Monday, November 4, 2013

Why blue and white?

The Pink Pagoda
I am linking up on The Pink Pagoda today for the blue and white bash.
I have always wondered why blue and white? Why not green and white or black and white or some other color in Chinese porcelain?
Early Chinese porcelain is most often decorated in blue and white that came from Persian cobalt, a valuable commodity about twice the value of gold at the time and highly prized.


Each time you look at blue and white porcelain imagine the diminished visual impact that gold would have. Bling just isn't the same.

In reading about the history of blue and white porcelain, I learned that it fell out of favor for a time during the Early Ming dynasty.


The Seattle museum of art explains the red: Late fourteenth-century porcelain decorated in underglaze copper red outnumbered wares with underglaze cobalt blue. The shift to copper-red pigment for underglaze painting appears to have been motivated by multiple factors, including the desire of the first Ming emperor to break with the immediate past and assert the Chinese character of the new dynasty. Other factors are the auspicious associations of the color red and the fact that the emperor's family name, Zhu, signifies 'red.' 

I am so glad that trend did not take hold. The export trade that began in the early 14th century continued to drive demand for blue and white.




Porcelain decorated only in blue pigment painted under the glaze dominated the export trade until the very end of the seventeenth century.



 By the late nineteenth century, Chinese export porcelains, especially blue-and-white ware, had achieved a status in this country above the merely utilitarian. Looked upon with nostalgia, they became emblematic of the colonial era.


18 comments:

julielorusso@gmail.com said...

Very interesting. Thanks for giving us the inside story :)

Cathy Wall said...

Nice little history lesson Kerry, it is good to understand the origins of a classic such as blue & white!

Kim said...

Love the lesson ... and it is prettier than the red!! xo

Karena Albert said...

Very interesting. The red is gorgeous as well. I am sure very rare.

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena

Lisa - A Room with A View said...

Definitely has so much impact in any space.

Vel Criste said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vel Criste said...

Very informative Kerry! Thanks!

Andrea said...

Such a fascinating history lesson! Thank you!!

XOXO,
The Glam Pad

Linda {Calling it Home} said...

Wow, great to learn this. My daughter loves history, too. Fun post.

Windlost said...

A classic. I am never tired of it...!

xox

The Famous Home said...

I'm glad blue and white won out over the red as well!

Kristen Alcorta said...

So interesting! Thanks Kerry!

Elisa of Fancy Free Me said...

Nice little history lesson! Thanks girl!

Improvement List said...

What a great post! I definitely learned something new.

BRASWELL said...

I didn't know that + grand post! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Pura Vida said...

why? because it is just plain beautiful!

Mary Jo said...

When I was younger I really loved blue and white pottery. It feels like it's in the air again--thank you for the backstory, I always like a little history to go along with prettiness!

xo Mary Jo
http://MagicalMined.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

I love that light fixture...so cool!