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Title: Chats on Oriental China

Author: J. F. Blacker

Release Date: January 12, 2015 [EBook #47942]

Language: English

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With Coloured Frontispieces and many Illustrations.
Large Crown 8vo, 5s. net.


By Arthur Hayden.


By Arthur Hayden.


By Arthur Hayden.


By G. Woolliscroft Rhead.


By Mrs. Lowes.


By J. F. Blacker.


By J. J. Foster.



High-necked vase with melon-shaped body and double protuberance above. One of a pair. Formal handles on the neck in imitation of bamboo-work. The body and protuberances decorated with bamboo stems having yellow and green reserves decorated with flowers and plants. The neck decorated with diaper pattern, yellow on green. The flattened top ornamented with black and green triangle-work.

Period, (Kang-he) 1662-1722.

Chats on









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If there is one regret that accompanies the issue of these "Chats on Oriental China" it is that the illustrations could not be given in all the beauty of their magnificent colouring. In a photograph, however fine it may be, it is obvious that only the shape and the decoration can be given. Roughly speaking, the illustrations represent in its Ming and Kang-he specimens about £100,000 in value. The pieces represented are the most admirable and the rarest. The reader is advised to bestow much attention on the reading of the descriptions accompanying each picture. There is no form of instruction more valuable than this analysis, which forms the basis of the sale catalogues of the most recherché collections.

The collector who masters this book may betake himself to the museums with considerable confidence that he will be in a position to understand; in fact, to read the pieces which he wishes to study. Take for example, the unique Salting Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington. To the ordinary visitor interested in porcelain the specimens present an exquisite, if embarrassing, assembly of choice pieces whose colour, decoration, and age cannot be grasped, they can only be admired.6 The eye may be trained, but the understanding never. The absence of a catalogue handicaps and indeed baffles the amateur. But if the knowledge previously obtained is sufficient to enable him to master the subject, the style, form, and colour, nothing can give more pleasure than the investigation of such a collection which has been brought together at a vast expense of time, money, and knowledge. In the British Museum the descriptive labels are helpful.

In this book the reader will find some statements repeated perhaps over and over again. When we chat about anything we do repeat the points on which we want information, or in which we may be specially interested. The information is concise, so that, section by section, the range of Oriental porcelain will pass before the student, the chief consideration which regulates the letterpress being the space at our disposal.

Naturally the labour bestowed on repression is considerable. When we consider the National Collections of England, France, and Germany alone we find material for many volumes. Perhaps of all the museums that of Limoges, where the Jacquemart and Gasnault collections are so well cared for, is one of the most instructive, and the lover of old Oriental could not do better than spend a holiday at this delightful old French town with the object of really learning what these two friends teach.

With regard to books of reference, all of the recognised authorities have been studied, especially the Jacquemart and Gasnault catalogues and descriptions, and the Petit Guide Illustre au Musée Guimet. The visitor to Paris should make a point of visiting this museum, so little known, so intensely7 interesting, at the junction of the Rue Boissière and the Avenue d'Iena. Its aim is to propagate a knowledge of the civilisation of the East, to facilitate the study of ancient historical religions largely by means of images, statuettes, or figures. There we see classified methodically, in chronological order, representations of the various divinities in which form and attitude both have a meaning. The specimens are old and rare. The catalogue of the Franks Collection is referred to in the various chapters. Formerly exhibited at the Bethnal Green Museum, the collection is now distributed in the British Museum, where the pieces may be recognised as having a printed description. The two volumes by the late W. G. Gulland are delightful and very helpful, and it was the privilege of the writer to have spent some hours in his company shortly before his lamented decease.

I owe sincere thanks to Mr. Edgar Gorer, of S. Gorer and Son, Bond Street, for his constant courtesy and his kindness in supplying most of the fine illustrations in the book, and for securing permission from other collectors to use their photographs. And more than this, his practical knowledge has been put at my disposal in every way, and specially in reading the proofs. To Messrs. Duveen Brothers, of Bond Street, I am indebted for specimens specially noted. To other friends who have helped recognition is due, especially to Mr. C. H. McQueen, whose knowledge of Chinese porcelain has been altogether at my disposal.

The marks are those given in the Franks catalogue, in Mr. Gulland's books, and in the Guimet Museum guide. The vastness of the subject here shortly treated may bring many collectors into touch with one another, and the author hopes that they will8 avail themselves of the opportunity of using him as the medium for this intercommunication.

Finally, with regard to the illustrations and the lessons they teach, the reader will note that vases have been selected wherever this has been possible. Generally speaking the vase, being an ornamental and purely decorative object, has received from the Chinese potter that artistic—one is almost tempted to say that reverential—treatment which embodies all that is best in his ceramic art. For the rest, it may be that the mythological aspects of the Oriental decoration, its divinities and their attributes, have received unusual attention. The Buddhist faith, here feebly exposed, embodies the highest truths, and Taoism, the more popular religion, cannot be neglected by any student of Oriental porcelain. The Japanese section is not illustrated. Japanese collectors are keen in collecting old Chinese specimens.










The chief books referred to in this volume are:—

Franks, Sir A. W. Bethnal Green Collection. Catalogue of Original Pottery and Porcelain.

Gulland, W. G. Chinese Porcelain. 2 vols. With Illustrations.

The small Guide to the Musée Guimet. Paris.


Base. The solid support or bottom of any vessel either simple or ornamentally shaped.

Beaker. The Chinese beaker is a trumpet-shaped vase, having neither handle nor spout nor beak.

Biscuit. Porcelain unglazed, having no gloss.

Body. The part of a vase which corresponds with the body in the human figure. The shape may be simple, or two or more forms combined.

Bottle. A vase with spheroidal body, long neck and narrow mouth. The gourd-shaped Oriental bottle may be double, having three bodies diminishing from the bottom upwards.

Burnt-in. A term used to distinguish the painted from the enamelled porcelain, the first being burnt in with the glaze, the second having the colours laid over the glaze.

Celadon. The soft green colour upon pieces of old Oriental. See further in the section dealing with colours mixed with the glaze and burnt in at the first firing. European glaze is nearly always transparent and colourless.

China or Porcelain Paste is translucid, in pottery it is opaque.

18 Colours. Five colours:—green, yellow, aubergine, blue, and red. Three colours:—green, a curious shade; yellow, varying from pale to bright; aubergine, also varying in tone.

Egg-shell China first appeared in the Yung-lo period, and later it was as thin as bamboo paper. Under the Lung-king and Wan-leih emperors pure white porcelain of this kind was called "egg-shell." In many pieces the paste is so thin as to appear to be only two layers of glaze.

Enamel. Mixed with a glassy composition were certain transparent or opaque colours which were used in over the glaze decoration. In pottery they are used in the glaze.

Fen-ting. Soft paste, or more correctly, soft glaze porcelain.

Figures, Figurines, Magots, Statuettes, are single, grouped, or attached as ornaments to a piece; such as the eight immortals, etc.

Forms. These are diversified. Cylindrical, globular or spheroidal, egg-shaped or ovoid; apple-shaped or pomiform, pear-shaped or pyriform; cubical, hexagonal, etc.

Glaze. The composition used for coating porcelain or pottery. It literally means covering with glass or any vitrifiable substance having similar properties.

Grand Feu. The kiln at its greatest heat in which the clays were acted upon so as to produce porcelain or pottery. The decoration was often fixed in the "petit feu," or muffle kiln. The hard firing, when less than the maximum heat was required, was done in the "demi-grand feu."

Graviata. This name is given to patterns traced or cut on the porcelain or on the enamel.

"Hundred Antiques." A form of decoration, consisting of utensils, symbols, vases, &c., called "po-ku."

Kaolin. Porcelain or china clay, derived from the decomposition of granite rocks.

Kiln. "Grand feu" first baking, temperature about 4717° Fahrenheit. "Demi-grand feu" for fixing colours which could bear intense heat which were applied before glazing. More delicate enamel colours were applied for firing in the "petit feu" or muffle kiln.

Mandarin. A term applied to Chinese porcelain decorated with a certain class of figure subjects.

Mice China has ornament, in high relief, of the branches, leaves, and fruit of the vine, with squirrels or foxes, so-called mice, also in relief. It is Mandarin eighteenth century as a rule.

Moulds. These are used for figures and for the various ornaments which are fixed upon the piece.

Naga. This word translated means Dragon, which is dealt with under that name.


Neck. In the bottle, flagon, and flask, the neck is of different length and form. The throat may be narrow or wide, inclining inwards or outwards, or even perpendicular.

Ornaments. These are very varied. They may be in relief, reticulated, impressed, engraved in the paste; or they may be arabesque, grotesque; or they may be lines in angles, lozenges, zigzags, ribbons, and paintings of every kind.

Paste. The body of which porcelain or pottery vessels is made. Hard paste cannot be scratched or filed and resists the action of great heat. Soft paste is easily scratched and is melted by intense heat.

Pekin Ware is graviata of the Taou-kwang period. It was never made in Pekin, but the name is still used.

Petuntze. Pulverised "china rock" forming a white paste (pe-tun) made into bricks (petuntze). It melts in the heat of a porcelain furnace into a milky glass.

Pin-points are tiny holes found on the bottom of early Chinese porcelain.

Porcelain. A compound of kaolin and petuntze. The kaolin is not fusible, the petuntze vitrifies and envelopes the kaolin, producing a smooth compact body which is translucent.

Pottery. This is formed of a mixture of clays. Ordinary potter's-clay is used for common earthenware, and a blue clay, of a greyish colour, is much used in making flint-ware.

Saucer. The old Chinese form of the plate is always saucer-shaped. The flattening of the rim produced the dish and plate. Raising the sides gave the bowl, basin, and cup. By adding a handle we have the tea-cup.

Seggar. This is the protective vessel or case in which the pieces of porcelain or pottery are burnt in the kiln.

Slip. The liquid clay which is applied to the piece, under or over the glaze, either by pouring or painting.

Stoneware. Hard pottery which forms the link between porcelain and earthenware. In Chinese products stoneware is used with self-colours applied in the glaze.

Vases. All vessels used for drinking cups and goblets, for ointments or perfumes, for holding, carrying, or pouring wine, oil, or water; and similar or varied forms used solely for ornament.

