Description Blue and White porcelain in China came about as a result of the combination of the Chinese porcelain tradition with the trade in cobalt blue from Persia. Porcelain is a hard white ceramic composed of white-china clay, called kaolin, and refined porcelain stone, or petuntse. When fired together, these materials fuse to create a hard, vitrified ceramic. Blue and White porcelain is the successor to the Chinese Qingbai and Shufu traditions that preceded it, or ceramics with a white glaze and a slightly blue or blue-green tint. To achieve the Blue and White decorative style, cobalt underglaze is applied to the porcelain; it is then covered in clear glaze and fired. Cobalt was used by Persian potters for centuries before its import to China. It was introduced in approximately 1325 A.D. through with Persian merchant communities established along the Chinese coast. Following the introduction of this new, exotic decorative style, the city of Jingdezhen, known as the porcelain capital of China, began producing Blue and White porcelain wares with imported cobalt. By the late 1600s, groupings of five or seven Chinese porcelain vessels with alternating shapes were often displayed over doors. A complete set was called a "garniture." This piece with a cobalt blue underglaze is from the Kangxi [K'ang-hsi] period (1662-1722) and was made for export to foreign markets.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions reign mark of Kangxi [K'ang-hsi] (1661-1722)
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters
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