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What Is Doucai?

The Beauty Of Chinese Doucai…

Meaning, literally ‘contrasting colours’, or ‘compete for colour’, doucai was a porcelain enamelling technique perfected during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Xuande (Ming Dynasty, 15th century). This created wonderfully decorative pieces, true examples of which are rare but highly-prized by collectors.

The contrasts in that description came during the firing process. A blue and white undegrlaze was first applied to the porcelain, when the pattern was sketched. Once this base had been treated in the kiln at high temperature, the previously outlined areas were filled with a variety of coloured enamels (typically red, yellow, green and aubergine). The porcelain was then fired again, at a lower temperature. The end result was a beautiful piece where the subtle underglaze and decorative overglaze appeared to compete for the observer’s attention.

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