Willow Pattern. A popular decoration of Nankin blue services. There are several varieties, but all have the weeping willow.

Yao-pien. The Chinese name for splashed, "shot" silk, or variegated glazes.







This book does not pretend to do more than to indicate to the collector the lines on which collections could or should be made, for "Chats on old Oriental China" scarcely imply a scientific treatise. Incidentally one point will lead on to another, but with always this object in view, to send the collector to the museums to train his eye as well as his understanding and to bring him in touch with all that makes for beauty in Oriental porcelain, a porcelain teaming with mythology, having decorations saturated with that mythology, full of emblems of all that concerns the best and highest life of the Chinese, pointing, we may say, to a religion which, although feebly understood in Europe, has been for centuries a real moving factor in the national life of the Oriental peoples. Hence, when we find the earliest European copies framed on Chinese mythology, and birds and flowers and beasts all unknown to the Occidental mind figuring upon vases at Dresden, at Chelsea, or at Sèvres we are struck24 with the incongruity of the association. All European factories, at the first, strove to imitate that porcelain which had been in existence in China long before history in Europe had begun its accurate chronology.

There are collectors of the European productions who revel in the delights of fine Dresden groups, of marvellous Chelsea or Worcester vases, of Bristol figures and the other magnificent productions of the European factories in earthenware and porcelain, but we may safely say that the collector who takes up the study of Oriental porcelain relegates all these European productions into oblivion, and has only one desire, to secure the best possible specimens from the land of far Cathay.

The collection of Oriental porcelain is not easy, especially with regard to the finer productions. The old figures, vases and dishes made hundreds of years ago, decorated with taste and skill beyond all comparison, these can be purchased only by the few. But there are many genuine old pieces still unrecognised, but valuable, each telling its own story, and that story one that can be learnt. We said that there were dangers to the collector, and this is true; for centuries the Chinese and Japanese have reproduced with minute accuracy the early productions—the Ming and the Kang-he—and the European factories have, in these later times, poured out upon the market many marvellous forgeries which would deceive, possibly, the very expert. The German imitations are passable, but those produced in France, especially in Paris, are so excellent that it would be well for buyers to judge of them, by daylight only—in fact, in buying any fine porcelain this rule should be adhered to. Remember this, there is no forgery existing which would deceive an25 expert worthy of the name, as there is, without exception, always a failure in some point, either in the colouring, glazing, paste, or drawing, which betrays the copy to a thorough student of Chinese porcelain. The best imitations are those made in Hungary about forty to fifty years ago; the German copies by comparison are very inferior and weak. Never buy by artificial light, for "colours seen by candle-light do not look the same by day." Marks on porcelain should always be ignored, except when the piece bearing the said mark is beyond doubt; it is an added interest to have a mark of the proper period. Not alone are patterns forged, but marks are forged; hence when pattern and mark both agree with the old example, something more is required than a mere superficial knowledge of pattern and mark—that is, the paste or body has to be known, and more, the eye has to be trained so as to distinguish the special character of the piece—in fact, it is the tout ensemble which to the finest judges is the surest guide. They cannot tell why they know, but by a look they do know. It may be that the atmospheric influences extending over long years has softened and modified the colours and taken from them their boldness, so that when paste and glaze and colour all please the trained eye the purchase may be made in safety. And here we should advise our readers rather to buy from a respectable dealer than at auction sales. In the excitement of auction sales higher prices may be paid than would be prudent, or, indeed, it may be that the quality of the specimen bid for is not exactly that which the buyer requires, and the difficulty of changing it is accentuated when the purchaser buys at an auction. In fact, to a beginner with money to spend, no advice can be better than that he should26 put himself in the hands of a respectable dealer, informing him of his wants, telling him the price he is prepared to pay, and leaving him to deal squarely and fairly. Not only is there danger of the marks being forged and the pattern copied, but really old pieces of Oriental porcelain are often redecorated, so that upon an old piece is found the most elaborate decoration. This to the collector is most puzzling. He sees the porcelain is rare, and, as we have said, really old, and that the pattern and colour of the decoration is what he has been accustomed to either at Exhibitions, such as those in the National Museums, or in illustrations as given in the best books, yet the specimen is not right and it can be tested. The enamel decoration on a re-decorated piece produces a different effect from that upon an old piece. In the latter the enamel colours do not stand out like modern oil painting, but they lie flat and agree in general character and tone with the porcelain itself. Sometimes, in these re-decorated pieces, traces of the old decorations, covered up under the modern enamel decorations, may be found.

Amongst other hints to the collector of old Oriental porcelain must be one with regard to cracked and mended porcelain. By this we mean not alone those pieces which are built up as far as some particular part is concerned, and which can be tested by striking the various parts with a coin, when the difference between the ring of the original part and the dull sound from the composition used in mending may be easily detected. Further, the sense of smell may be brought into play. Generally, the composition used in mending old porcelain in this way smells of oil or turpentine. The third test may be applied by means of a magnifying-glass27 which will at once reveal the difference between the smooth original glaze and the varnish glaze added to cover the mend. But this is not all. Some mending is done at the factories, where a piece of porcelain of the same tone and colour, with the same decoration, is built and fixed on to the sound piece in such a way as to leave no trace that can be detected by sound, sight, or smell. In this case it really matters very little, as the character of the old porcelain is so well preserved that the piece may be regarded as being perfect. A very simple test for detecting a repair in porcelain is to pass the point of a pin, not too heavily, over the suspected part, when if the original has been at all interfered with, scratches and marks of the pin will be easily seen.






Nearly the whole of Oriental porcelain is hard paste. By this we mean it cannot be cut with a file. Both paste and glaze are hard, and although some people speak of soft-paste Oriental porcelain our observation teaches us that it is so rare that it may be neglected by the ordinary collector, who, if he should accidentally find a piece, will remember that this soft paste is of a very white colour with an opaque look, and for painting under the glaze seemed to have the disadvantage that the colours were more liable to run than on the ordinary description, which is just like what has been found on early English soft-paste porcelain, where the colours are liable to run upon the paste. In the Chinese soft paste better effect was produced by the hatching and stippling style of decoration which was adopted in later times and superseded the broad washes adopted in the Kang-he period.

Porcelain in China was usually formed of two materials, of which one—Pe-tun-tze—resembles our China stone. It is a white fusible material, a mixture of felspar and quartz, obtained from pounded rock and formed into cakes or bricks, hence its Chinese name.


The other material is named Kaolin, or China clay. It is infusible, and is derived from the decomposed felspar of granite. This is also formed into cakes. When these two materials, China rock and China clay, have been thoroughly ground, cleansed, sifted and refined into an impalpable powder, they are kneaded together in varying proportions to form a clay ready for the potter. The wet clay is turned on the potter's wheel or table, then is passed through the hands of various workmen who add handles and other decorations made in moulds, who smooth the surface and so work upon it that the next process—the drying process—is preparatory to the under-glaze decoration. In this semi-soft state the foot remains a solid mass. Any decorations in blue or red or other colours which can be applied under the glaze are then used for painting the under-glaze decoration. The glaze is next applied in various ways by dipping, by blowing on with a tube, by sprinkling, and so on. When these processes have been completed it only remains for the potter to fashion the foot upon the wheel and to inscribe any mark which may be adopted. These being then coated with glaze, the piece is ready for the furnace.

Porcelain placed in the kiln to be fired has to be protected in strong clay vessels called seggars, which admit the heat but protect it from injury. Every piece is placed in the kiln according to the temperature which is necessary for its complete firing. Some pieces would be placed at the top of the kiln, other pieces at the tip-top of the kiln, very much in accordance with the practice in our English potteries at the present time. The furnace when full is entirely bricked up and the whole contents of the kiln are kept at a great heat, usually for a night and a day, after which the kiln33 is allowed to cool off, and in due time the porcelain is removed. In speaking of white porcelain, or porcelain decorated under the glaze, the process is now complete, but if enamel colours are used further burnings in a kiln take place. After the enamel decoration has been applied over the glaze—and the painters who use the enamel colours may take long weeks or months in decorating a single piece—and until the whole is finished, the piece is fired again and again in a kiln at a much lower temperature, the process being quite similar to the previous one, although the heat is much less. Colours which are applied with the glaze, as we shall see later—self-colours, such as the Celadons—pass only through the first process and need no second firing.

In Chinese porcelain it is well to note that no distinction is made between pottery and porcelain; the European distinction is that whereas pottery is opaque, porcelain is translucent. It is often difficult to say when heavy Celadon colours are applied to pieces of Oriental manufacture whether the body is porcelain or pottery. The pieces decorated with heavy Celadon colours are very often on a porcellaneous stone ware, which is generally accepted as marking the evolution period between pottery and the hard porcelain. There are many examples of fine pottery—stone ware—dating from the Ming period which are unmistakable.







We have noted previously that the decoration of Oriental porcelain is largely bound up in mythology, nay, more, it is largely connected with religion. The religions of China must therefore receive some attention from those who would really understand the beauty of the decorations used by the Chinese. China possesses three principal religions, of which two are national—Confucianism and Taoism—one imported from India—Buddhism. Although Confucianism may be said to be the official religion of the Court, of the functionaries, and of the learned, it is not a religion in the sense which we attach to the word. Confucius was the reformer of the ancient national religion, which was really fetishism. It is a code of practical morality based upon the duties and obligations of mankind, and respect for both ancestors and antiquity. Idols such as images of gods and spirits are put on one side. Confucius recognised implicitly the existence of a God creator of the world—Chang-ti, the Emperor Supreme, or Thien, the Heaven; the Emperor alone as "Son of Heaven" was, as it were, the priest, acting in the name of all his people, addressing to the Creator of the world prayers and thanksgivings, at38 the winter and summer solstices and at the spring equinox.

Not alone does the God of Heaven partake of these ceremonies in the Imperial worship, but the goddesses of the earth, and the various genii of the waters, of the mountains, and stars, and the Imperial ancestors. No images are made of these, and they are only represented on the altars by tablets on which are their names. Confucianism orders respect and veneration for ancestors, who ought to be cherished and treated as if they were living, so that the ancestral worship was an incessant witness of gratitude and thanks, which has become the only real religion of the followers of Confucius in China.

