as "pingdengqing", "zhuming" material, etc. were used.
The mature blue and white products, which have been found were those fired in Jingdezhen in late Yuan dynasty. That the blue and white was successfully fired represented the epoch-making signification in the history of Chinese porcelain-making. From then on, the color decoration became . Other decorative techniques occupy the subordinate status such as incised decoration, printing decoration and so on.
The ancient underglaze decoration in China was divided into two kinds: blue and red. The blue and white belongs to blue underglaze while the underglaze red is the underglaze decoration of red. It is called "underglaze red" because it is painted under the glaze.
The underglaze red possesses glorious colors and symbolizes a kind of festive atmosphere which is widely accepted since it was initially fired in Yuan dynasty. It was then sequentially produced in Ming and Qing dynasty.Those made during the years of Xuande often appeared red while the ones made during Chenghua period took on bright color. But it declined after the middle years of Ming dynasty until Kangxi period in Qing dynasty. What's more, the products made at the years of Yongzheng were much better than that in the past. It not only possesses the color of bright red but also high productive rate.
The blue and white underglaze red
The blue and white underglaze red is also called " the blue and white plus purple", that is, the fruit, flower pistil etc. are painted by copper red among the blue and white decoration. It was made in Yuan dynasty initially, but terminated in early period of Ming dynasty and then occurred again in the years of Xuande. Afterwards, it was not made until Qing dynasty. It was regarded as the famous varieties in ancient porcelain because it was very difficult to be fired.
The blue and white underglaze red was one of the well known representatives fired in Jingdezhen kiln. It was famous for its florid color, such as blue and white cloud pattern, the blue and white underglaze red dragon design, etc.