Chinese / Dish / Qing period, Yongzheng era, 1723-1735Chinese
Qing period, Yongzheng era, 1723-1735

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Dish
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1723
Creation End Date: 1735
Creation Date: Qing period, Yongzheng era, 1723-1735
Creation Place: China, Jiangxi Province
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Porcelain painted with overglaze enamels (Jingdezhen ware)
Dimensions: H. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm); D. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.188
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: The Qing dynasty (1644-1912) was a period of relative peace and economic prosperity, and also a time of close ties with Europe. The Qing rulers were avid patrons of the arts. In 1677, the Kangxi emperor (r. 1662-1722) rebuilt the imperial kilns of Jingdezhen, which had been destroyed during the fighting that had led to the establishment of the dynasty, and in 1683 the production of imperial ceramics resumed. The creation of a range of opaque overglaze enamels was one of the most important contributions made to ceramic technology during the Qing. The enamels used to paint ceramics in earlier periods had been transparent and of limited hues, but the development of opaque colors allowed painters to blend tints together to create the varied gradations of shades and hues found on Qing-period porcelains. The colors developed in the early part of the Qing period were used throughout the dynasty and continue to be used today in the decoration of porcelain. An important element in Qing painted porcelains is the addition of shades of pink to the overglaze enamel palette. An opaque white derived from a lead arsenite and a pale pink were among the last opaque overglaze enamels to be developed, possibly because they are very difficult to manufacture. The pink overglaze enamels were tinted with colloidal gold (fine fragments of metal in suspension in the enamel), and scholarly debate continues regarding the possibility of European contributions to this technology.

The combination of beautiful shapes, refined bodies,sophisticated colors, and elegant paintings that characterizes Qing-period porcelains helped to spur a desire for these ceramics in the West. One result of the 17th- and 18th-century Western fascination with Qing porcelains was the development of a series of French terms to classify these wares. Of these, famille verte for porcelains that are painted primarily in shades of green and famille rose for porcelains that have shades of pink in their design are the most common. Neither term is used in Chinese scholarship; instead, Chinese scholars use such terms as 'foreign colors' (yangcai), 'powdered colors' (fencai), 'soft colors' (ruancai), or 'enamel colors' (falangcai) to describe porcelains with opaque overglaze enamel decoration.

The range of colors used to paint this dish, dated to the reign of the Yongzheng emperor (1723-1735) by a mark on the base, illustrates the famille rose palette. Colors such as the blue-green of the lichen and the white-pink and pale green of the peaches were only possible because of the expanded palette made available by the development of opaque enamels. Images of five bats and eight peaches embellish the dish and flow from the exterior to the interior. In Chinese, the words for bat and for happiness are pronounced fu, and peaches are a symbol for longevity. A very similar motif, in which the bat and peaches are combined with a cliff and waves, is often used to symbolize birthday greetings.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 82.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.188
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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