Confucius was born in 551 B.C. After his death the gratitude of the sovereigns and the admiration of the peoples gave him a rank almost divine. Every city built temples to him, not as a god whom they worshipped, but as a man whom they venerated as a benefactor, and as the master respected by the nation as a great saint in civil life. There are not to be found many images or pictures on Oriental porcelain of Confucius or his followers, for the reason stated that Confucius simply settled a system of morality.


Taoism differs from the doctrines of Confucius in that it is a gross religion made of superstitious local beliefs in fetishes and demons curiously amalgamated with the higher metaphysical doctrines of the philosopher Lao-tseu, who was born 604 B.C. He included nearly all of the old Chinese religions, which Confucius had reformed by taking away its superstitions. This he did in order to fight more advantageously against the reforms of39 Confucius. In reality, this religion agrees with others; we may say that all the doctrines of all the religions make a great difference between the beliefs of the common people and those of philosophers and of learned men, for in the higher sense the doctrines of Lao-tseu and his eminent disciples were able to be maintained without danger of comparison against those of Confucius or the most illustrious thinkers of ancient India. Taoism in its popular form recognised a supreme God creator of the world, similarly named to the God recognised by Confucianism, Thien, Heaven, or Tien-kong, God of Heaven, but above him he places a Trinity called the "Three Pures," really the "Three Pure Ones," of whom Lao-tseu was one, representing the spirit of knowledge or of wisdom. Below this Trinity is found a multitude of gods, genii, demons, spirits of Heaven, of the earth, of the sea, of the waters, of the mountains, of the rivers, of the provinces, of the cities, of the villages, &c., all designated under the collective name of Chens, "spirits." For the most part these are ancient heroes, literary men or philosophers deified; hence the gods, such as the eight immortals, are often found as images, or used as decorations, upon vases and other pieces of Oriental porcelain. We give two figures as illustrations.


The earliest history of Buddha is an account of his death written in the Pali language, four centuries B.C. Neither this, nor any of the other histories ranging through the ages to our own times is an authentic story of his life and work—it is simply a legend more or less embellished. The mythology is as follows: Gautama, named Siddhârtha, the highly gifted son of a Thâkur, or noble of the Rajput 41tribe, quitted his father's house in order to meditate upon the evil in the world—upon its origin and its extirpation. He went to ask the advice of two Brahmins who were renowned for their piety, but they were unable to satisfy his yearnings for a higher life. He rested, it is true, faithful to their doctrines—the fundamental truths which they taught—transmigration of souls with a final emancipation, but he saw that their asceticism led only to the enfeebling of the higher powers of the mind, so he decided to find some place where he might find peace in meditation. After a long period spent in reflection, he decided to quit his refuge and preach his faith. He found in Benares, in the "Woods of the Gazelles," his first disciples, and accompanied by them he journeyed through Western Bengal, during forty-five years, honoured by princes, loved by the people, in whose language he preached, till he died of old age probably about 477 B.C. You will note, later, the mille cerfs decoration of Chinese porcelain made in remembrance of this beginning of Buddhism.



Paô-yueh-kouang, Goddess of the Moon. Tien-kong, God of the Sun.

Buddha taught four truths. First, of evil. Birth, sickness, and death produce pain, so does the separation from those we love and the desire to secure what we cannot obtain. These joined to the knowledge of existence are the causes of evil. Second, of the origin of evil. The influence of the outside world—suggestion from outside—leads to covetousness and all that sensuality brings. Third, of the end of evil. This is only accomplished by the complete suppression of ardent desires—self-abnegation. Fourth, of the method of suppression. Abstention from humiliating and unprofitable self-indulgence in any form on the one side, and the renunciation of any belief in torture which is ruinous42 and vain as a means of spiritual growth. Every being is subject to evil, nature in each is essentially the same. Gods, demons, men, and animals are only different degrees of existence. Humanity is the best condition, for only man can attain salvation, he only can obtain deliverance. Regeneration operates only after death and is regulated by the actions done during life. The process is secret, and only step by step, higher and higher, does knowledge of truth lead onwards through the path of salvation to the place eternal—the Nirvana. Only in this blessed abode does the soul rest free from the obligation of being born again, of suffering without cessation the miseries of life.

Buddhism flourished in India during many centuries, especially in the third century B.C., when in the reign of king Açoka, it became missionary, but about 1100 A.D. it was banished from that country and spread through Eastern Asia, where it has at the present time more than four hundred millions of believers. In China there are eighteen principal sects of this religion, so that it is not surprising that the Chinese Buddhists should commemorate upon their porcelain gods, goddesses, and religious ceremonies of various types, especially as it adopted local superstitions and legends, and lent pomp and éclat to the worship of the dead. Its pliancy and activity are still marvellous.






Our first task will be to classify the porcelain according to the order of its discovery, and in this relation we shall be largely guided by form and colour, which in the oldest pieces is naturally less diversified than in the later. Perhaps the oldest pottery is that improperly called boccaro, owing to its resemblance to the pottery which, in Portugal, bore this name, and as we shall see presently the Portuguese were the first to visit the land of far Cathay. The colours on boccaro ware are very varied—and some imitate bronze. Many coloured enamels cover other pieces with a dense glaze which completely hides the shape or body. These pieces are usually moulded, but examples have been found where the decoration has been cut with a tool in the paste when wet. Other specimens have been carved in the paste after it had been dried in the sun.

The second class in order of age would be white porcelain made of kaolins from different districts, which gave different tints to the white, and unequal densities to the ware, some being heavy and some light. Possibly the light ware of this period gave46 rise to the idea of soft paste. The white itself varies in tint from a fine creamy glaze, which is very beautiful, called "blanc de chine." Then there is a bluish white called "white of snow," and a plain white called "white of flour." The creamy white is valued very highly by the Chinese themselves, and "Franks" mentions an instance where a Hong Kong merchant, after making many magnificent presents to an English gentleman, gave him as an object of great value a white cup of this kind enclosed in a case lined with silk. This "blanc de chine" was highly esteemed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, especially in France and Spain. It is interesting to notice that this kind of white ware was imitated by the early makers of European porcelain at St. Cloud and Chelsea, and many of these specimens of white hard paste have been ascribed to Plymouth, which, with Bristol, was the only factory to make hard paste in England. The Chelsea imitation of an Oriental teapot with raised flowers is the one which has the noted mark of the raised anchor on a tablet.

With regard to colour applied under the glaze, blue was the first to be so employed. Cobalt had a facility for cohering with the body itself, therefore it was utilised for decoration before the glaze was applied. Sometimes the transparent white glaze was replaced by a blue tinted glaze. In that case, the blue decoration, applied under the glaze by painting on the body of the ware itself, could be easily seen through the blue glaze. Red, derived from copper,1 was applied under the glaze, sometimes alone, sometimes with blue, forming the decoration of two colours under the glaze. With these colours used under the glaze, as with the blue alone, the47 blue tinted glaze was frequently substituted for the transparent glaze. This red was the red derived from copper. At about the same period the reds, derived from iron and gold, were applied as enamel colours upon the glaze at a lower temperature than that used in the main kiln. The second kiln was called a "muffle" kiln. The glaze and the enamel colours were both melted by the heat in the muffle kiln, but the body was not affected. Direct heat was not required, but the melting process was sufficient to unite the glaze itself and the enamel colours so firmly that in some cases the coloured enamel might be taken for the glaze. Generally, however, these enamel colours project far enough from the covering glaze as to be easily felt by the finger.

1 This copper-red is very brilliant, and has an iridescent effect when examined by reflected light.

Next followed the use of gold applied to decorations on the black—"famille noire"—and green families or on other enamels. Amongst the most beautiful of these enamels was the green, which was applied upon the glaze by the fire of the "muffle" furnace. This colour was derived from copper, and is called "vert de cuivre." It soon held a high place in the scheme of decoration of vases, plates, and dishes, as well as figures of the highest quality, and is recognised as a distinct family, "la famille verte." But whilst the reds and the greens were enamelled on the glaze, blue was still employed for decoration under the glaze. These "familles" are separately dealt with and illustrated.

In order of the discovery of the colours next comes violet from manganese, and the yellows from cadmium and iron, creating a new series, which is termed the yellow family, "la famille jaune." All these yellows were enamel colours, but they were not often used alone. Sometimes there is a combina48tion of two groups, as green and yellow or green and red. These have been classified as "jaune verte" and "rose verte." We simply refer to these names in case any of our readers should come across them in the descriptive catalogue or in books dealing with Oriental porcelain. Perhaps the most beautiful of all the enamel colours applied to Oriental porcelain is the rose, a red derived from gold. Bearing in mind that we are roughly tracing the age of the colours, that is, the period of their application, this rose red would bring us to the Yung-ching and Keen-lung periods. Enriched as the Chinese potters were by this superb tint, they simply revelled in dominating their productions with it. It is classified as the rose family, "la famille rose." To these periods belong the beautiful class of pink back plates, to which further reference will be made later.

Onward from this time, the trading relations between Europe and China becoming more and more intimate, foreign influences began to make themselves felt in the Chinese potteries; in fact, the Europeans demanded and paid for European shapes and European designs, so that European subjects were reproduced with more or less fidelity, and "armorial" porcelain, on which the arms or crests of European families were painted in enamel on vases, table services, and decorative pieces of various kinds.

At this period, too, we find evidences of the influence of the Christian missionaries in China, as shown by the religious subjects enamelled or painted on plates, such subjects, for instance, as "The Crucifixion" and other scenes of biblical history. We have stated that the decoration was modified to meet the wants of the European market, and we note also that the various shapes were also modified to suit that market. The Chinese49 used saucer-shaped dishes, but these were largely replaced, for exportation only, by dishes and plates with rims, so that we finally reach the last class, the porcelain called "East India Company" china, decorated with subjects not armorial, nor scriptural, but European. The Chinese themselves were faithful copyists, imitating exactly the pattern from which they had to work. We shall deal with this subject more fully in a later chapter.






