Longquan Celadon Wares

The Longquan kilns are considered among the most characteristic kilns of the Song Dynasty, located also in Zhejiang Province, with kilns at Longquan, Dayao, Jincun and elsewhere. It was established during the Five Dynasties Period and inherited the traditions of the Yue kilns, mainly in the discipline of celadon production.

By the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 AD), the Longquan kilns had reached the peak of their achievement. Longquan celadon excelled in the texture and colour of its glaze. Thick and smooth, the glaze was as beautiful as jade, and came in many colours, including moon-white, pea green, light blue, crab shell red, and cream. The most attractive were the Fenqing and plum green glazes. Glazed Fenqing Longquan porcelain appeared slightly cloudy, light milky-green in colour, and easy on the eye. Plum green glaze was deeper and lustrous in comparison; it was jade green with spots of transparency, much like a fresh sour plum. The creation of these two glaze colours was made possible by improvements in firing technology and porcelain crafts.

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Yaozhou Celadon Wares

The Yaozhou kilns were established during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD); their product line included celadon, black, and white porcelain. From the Five Dynasties Period to the early Song Dynasty, these kilns were influenced by the Yu, Yao, and Yue kilns, and developed celadon with engraved designs. The surviving Yaozhou kiln site was found at Huangbao Town, Tongchuan City in Shannxi Province. In the old days, this area belonged to the Yaozhou government. Its products are distinguished by the three development stages.

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Celadon Porcelain History

Celadon ceramics are a type of pottery produced in ancient China. This unique porcelain required relatively high firing temperatures, which called for kilns with sophisticated designs and excellent temperature-retaining characteristics, as well as suitable fuel to generate sufficient heat. Secondly, mastery of selection of porcelain-quality clay and the production and application of high temperature glaze was required.

One cannot discuss Celadon without mentioning the special ‘dragon kilns’ in which Celadon wares were produced. According to archaeological findings, this type of kiln first appeared during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) in the city of Zeng in the Guangdong Province. Later, there was the East Han Dynasty dragon kiln in the Shanglu area of Zhejiang Province, which is better known today.

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Kinrande Wares

Kinrande (meaning “gold brocade”) is a style of porcelain popularised in China during the middle years of the Ming Dynasty. This style became a popular export to Japan and was distinct for its dazzling, intricate and colourful decoration. It was called “gold brocade” in reference to textiles woven through with gold thread to produce a luxurious gold pattern on a coloured ground. This technique however, did not originate in the Ming period, rare porcelains from the Ding kilns of the earlier Song Dynasty already featured golden decorations.

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The Eight Immortals (Ba Xian)

The Eight Immortals (Ba Xian)

One of the most popular Chinese decoration subjects are the Eight Immortals of the Dao religion. The Immortals (either separately or as a group) are legendary figures in Chinese mythology, equivalent of saints in western religion. The term ‘Eight Immortals’ is used to signify or represent happiness, and the number 8 is considered lucky by association, therefore objects or persons in that number are graced accordingly.

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Monochrome Porcelains Of The 18th Century

The monochrome porcelains and biscuit-fired wares of the Qing period are relatively uniform throughout, and can therefore be treated together – not separately by reign, as opposed to the polychrome porcelains, where each reign has its inherent character. The key to the beauty of these pieces, much appreciated in both China and Europe at that time, lies in their technical accomplishment, in the brilliance and finesse of the colours, and the quality and texture of the glaze. All the glazes and enamels are vitrified coverings based on various elements (copper, iron, lead, manganese oxide, etc.), and are best classified according to the firing temperature.

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Ming Wanli Porcelain

The Emperor Wanli ruled China from 1573 to 1620, towards the end of the Ming Dynasty period, which lasted for more than three centuries until 1644. During Wanli’s reign, porcelain makers increasingly produced pieces for the export market to European countries like the Netherlands, as well as for the thriving domestic market. The Dutch East India Company was responsible for much of the export trade, and pieces fetched high prices at auctions in the Netherlands.

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Famille Verte Porcelain History

Kangxi was the fourth emperor of the Qing dynasty and ruled from 1661 to 1722. The best of Famille-Verte porcelain was produced between about 1685 and 1725, with most of it manufactured at the Jingdezhen Imperial factories. These had been reopened at Kangxi’s order after closure during fighting occasioned by the ‘Rebellion of the Three Feudatories’ from 1774-76. Some Famille-Verte pieces were also produced in Canton.

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Famille-Rose Porcelain History

Famille-Rose porcelain gets its name from the pinkish hue that characterises the pieces. This colouring is created by adding colloidal gold, tiny fragments of gold suspended in water, to the glaze. The technique was introduced to China from Europe during the reign of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Yongzheng, who ruled from 1723 to 1735.

Some authorities give Jesuit priests the credit for bringing the process to China, and the Chinese themselves called Famille-rose ‘fencai’, meaning foreign colour.

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Cinnabar Lacquer – History & Creation

Cinnabar Lacquer pieces have a distinctive red colour combined with highly detailed carving. The origins of cinnabar lacquer-ware are lost in the mists of time, but are believed to date back as far as 2,300 years ago. In today’s market, the best available pieces are from the mid- to late-Qing dynasty period of the 18th and 19th centuries, although pieces from the 17th century occasionally appear at auction.

Earlier pieces, dating back as far as the 13th century, are only to be found in museums or private collections. Even those in museum collections are rarely seen because they are so light sensitive.

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