We have dealt shortly with the religions of China, and it is necessary to note in this connection how the emblems of the various religions became embodied as part of the decoration of porcelain; in fact, figures of the gods and goddesses were made associated with the symbols which seemed to indicate their work, and these comprised the dragon, the kylin, the lion, and the Fung-Hwang, Fwang-Hwang, Fong-Hoang or Ho-Ho Bird. N.B.—Variously spelt.

The Dragon.

The dragon is a familiar object on Chinese porcelain, and being the Imperial arms it typifies all that is powerful and indeed terrible. Especially sacred is the dragon of heaven—lung; but li, the dragon of the sea, and kiau, the dragon of mountains and marshes, are also worshipped and feared. The dragons are either scaly, winged, horned, hornless, or rolled up before rising to the sky in spring, or plunging into the water in autumn. The Imperial dragon is armed with five claws on each of its54 four members, and is used as an emblem by the Emperor's family, and by princes of the highest two ranks. The four-clawed dragon is used by princes of the third or fourth class. Mandarins and princes of the fifth rank have, as an emblem, the four-clawed serpent. The three-clawed dragon—the Imperial dragon of Japan—is, in China, the one commonly used for decoration. The sacred pearl, adorned with the Yang and the Yin, representing the male and female elements in nature, always appears to be attracting the dragon.


The Unicorn, Kylin, or Kilin.

The kylin, or k'i-lin, was an animal symbolising longevity and good government. It is often found55 upon porcelain as a part of the decoration. Its form is more like a deer than anything else, though it has the hoofs of a horse and the tail of an ox. Its head is like that of the dragon, and the body may or may not be covered with scales. In its mouth a bundle of scrolls or some symbol may often be found. Other monsters, notably the Corean lion, also called the Dog of Buddha or the Dog of Fô, are called kylins, but the true kylin is as described above. Though hideous in aspect, it shows the kindest disposition, and is so gentle that it would not step upon a worm.


The Corean Lion.

This animal, often miscalled kylin, is the habitual defender of Buddhist altars and temples, hence its name, the Dog of Buddha or the Dog of Fô. Its appearance is almost always menacing with its sharp, powerful teeth and claws. In reality it is a sort of lion transformed. It has a bushy, often a56 bristling, mane and a tufted tail. It is found painted on vases, or modelled in relief on the top of the covers for vases. When found as a figure the lion is usually playing with a ball, the lioness with a cub. He is one of four animals representing power and energy. The others are the elephant, leopard, and tiger.


The Fung-Hwang, or Phœnix or Ho-Ho Bird.

This bird, pre-eminent for elegance and benevolence, seems to have been a kind of pheasant, or some say a bird of paradise. It would neither injure living insects nor growing herbs, but lived in the highest regions of the air, and only descended to earth as the57 harbinger of good tidings—happy events to individuals, prosperous reigns to emperors. On Chinese porcelain either one or two birds are used with a decoration of rocks, trees, and flowers, and in such decorations it is known as the Fong-Hoang, or Ho-Ho bird. It is frequently represented carrying a scroll. In the illustration this scroll has fillets around it.


Amongst the goddesses were two who were especially esteemed. Si-Wang-Mu, the goddess of the58 Kuen-lung mountains, was a being of the female sex, the head of troups of genii who held from time to time intercourse with favourite disciples amongst the emperors. She is usually represented as riding upon the Ho-Ho amongst the clouds with her attendants, or she rests by the borders of the Lake of Gems, where grows the peach-tree of the genii, whose fruit confers the gift of immortality which Si-Wang-Mu bestows upon those favourite beings who for self-abnegation and devotion to the needs of others have deserved to be admitted into her presence. From this Lake of Gems, too, she sent out winged birds with azure blue feathers who served as her attendants and messengers.

Perhaps even more popular than Si-Wang-Mu was Kwan-Yin, to whom full reference will be made later. Both Si-Wang-Mu and Kwan-Yin are found as decorations upon Oriental porcelain and also as figures, some of the finest of which, shown in our illustrations, date from the Ming period. The eight Immortals will also be spoken of later. These are found in sets of figures or in a group of eight or nine. In the group of nine, Lao-tseu, the founder of Taoism, is the ninth figure.




This example is very rare, inasmuch as the two attendants form a part of the actual figure, and this, if not unique, is exceptionally rare. The robe in this instance is decorated with the 100 Shows or Cheous (emblems of longevity) in black on an apple-green ground; the cape has a small floral design in black on aubergine with green border; the head-dress is of brilliant green with lotus flowers in aubergine, yellow, blue, and black; the head, neck, and hands in biscuit. The small figure on the knee is in a yellow robe, relieved with a small design in black; the attendant on the right of the figure has an aubergine robe with a collar in blue; the head-dress and peach which she carries in her hand are in black; the attendant on the left has garments with a small black design on a green ground; the upper portion of the body is in biscuit, except the hair, which is fashioned in a knob at the back and is enamelled black. The pedestal has in the centre panel a reserve containing a sacred carp arising from the waves; this is enamelled in black, yellow, aubergine, and green, on a white ground, and is surrounded with a margin of blue. The front side panels have Joo-e-heads, from which ribbons are depending, in green, black, and yellow, on white ground. The two back panels have chrysanthemums and leaves in aubergine, green, and black, on a white ground.



So many references are made to the goddess Kwan-Yin, and she is represented in such a number of statuettes, that no collection of Chinese porcelain would be complete without her. Sometimes she is seated, at others she is standing. Often she is found in white of various tints, but the finest specimens are painted with coloured enamels. Here we have a most beautiful and valuable example in enamel colours of a seated figure of Kwan-Yin. The robe is of pale green relieved with a formal floral design in aubergine, yellow, and black. The neck is adorned with a necklet of beads in yellow enamel. The head-dress is of rich apple-green decorated with a swastika in yellow and with Cheou characters in black. There are also medallions, each containing a hawthorn leaf in green on an aubergine and black ground. The hair is of black enamel; face, neck, hands, and sceptre in biscuit. The figure is supported on an oblong pedestal, which is surmounted by an upturned lotus flower; the leaves of this are in pale green and aubergine. The front is represented as a sunk panel, on which is a very early diaper design in yellow, green, aubergine, and black. The four corners are incised. The sides of the pedestal are decorated with branches of hawthorn blossoms in green, black, and aubergine, on a white ground, whilst on the back is a river scene with junk, rock, trees, &c., in yellow, green, and black, unglazed on a white ground. Ming period.



The third illustration of this goddess—the queen of heaven—shows her again in connection with the lotus, the emblem of purity, also the symbol of creative power. The fish, too, is often associated with her and with the gods. There was a noted carp which lived at the bottom of Buddha's lotus pond, but generally the carp is an emblem of longevity, and figures of fish are amongst the charms which frighten away bad demons. The flowers which rise from behind the nimbus or halo round the head of the goddess is the magnolia, the emblem of sweetness and beauty, which, like the prunus, shows its full blossom before the leaves appear. The illustration is the model of a shrine, the back representing a rock in rich aubergine; this is relieved with bamboo plants in green. In the centre, on an upturned lotus flower, is a seated figure of Kwan-Yin in robes of green and yellow; the other portions of her body in biscuit, as are also the leaves of the lotus flower; under these is a giant leaf supporting the whole; on either side of the Kwan-Yin are two male attendants, the one standing on a lotus flower, the other on a leaf; these figures are in biscuit relieved with green enamel. Under the figure of the goddess is a carp in yellow enamel rising from the waves, which are in green, and immediately in front is a sacred vessel in green enamel on an aubergine base.




This fabulous being of the female sex, dwelling at the head of the genii, is often represented in the decoration of Chinese porcelain, attended by two or four young girls, either floating in the clouds or riding on a fong-hoang, or phœnix. The illustration gives an important figure of Si-Wang-Mu. The flowing robes are decorated with the 100 Cheous in black, and panels of flowers in rouge de fer, yellow, and bright green. The whole of the background is of brilliant green enamel, the reserves having a pencilled design in black on a pale blue ground. The vest has white hawthorn blossoms on black and green. The under-garment, which reaches to the feet, has a formal floral design in green and rouge de fer on a brilliant yellow ground. The lining of the sleeves is also in brilliant yellow. Around the shoulders, and reaching to the ground on either side, are lotus stems in rich aubergine. The hair is enamelled black, with yellow and aubergine ornaments. The face, hands, and feet are in a rich white glaze. The base fashioned to represent waves in black and white on pale green; on one side of this is a lotus bud, and on the other a large leaf. In the centre of the back of the figure is one of the Buddhistic emblems in green and black on a white ground. The figure is covered throughout with large Crackle.




Od-dpag-med, Amitâbha or Amida. Amida in the attitude of bearing witness and holding the pâtra or bowl to receive alms.

The position of the hands designates the functions which are being carried on by Buddha or by his followers at any given time. These gestures are each illustrative of some idea, and are classified under the name "mudrâs." For instance, the hands placed over one another or reposing wrapped up in the lap indicate meditation; the right hand raised, left hand extended downwards, both with palms outwards, imply teaching and charity; the same with the index fingers only extended is a sign of the possession of the world; right hand extended and palm outward signifies charity; fingers clasped with tips together is the world-wide expression of adoration or of prayer for mercy; right palm on the leg of sitting Buddha with left palm held upwards and outwards is the position for bearing witness; the right hand raised palm outwards with fingers extended is the attitude of blessing; the right hand clasping the index of the left is the habitual attitude of the Buddha supreme and eternal; the head resting on the right palm turned upward signifies meditation on the means of saving mankind. Other magical or mystical positions are: Palms upwards, tips of the thumbs and fingers of each hand touching each other, indicating teaching and direction; right hand extended downwards palm outwards, left hand closed, signifying perfection of conduct; right hand elevated and left closed, as in the last attitude, showing love to others in active charity. The study of the "mudrâs" is quite interesting though unfamiliar.



Amongst the figures of the gods, in a country where literature is the sole passport to success, where examinations on the knowledge of that literature lasted for days, and where the results of the examinations meant so much, it would be quite natural that a high place should be given to the god of literature. Here we have a magnificent specimen, possibly worth about £4,000. It is a figure, of extraordinary size, of Wan Chong (God of Literature). The robe, of exceptionally brilliant green enamel, is decorated with clouds in aubergine, white, yellow, and black; the centre having a large panel containing a flying stork and clouds in rouge de fer, yellow, green, and aubergine, on a white ground, the whole of this surrounded by a narrow margin of aubergine and black. Above this panel, and going round the waist, is a girdle in high relief; this is decorated with small hawthorn blossoms of rouge de fer, raised from a ground of rich aubergine; the borders of the garment contain hawthorn blossoms in aubergine, yellow, blue, and black, on a deep green ground. The exposed hand, which is movable, is of white biscuit, whilst the face is glazed in white, and the headdress and feet are of brilliant black enamel. Attention may be called to the sublime expression and modelling of the features in this figure, which can without doubt rank as one of the finest and most important pieces of the period.




The first of these divinities is Laò-tseù, the founder of Taoism. He is usually represented holding a book whilst seated on a buffalo. He lived to a great age in a hermitage situated on a mountain side, when one day a buffalo, ready harnessed, came where he was, and when he had mounted it he was carried away to the west. Chang-Ti, the god of heaven, is represented seated upon a horse and holding a tablet. Héou Tou, goddess of the earth, appears in the dress of an empress. The gods of the stars have various names, but they may be found as images, and we give some of them. Sou Sing, god of the Pole Star and of the North, is usually seated on a stool; before him lies a tortoise enveloped in the coils of a serpent. Koéï Sing, the god of the Great Bear, carries the writing pencil, or brush, and an ingot of silver, symbol of the fortune which is secured by knowledge. He also carries a bushel measure. Nan Kiun Lao, or Chô, is the incarnation of Laò-tseù and the god of the Southern Cross. He holds a sceptre and rides upon a mule.

Amongst the very old statuettes may be found some that are very ancient, dating from the Sung dynasty (960-1279). These are of violet and blue Celadon. Fou Hi, the first Emperor of China, is a specimen of these figures in the Musée Guimet at Paris. To him is ascribed the invention of agriculture and writing. Chen Noung, the inventor of medicine; Fô, Lô, and Chô, the three gods of happiness, and many others.

The illustration is an exceptionally fine and rare figure of Kouan-ti, the god of war, seated on a horse. The armour is in green with yellow edgings, belt, &c.; the under-garments in aubergine, and black boots. The head-dress is green. The horse aubergine and black. All the trappings, including saddle and saddle-cloth, in green and aubergine. Period, Ming.



A figure of the god of Wisdom; the robe decorated with clouds in aubergine, green, and white, on a brilliant yellow ground; the cape on the shoulders has a gold tracery design on deep rouge de fer, whilst at the back the ornamentation is carried out in formal flowers in green and aubergine on a white ground; on either side of the robe are two sacred dragons, finely drawn and enamelled in green, aubergine, and blue; the under-garment, which reaches to the feet, is decorated with flying storks in black and white, and peaches in rouge de fer and green, on a plain apple-green ground, and the border has a light pencilled design on deep green. Above the folded arms is part of another garment, decorated in the centre with a cheou in gold on a pink ground; the remainder of this has small yellow flowers on stippled green; the left hand, which is hidden under the folds of the garment, contains a Joo-e in gold; the head is of white glazed porcelain, the crown in biscuit, whilst the hair, eyebrows, whiskers, beard, and moustache are in brilliant black enamel. The third eye, which is seen in the centre of the forehead, is supposed to represent the faculty possessed by this deity of seeing more than any other person or god, for with the aid of this third eye he was able to see not only what took place externally, but to read into the innermost depths of a man's soul, as well as the past, present, and future. The figure is supported on a rectangular stand, the front of which is decorated with a bold diaper design in aubergine, yellow, and black, on a pale green ground, whilst in the corners are Joo-e heads in yellow, green, and aubergine. The panels at the sides have in each a large flower in yellow and aubergine, with green lotus leaves on a white ground; in the back panel of the upper portion of this pedestal is a large drawing of a running dragon, which has a yellow head, aubergine tail and mane, and a green and black body; the four remaining panels have flowers and leaves in green, aubergine, and yellow, on a biscuit ground. Ming period. Possibly another form of Wan Chong.




A figure of Piu-hwo carrying his fly-whisk, with which he was supposed to have the power to revive the dead. He is represented in a flowing robe of a brilliant brownish-black enamel. The head, fly-whisk, hand, feet, and base in unglazed biscuit; the features and expression remarkably well portrayed.

The Taoist divinities are the chief objects of attention amongst Chinese figure-makers, who in beautiful bronze and no less beautiful porcelain commemorated the traditions of past ages. Kwan-Yin, Amitâbha, or Amida, and some others are Buddhists both in China and Japan, but the great Taoist divinities, headed by Laô-Tseù, the founder of Taoism, seem to be specially honoured by the potters. The deities of heaven and earth, the sidereal gods of the constellations, the secondary divinities, such as Fô, Lô, and Chô, the three gods of happiness, and the gods of fortune and letters are all to be found in porcelain. The eight immortals belong to the inferior rank of Chens or Esprits. They are described in a special chapter elsewhere, still, we must remark that in blue and coloured decoration on vases, dishes, &c., they are constantly met with, so that it is well to be familiar with their appearance and with their symbols. Han Chung-le, the president of the pâchens, and Tsaou Kwo-kiu carry fly-whisks beside their proper symbols, and so do the others occasionally.

There still remain the divinities of the earth, of whom Si-Wang-Mu was the chief. The gods of the seasons, the cities, the mountains, and the sea, all had their functions duly recognised. One word of advice is here necessary. The old Ming figures are valuable, and forgeries are numerous. So are the early Kang-he figures such as this.



These Pa Sien are eight in number. They attained immortality in various ways, but the eating of the peach, which is carried as an emblem by Han Chung-le, the god of longevity, and whose fruit confers the gift of immortality, seems to have been indispensable. The illustrations show three figures of two of these gods bearing their emblems.

On the right is a figure of Han Seang-tsze. This personage was a nephew of the great philosopher, Han-Yu, who lived in the first century. The robe is of rich green enamel relieved with medallions, each of which contains a fabulous animal in aubergine, yellow, and white, on very pale green ground; the collar is of aubergine with black tracery design; the under-garment, the skirt of which reaches to the feet, is of yellow with a small design in black. In his right hand he carries his flute (Tieh); this, as well as the hand and head, in biscuit.

Another figure of the same god in quite a different style of decoration. Note the flute emblem. It belongs to the same set as the next.

In the centre is a figure of Chang Ko-laou, who is supposed to have lived in the seventh century. His robe is of aubergine, decorated with flowers and flying birds in pale blue, yellow, white, and black; the undergarment, which reaches to the feet, is stippled green ground, with a formal design in black. The head-dress is a brilliant black enamel, as are also the bamboo tubes and rod which he carries in his right hand; the latter and the face are in biscuit, and the beard is aubergine. All of these are Ming.




Images in porcelain of Buddhist divinities are exceedingly rare. Gautama Buddha may be found in pictures surrounded by sixteen Arhats and four guardians of the world. These Arhats are five hundred in number, and the sixteen occupy a rank superior to the others, under the name of Sthaviras, or "the seniors." Unfortunately, the details of their lives are little known. In Mr. Salting's Collection there are a number of Arhats, which should be seen.

A pair of seated figures of Buddhistic deities. The robe of one has an aubergine skirt, and the other bright green; the body is ornamented with sacred jewels in biscuit, as are the head, hands, and feet; one has the Buddhistic crown and coronet in green and yellow, whilst the other has only a crown. Supported on pedestals fashioned as tree trunks, on which there is a vase in aubergine and a bird in green and white. In the centre of each panel of the base, which is of bright green enamel, are Kylin heads, yellow in one instance and aubergine in the other. These are early Ming.

In the middle is a figure of Han Chung-le, the first and greatest of the Taoist immortals, who is supposed to have found the Elixir of Life, and lived to attain the great age of 127 years. The robe is of brilliant green enamel, decorated with flying storks and clouds in aubergine, green, yellow, white, and black; the head and hands are in biscuit, the flowing beard is in black, as is also the fan with which he revived the souls of the dead. Ming of a later type.



A large arbour or shrine in brilliant green and yellow enamels. In the various sections are the figures of the eight immortals, wearing green, yellow, and aubergine robes; on the right-hand upper portion is a small figure of a dove in biscuit. At the base, rising from the waves, is a carp, and also a frog.

Although the Chinese potters had at their command an endless list of gods, goddesses, saints, and devils in their mythology, they appear to have loved to draw and to model the eight immortals, Kwan-Yin, Si-Wang-Mu, and other Taoist divinities, to the exclusion of all except a few Buddhist gods. This seems to be due to their intense desire for a long life as the highest good. Constant use is found for the character Show, which is written in a hundred different ways, as shown in the robes of Kwan-Yin and Si-Wang-Mu in the illustrations of those goddesses. Such pieces as those given here are rare, although these divinities and the eight immortals are very often depicted on pieces in blue and white, and on many specimens in coloured enamels. It is curious to notice how, when they are in the heavens, they are carried upon the clouds; when upon earth Han Chung-le and Han Seang-tse ride upon a fan; Tsaou Kwo-kiu on a log; Chang Ko-laou stands on a frog; Lan Tsae-ho on her basket, and carries her symbol, the lotus; Leu Tung-pin stands on his sword; Ho Seen-koo on a willow-branch, and Le Tee-kwae sits on his gourd. Ming.




The fabulous animals and birds are few; most of them are, however, met with so frequently on porcelain that it is necessary to be quite familiar with these fantastic creatures in order to grasp the meaning of the Chinese decoration. The fong-hoang, a singular and immortal bird, is dealt with elsewhere. The animals are four in number—the dragon, the kylin, the dog of Fô, and the tortoise with a hairy tail. The last was an emblem of longevity, and is usually an attendant on the god of longevity. Another power was its ability to assume various transformations, and still a third was its enormous strength. We shall only emphasise here the differences between the kylin and the dog of Fô, to which the name kylin is so often erroneously applied. The kylin resembles a stag in its body, whilst the dog of Fô is much more like a lion; in fact, with its head, face, mane, teeth, and claws, it does not require a vivid imagination to take it for a lion. The lion and the unicorn may fairly indicate the dog of Fô and the kylin.

We show a pair of so-called kylins, the one playing with a cub and the other holding a sacred ball; the bodies of brilliant green enamel, with decorations of aubergine, yellow, and black; supported on square pedestals, the fronts having a bold diaper design, the sides decorated with butterflies and flowers in aubergine, green, yellow, and black, on a pale apple-green ground; on the back of each pedestal are four sacred emblems in aubergine, green, and yellow, on biscuit. Ming.




Amongst the symbols used in decoration a bird on a perch is frequently found. The meaning of the symbol depends upon the kind of bird. The parrot—the speaking bird—warns women to be faithful to their husbands. The stork and crane are emblems of longevity, ducks and geese are types of conjugal affection, and as such they are carried in wedding processions. Quails were valued because of their fierceness in fighting. The magpie was a bird of good augury, which is regarded as sacred by the present reigning family, whilst the crow was a foreteller of evil. The peacock is largely valued for the tail feathers, which designate official rank. A piece of coral and two feathers indicate the promotion of a mandarin three steps at a time, a similar coral and four feathers means five steps at a time. The pheasant is an emblem of beauty, it is often used instead of the phœnix or fong-hoang. Amongst the Chinese, gold and silver pheasants of extraordinary beauty give the motif for the rich decoration of "pheasant plates," and the varieties of the colours remind them of the duty of practising the various virtues.

Here are a pair of pheasants, the plumage in yellow, black, brown, and green, the bodies of pale apple-green. Each bird is seated upon a tall rock enamelled in rich olive green; this is covered with flowering branches in high relief, or decorated in varied colour enamels. Supported on ormolu bases, Louis XVI. period. Other birds, such as eagles, falcons, and hawks, may be found in figures or groups. Early Kang-he.







Perhaps what we have said will inspire our readers with the desire to know something of the origin of the potter's art in China. This cannot be definitely fixed. It is lost in antiquity. Far back, centuries before the Christian era, possibly when Egyptian civilisation was at its height, legendary history refers to the invention of pottery and, indeed, places the invention of pottery thousands of years B.C. We have no definite information as to what was made, but we may fairly assume that in those remote times the vessels made were only course clay, rude in form, sun-dried or badly baked in an open fire. Then, possibly, the first efforts at glazing were produced and ornamented, the surface was decorated by drawings with a stick in transverse scratches or concentric rings, and simple bits of clay stuck on to the soft surface formed the first applied ornament, gradually developing, and ever far in advance of Western barbarism. The manufacture reaches the period where actual records were available during the Wei dynasty, 220 A.D., when two potteries were recorded as making porcelain for Imperial use. The string of dynasties which follows have but slight92 interest for the collector. The marks we give (see Marks) range from the Sung dynasty, 960 A.D., to the Tsing dynasty, which came into power in 1644 and continues to the present day. Though we read of porcelain blue as the sky, shining as the looking-glass, thin as paper, giving a sound like a musical stone, we could scarcely hope to find a specimen after the lapse of so many hundred years. Besides, if we did, the piece would be unique and even the experts would doubt its identity. Still, the tiny fragments of this precious ware are recognised in China, and are so valuable that the Chinese have them mounted as personal ornaments.

The first of the dynasties shown in our list has a real claim for consideration, that is, the Sung dynasty, which lasted from 960 to 1279 A.D. The Emperor Chin-tsung, who reigned from 954 to 1007 A.D., adopted as his title name, or nien hao, on coming to the throne, King-te, and he founded the royal manufactory at Chang-nan-Chin, henceforward known as King-te-chin. This city remained for many centuries the greatest manufactory of Chinese porcelain. Here, then, we have definite history of a city in the Chinese provinces of Kiang-si, with a present population of 500,000, in which porcelain has been manufactured for centuries, and where the manufacturing is still carried on, although, through wars and insurrections, the work has now and then been suspended for varying periods. There were numerous other factories in thirteen other provinces, notably in Ho-nan, which had no less than thirteen. Historical incidents occur which show that Oriental porcelain was by slow degrees making its way Westwards. Saladin (1137 to 1193), Sultan of Egypt and Syria, who defended Acre for two years against the Crusaders, sent forty pieces of finest porcelain to93 Nur-ed-din Mahmud, who recovered Syria from the Crusaders. That celebrated Venetian traveller and author, Marco Polo, writing in 1280, described a visit to a Chinese factory, and stated that the porcelain was exported all over the world. The Yuen dynasty (1279-1367) saw the advent of Roman Catholic missionaries and Florentine traders. They came to Pekin and Hang-chow; and far off Cathay, the land of mystery, romance, and poetry, first made acquaintance with the Western barbarians. We read of porcelain of this period having been moulded, modelled, and painted with flowers. The most noted potter, Pung, was not famous for his own individual work of designing new forms or inventing new colours, but for copying the older wares, and we shall never have an opportunity of seeing his work, which, though beautiful, was very thin and brittle.







The story of the overthrow of the Mongol dynasty by a rebellion headed by a native named Hung-woo, the son of a labouring man, introduces the great Ming dynasty. This man, a former Buddhist priest, captured Nankin in 1355, and thirteen years later he took the title of Emperor. During this dynasty, which lasted till 1644, the progress of the manufacture of porcelain was very marked; indeed, the Chinese themselves are keen collectors of the Ming products, considering them to be the finest ever made. They scarcely exist outside the treasures of the cabinets of princes or of the collections of mandarins. Whether this is due to the extreme devotion of the nation to past history and to their love of ancient relics more than their appreciation of what we consider beautiful, the fact remains that, in the early times, Ming porcelain was rarely exported, so that we have very little to guide us in determining what is or is not porcelain of the Ming period. True, there are the marks, but the marks were copied just as much as the forms and decorations were. The best periods of Ming porcelain arranged in order of merit, and not in order of date, were Suen-tih (1426-1436),98 Ching-hwa (1465-1488), Yung-lo (1403-1425), Kea-tsing (1522-1567). Ching-hwa is the first in order of reproduction; his mark is most frequently copied.

At about the period of Ching-hwa, Europeans were making efforts to reach the East by sea, and in 1498 Vasco de Gama sailed round the Cape of Good Hope, and thus made an opening, by which eventually trade was carried on by sea to China. The Portuguese were the first to settle in China in 1516. From their factory or settlement in Macco, or Macao, at the entrance to the Canton river, the first sea-borne pieces of Oriental porcelain were sent to Europe by way of the Cape. The conclusion, therefore, must be, in view of these dates, that the earliest pieces found in England and on the Continent were carried overland, by camels, thousands of miles over mountains and through deserts, till at last they reached their European owners. The earliest porcelain found in England—that is, a Celadon bowl presented to New College, Oxford, by Archbishop Warham, and the bowls of Oriental china given in 1506 by Philip of Austria to Sir Thomas Trenchard—came by land. The Portuguese vessels were not content to sail only to China and to exchange its products for those of Europe, for in 1542 they appeared in Japan. Fernam Mendez Pinto in his "Travels," published in 1545, states that he and his companions were cordially received by the Prince of Japan. Evidently, then, at the time when Queen Elizabeth was reigning in England the Portuguese were pushing their trade in the East as the Spaniards were in the West, and, as we have seen, the Portuguese, amongst other commodities, sent Oriental porcelain home, and brought European products back. They brought the Jesuits too. Christian teachers had been at work in China for long years99 before the Jesuits came, but the activity and knowledge of these gave them great influence amongst the reigning class practically from the close of the sixteenth to the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is said that they had much to do with the evolution of the beautiful enamel colours of the next dynasty, the "Tsing," though the evidence of this is of the slightest. On the contrary, the development appears to have had purely a native origin; an unusual step, it is true, to be taken by a nation which seemed all along the line to be reproducing earlier forms and earlier decoration. From the period when the vases of the Yung-lo period were in demand, painted as they were with lions rolling a ball, with birds or with dark blue or red flowers, we find progress being continually made.

Suen-tih, whose reign is the most celebrated for the production of Ming porcelain, produced very fine examples, with flowers in pale blue, having red fish moulded as handles. Then comes the fine colour paintings of Ching-hwa, through which we reach the perfection of the Kang-he in the Tsing dynasty. It is remarkable that only a few Ming specimens seem to have been identified with enamel colour decoration, though in recent, indeed, quite late times, authorities are ascribing many pieces with green and yellow enamel set in black outline to Ming, rather than to Kang-he. White, green, and crackle pieces are often mentioned in the historical records.

We read that Lord Treasurer Burleigh, William Cecil, Secretary of State for nearly forty years to Queen Elizabeth, offered as a New Year's gift, in 1588, to his royal mistress "one porringer of white porselyn garnished with gold," and another gift of a similar kind was made to the Queen by Mr. Robert Cecil, "a cup of grene pursselyne." Later,100 we read that amongst the effects of Lady Dorothy Shirley were "purslin stuffe, Chinese stuffe, two dozen of purslin dishes."

It will be noted that it was only with the advent of Shakespeare and the Authorised Version of the Bible that our English spelling took anything like uniformity. The last note regarding Lady Shirley's possessions was made in 1620. In the time which had elapsed between these records much had occurred in the Orient. The Dutch, in 1595, sent out their first expedition to the East Indies, and Queen Elizabeth, not to be outdone, despatched three English ships to China in 1596. Three years later the East India Company was founded, a company which at first could not trade in India or China owing to the fierce opposition of the Portuguese and Dutch. They therefore made their headquarters at Gombron in the Persian Gulf. The china ware was brought overland or by coasting vessels to Gombron, which gave the early name "Gombron ware" to porcelain which was universally used before the adoption of the name "china."

During the Ming dynasty the practice of placing marks upon the porcelain was first adopted, though the rule seems to have been to mark only one piece in a set, yet the method of marking porcelain was far from being universal or methodical. In acquiring Ming porcelain the buyer must be especially careful. For many centuries the old forms were copied, and in counterfeiting the porcelain and decoration it was quite easy to imitate the mark. Here, then, we must once more advise the collector to rely upon sight and touch. We have stated that it is the inspiration of the educated eye regarding the tout ensemble which was largely to be trusted. On the other hand it would not be well to dispense with the necessity for101 actually handling the piece with the view to detecting differences between the old and the new work. In dealing with fine pieces there is one advantage: they are submitted to expert after expert, whose opinions may vary, but truth is great and will prevail.

The end of the Ming dynasty was rapidly approaching. The Tartars, with shaven head and pigtail, were "as the storm clouds which had been collecting for some time," and at length they "burst over the Empire." The space of time between the years 1616 and 1644, when the struggle for supremacy between the Ming and Tsing dynasties was at its height, leaves the identification of porcelain made during that period a matter of considerable difficulty. In a national struggle, art manufactures are the first to suffer, so that it is quite probable that only a small output of porcelain took place during those troublous years. In revising the Ming period note should be made that Hung-woo preferred black, blue, and white ornaments; and that gold used as the decoration for a dark-blue ground was first employed. In Yung-lo's time intense patches of colour were used, and there was a development with regard to the reds; a dark red was widely adopted. The paintings of flowers and of birds and beasts, mainly used figuratively as emblems, became far more delicate.

The Ching-hwa potters seem to have adopted a delicacy and a mastery over the art of porcelain decoration scarcely ever met with in history. It is true that the supply of blue failed, the cobalt was of an inferior quality, but the coloured painting reached high perfection. The marks and designs of the Ching-hwa period furnished unexampled opportunities for copying, for although the later Kang-he showed, without doubt, the finest blue and white with regard to colour that was ever made, the pattern102 generally adopted can be distinctly traced to Ching-hwa.

Kea-tsing was noted for the use of enamel colours of a beautiful depth and quality. About this time pure white cups were made imitating white jade, but the quality of the porcelain is inferior to many of the other periods because one of the sources of supply of porcelain earth failed.






Bearing in mind the struggle between the Mings and the Tartars, which lasted, as we have seen, from 1616 to 1644, we may take Shun-che (1644-1661) as the first real Tsing Emperor. Properly, the title of the dynasty, which has existed to our own times, would be the Manchu, Manchoo, or Tae-tsing or Ta Tsing dynasty, which is the twenty-second Imperial dynasty. The most distinguished Emperor in connection with the manufacture of porcelain was the second, named Kang-he, who had a long and peaceful reign from 1661 to 1722; in fact, he is the only Emperor who reigned for a complete Chinese cycle of sixty years, and we shall find amongst our marks that the sixty-first year is distinguished by a cycle mark and not by the "nien-hao," or name mark. Note Fig. 1 in the marks.

Under Kang-he's guidance the porcelain manufacture received an immense impetus. Many improvements were adopted and new colours introduced, especially the enamel colours. Amongst the noted potters living long before his reign were two whose names have come down to us, although identification of their work is impossible. The famous Pung, as106 before noted, was an excellent potter, but he was only copyist of old forms. Chow was a later potter who, near the end of the Ming dynasty, also excelled in imitating ancient vases. The work of these two old potters were copied at first by potters of the Kang-he period. "Franks" says: "It is probably to this reign that we must refer most of the old specimens of Chinese porcelain that are to be seen in collections, even when they bear earlier dates."

What generally were the qualifications and characteristics of the productions of King-te-chin in this reign? Our illustrations, which should be read carefully, will give guidance to the careful student regarding the Chinese porcelain that was then produced. There seems to have been little doubt that the three-coloured pieces, decorated with yellow, green, and aubergine, were direct copies of the Ming products. Aubergine is a puzzling word and requires explanation. It is a transparent enamel resembling the egg plant in the variation and gradation of its colours, from grey to purple or having various shades up to a rich brown. It will be found in the trees, stems, and branches, forming a principal part of the scheme of colour decoration. The black family—"famille noire"—is of the same period. The black may be composed of other colours, but it is usually coated with a transparent green enamel. Notice that there is a dull black, a mirror black, and this black covered with green enamel. Kang-he black will receive due attention in the illustrations. It is rare and very valuable.

Perhaps the finest porcelain produced during the Kang-he period was the green family, sometimes used with blue under the glaze. Wan-leih, the Ming Emperor, is sometimes credited with introducing this green enamel. This, however, seems 107 very improbable, for twice in his reign the Japanese invaded Korea, and the Tartars were always in rebellion. On the whole the balance of evidence points to the green family as being a genuine product of the Kang-he period. Another product of the same period was the green enamel used with blue enamel over the glaze, so that it is well to note that the fine greens which are classified as "famille verte" are usually ascribed to this period. The blue and white of the Kang-he period has been noted before. The most lovely quality of this decoration must be always referred to this period.

Whether we consider the cobalt blue as a colour, as in the celebrated ginger jar with prunus flowers sold at Christie's for 5,900 guineas, or such pieces as we show in our illustration from Mr. Duveen's collection, worth £2,000 each, from 1720 right down to our own times this ware has been copied and ever recopied, but there is something in the blue used for decoration, something, too, in the quality of the white porcelain itself, and again something in the glaze, an intense brilliancy. These furnish a combination which has never been rivalled.

The Kang-he period was noted for a very rare biscuit Celadon, in which the surface of the panels in relief is unglazed, though the remainder of the decoration is blue under the glaze. Another fine quality of porcelain was that with archaic decoration having conventional flowers and bands in black and green. The marks of the Kang-he period vary. In the earlier part of his reign the double blue circle and the Kang-he nien-hao are frequent, but collectors must note that many specimens of this period have no date mark at all. If the two blue rings are used there are no letters inside. The reason of this is rather curious. In 1677 the108 superintendent of the works gave an order to the factories at King-te-chin, in which he forbade the inscription of the Emperor's name or the characters which gave the history of their sacred great men. This order was given because it was thought that if the porcelain was broken it would be reflecting upon the honour of the Emperor or of these sanctified persons who were represented not alone by inscriptions, but by paintings used in the decoration. However, this law did not remain in force for a very long period. When a piece is found with empty rings or with the symbol marks of the fungus leaf, &c., it can be assigned to a few years later than 1677. The importation to Europe had reached considerable dimensions before this.

We read that in 1664 nearly 50,000 pieces of rare Japanese china were imported into Holland and about 17,000 more of various kinds from Batavia by the Dutch East India Company. In this connection the rivalry between the Dutch and the Portuguese must be noted, because it affected the Oriental trade in porcelain very considerably. Stirred up by the Dutch, the Japanese, in 1640, excited by their fears of the ultimate designs of the Portuguese and the Spaniards, who had later appeared upon the scene, banished them in favour of the Dutch. Some thousands of Christian converts were massacred, and the Dutch were fully established at Nagasaki, where they laid the foundation of that progress towards Western civilisation to which the world, and especially Japan, owes so much.






The Yung-Ching period (1723-1736), though only thirteen short years, was peculiarly noteworthy, because the Emperor himself took a personal interest in the Imperial factories at King-te-chin, and also in the head of the establishment, Hien-Hsi-yao, who, in 1727, was entrusted with the management. In porcelain much depends upon the potting, and in the actual potting the products of Yung-Ching were far superior to any that had before appeared. The drawing, too, was in every way better, the colours, though not so brilliant, showed such care and taste in blending that even the fine "famille verte" suffers by comparison. As a rule, the decoration was so applied that the porcelain could be admired—that is, the whole surface was not covered by the ornamentation. In some of the smaller pieces the result of this plan is beyond all praise. Only one product suffered. The blue was far inferior to that of Kang-he.

We have already praised the quality of the cobalt applied as decoration to vases, ginger jars, &c., of the Kang-he period. As if to balance this default the rose colour from gold was discovered, which gave birth to the rose family, "famille rose." Other products112 which had their beginnings in this reign are worthy of notice. First there was a black decorated with colour, mainly with arabesques or curl work. The porcelain was of fine quality and the scheme of colour so subdued as to be entirely pleasing to the eye, the black being relieved by pattern in faint green and further decorated in white, pale yellow, and aubergine of such an admirable character that one wonders why Yung-ching porcelain is not more appreciated. Still the rose decoration begun so successfully in this period, under the succeeding Emperor, received such attention as placed it in the front rank of Oriental porcelain In fact, we may say more. Collectors of the rose family care nothing for Ming with its greens and yellows, nothing for Kang-he with its "famille verte" and black, but they esteem and value above all the "famille rose," the Yung-ching chef d'œuvre, which we shall deal with later when we come to Keen-lung. The pieces of the Yung-ching period, decorated with blue under the glaze with enamel in colour over the glaze, exhibited the same distinctive features which typical china of this period showed—that is, excellent potting and a skilful blending of the under-glaze blue with the enamel colours over the glaze. There is this noteworthy distinction, too, the decoration on the backs of bowls and dishes is almost equal to that on the front. This is a helpful hint, to which careful note should be given.

Perhaps one of the most puzzling and at the same time interesting forms of decoration was the blue used in conjunction with peach bloom. These specimens were ornamented with combinations of three lines either long or bissected, called the Pa-kwa, the single mark forming a trigram essentially male113 if the long lines were in the ascendant, and female when the half lines were most numerous. The later marks or symbolical devices will deal more fully with the Pa-kwa. Peach-bloom was undoubtedly first introduced in the reign of Kang-he, and the really valuable and fine examples belong to this period only. It is altogether a misleading term to those who are not experts, who expect to find the delicate pink of the peach blossom or flower. Peach bloom is nothing of this kind. Imagine a dark reddish brown of unusual but beautiful tone pierced through its surface in flecks of dark green and spots of pink such as the flower would be when the first touch of spring coaxed it from the dark-coloured sepal with flecks of green and a touch of pink. It is the colour of the bud when the peach begins to bloom, not the pink of the peach blossom so prettily tinted with yellow. Peach bloom and "clair de lune" are the two very finest self-colours which take precedence even of "sang de bœuf." We shall have occasion to occur to this again in the chapter on self-colours.

The next class is black with coral red under the glaze; in fact, two colours are found under the glaze in the Yung-ching period, blue and red. The red is of a brilliant tone, not so striking as the red from gold, but still very lovely in its combination with blue. Sometimes these two are used together with added enamel colours, but frequently in under-glaze decoration that favourite ornament, the five-clawed dragon in pursuit of the crystal ball or pearl, may be found. The circular device ball or pearl showing the Yang and the Yin, signs for the male and the female elements in nature, were at this period raised on the surface, and in over-glaze enamels both the waves and the clouds were tinted114 with various shades of green and purple and aubergine edged with black.

We have already referred to the rose family, in which the enamel decoration was most carefully and artistically carried out in all its detail. The preponderating influence was a brilliant rose colour accompanied by green, yellow, and blue, all in enamel colours, which were not less striking because still subordinate to the beautiful pink. When waves were used in the decoration they were of a charming sea-green Celadon enamel. The blue painted under the glaze has already been referred to as being inferior in quality, in colour and brilliance to the products of Kang-he. In fact, we must repeat that no blue and white was ever equal to the Kang-he ginger jars and vases decorated with the prunus pattern, usually called the hawthorn, with the lip unglazed on the outside and partly glazed on the inside.

Present day potters produce blue and white ginger jars, but the blue of Kang-he is unapproachable, the paste is exquisite, and the glaze is incomparable. The Yung-ching potters did well in blue and white, and the blues, though less brilliant, were very bright and pleasing. The distinctive feature of the period is that the borders of the vases were incised after the manner of the Ming blue and white, a pattern which appears at no other periods. Let us try to explain this. About an inch from the top of the vases there is an incised pattern, a pattern cut in double incised lines, altogether forming a band about half an inch wide. A similar incised band is found round the base. Yung-ching blue, and white often has a decoration of rocks, waves and curious conventional ground in blue of a carefully painted peach-tree springing from the115 rocks, painted blossoms of a rich red tone with reddish or yellowish brown spots distributed over the white as if to emphasise the form of the decoration. The contrast between the delicacy of the detail is striking when compared with the broad treatment of the Kang-he period. On the one hand there is fine stipple work. This is Yung-ching. On the other hand there is a broad, bold wash of colour. This is Kang-he. One of the most effective forms of decoration is what is widely known as powder or powdered blue, in which the cobalt was sprayed through gauze or dabbed either upon the whole surface, or upon all of the surface except that which by mechanical means was reserved. Students of Oriental china will often come across the expression "painted in reserves or compartments." By this is meant that the scheme of decoration of the whole surface has been so far modified that certain panels have been left in white for further decoration. Hence we get reserves of various shapes with varying decorations—powder blue vases with reserves decorated in blue; powder blue vases with reserves decorated in "famille verte," and so on. The apparently granulated surface of the powder blue is due to the colour having been blown through the fine gauze or dabbed on the whole portion that was not reserved.

Celadon was brought to great perfection in this reign. Not only the various tints of green usually known by that name, and not only the brilliant white Celadon glaze with raised decoration in which a Celadon green is effectively employed, but various glazes in which the colour, being applied in the glaze, was included in the same term Celadon. The decoration, often floral, was noted for its subdued tones of pink, mauve, red, and orange. Vases of the116 Ming dynasty, especially the Suen-tih and Ching-hwa periods, were copied and recopied in every detail. Beautiful bowls were largely made with Celadon or coral grounds, with figures or other ornaments in coloured enamel; sometimes reserves or compartments in white had special treatment of figure decoration. Other specimens imitated jade or agate or cornelian or some other stone. The well-known pale green Celadon is the only one known to the trade by the name Celadon. Red or blue Celadons would be classed under self-colours.

We have noted the green family, "famille verte," of Kang-he. The Yung-ching products of the same class differ from it in the quality of the colours used. The green enamel itself was much thinner and not so brilliant; it often had a blue shade, but it too was applied as an enamel in conjunction with the under-glaze blue decoration. Instead of the reds from copper the reds from iron were effectively used. A colouring like the red of rusty iron was used in several shades, ranging from an orange red to a bright orange, or even to a salmon pink. Other colours in soft tones were used, but a chief point to remember is that whilst the design was usually drawn in blue under the glaze, all the enamel colours were applied over the glaze, so that a blue tinge is conspicuous, and it is a help to identification.

A reference was made earlier to the rose family. This was a red from gold, and perhaps its highest development is seen in the brilliant ruby-back plates of the Yung-ching and Keen-lung periods. This colour had its origin in Yung-ching's short reign, and the shades of it vary from pink to purple. As enamel, the rose colour is most wonderfully applied to flowers, drapery, &c., and really it is far more decorative117 than the green, the powder blue, or indeed any other colour. It has their artistic merit, and the additional one of being a soft and most attractive tint, if green represents the leaves, rose pictures the flowers; and perhaps the most lovely combination is "rose verte," where both of these are used in harmony.






During the first seven years of the reign of this Emperor there was but little variation in the character of the porcelain manufacture at King-te-chin. In 1743, however, a new director was appointed to the works—Thang-ing—who continued the high quality of the manufacture of the two previous reigns, and brought the rose family to the most perfect state. Indeed, though the European influence exerted by the Jesuits may possibly have been more powerful than before, yet no European china quite reaches the glowing brilliance of these Chinese vases and dishes. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Chelsea tried to copy the rose colour, the result being the fine claret colour of the Chelsea china. Sèvres came nearest with the Rose du Barri, but, after all, the lover of old Oriental porcelain devotes all his energies to the acquisition of specimens made and decorated in the old times, imitations perhaps of very early Chinese products, but perfectly Chinese in instinct and impression.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate Keen-lung china from Yung-ching in unmarked pieces before the full developement of the "rose famille," but the reign of Keen-lung was so much longer122 comparatively, and during the period the porcelain manufacture was so active, that it will be safe to ascribe the fine specimens of this rose family to it as well as to Yung-ching, when the invention of the rose enamel took place. In the last reign we considered, but only shortly, this "famille rose." The exquisite delicacy of these specimens lies in the combination of an elaborate, but refined, style of decoration in which the painting was most artistic, with the graceful shapes of the pieces themselves. There are other types, bolder in colour, broader in execution, and, it may be, equally beautiful. Take, for example, a vase; its body would be covered with large sprays of flowers in rose, yellow, and other enamels, but the rose predominates and gives an effect which is very rich and striking. Chrysanthemums, peonies, irises or flags, anemones, pumpkin vines with flowers and fruit—all these were in common use with birds and butterflies, fishes and insects no less finely coloured, and, as it were, thrown up into relief by the use of black with that transparent green enamel which we have before described, and here and there a black spot is applied for the same purpose of enhancing the value of the coloured enamels. The porcelain body of the Keen-lung period is very fine and white, many of the specimens having a style of painting peculiar to the Chinese artists of this period. Flowers such as those we have mentioned—the chrysanthemum, peony, and rose—seem to be ribbed, as if when the enamel was not quite dry a tool was used for the purpose of breaking up the enamel and in this way getting finer effects from reflected light. The porcelain itself sometimes assumed a wavy appearance, such as would be left by the potter's fingers when the piece was turned on the wheel. A similar wavy appearance is found on123 characteristic pieces on Bristol hard paste porcelain when turned upon the wheel.

Amongst the rarest decoration of this class of porcelain in this period is what is called "mille fleurs." In this class the whole surface is covered with a thousand flowers in variety painted exquisitely in enamel colours of every conceivable hue. Yet though the colours are so varied there is nothing but the most pleasing and harmonious effect. Pale lilac, reds and yellows, alternate with delicate shades of greys and blues. When the panels are left in reserves, a figure decoration is freely applied to them, and the figures depicted represent the spirits of the flowers. On the bases, which are covered with pale sea-green enamel, are found the square seal marks of the Emperor Keen-lung. It is scarcely possible to have the privilege of seeing such perfect work of Ceramic art, but the collection of the late Mr. W. G. Gulland, of Brunswick Terrace, Hove, was especially rich in "mille fleurs" pieces.

The class allied to this, but probably later in date, is "mille cerfs"—that is, a decoration consisting of numberless deer ranging in a forest. The colour is not nearly as brilliant as in the "mille fleurs" class, though the same wavy porcelain is to be noted. The green, bluish in tone, like the greens of the Yung-ching period, are harmonised with browns; in fact, the aubergines merge into sepia or brown. The hills are green and brown with some hilltops in blue enamel. The birds are painted quite thinly in rather dull reds. This glaze could be fairly described as late "famille verte." In this period the Celadons show considerable advance. Celadons were produced late in the Ming and early Kang-he periods, and cover a range of tints which are difficult to describe, as we have seen in the case of peach bloom and "clair de124 lune." The "sang de bœuf" is also difficult to describe, so that a pilgrimage should be made to any Museum which has a genuine specimen. For instance, in the British Museum, Oriental Section, in the centre of a large cabinet, there is a small bottle-shaped vase which is a real "sang de bœuf," a glaze of a brilliant colour shaded towards a deeper claret and the base shading away into a pale yellow, pink towards the lip, which retains the soft, natural tone of the body or paste. Then just below the neck the "sang de bœuf" seems to glow with the intensity of the ruby, just before it falls from the shoulder of the piece towards the base. Other colours of this period are known as pigeon's blood and chicken's blood, crimson, crushed strawberry, and so on. To nearly all of these colours the remarks which apply to the shading of the "sang de bœuf" can be noticed upon the specimens themselves. Here the glaze starts at the top of the vase or vessel; there is a yellowish tinge, and the colour has several gradations until it ends at the base. These reds originated in the late Ming period, reached high excellence under Kang-he, and continued through Yung-ching's reign, and under Keen-lung maintained their high perfection.

The Keen-lung red Celadon has a somewhat blue shade when the light is reflected at an angle. It is well to remember that all those colours which are called Celadon, or self-coloured, have the tints mixed in the glaze. Besides the reds, there are blues of many shades, violets, mauves, &c.—in fact, any colour that could be applied in the glaze was used as the sole decoration of fine porcelain. It is true that in many of the fine vases the body is moulded with flowers or dragons or other patterns, yet the glaze was a whole glaze and therefore Celadon. Notwithstanding this, the Celadon surface was itself frequently decorated125 by designs in enamel colours outlined in black. As we have before shown, it is easy to know whether a piece is decorated with Celadon or with enamel, because all enamel colours stand out from the glazed surface to which it is applied, and by passing the fingers over the decoration the enamel can be felt. This brings us to certain facts that must be remembered.

Enamels, like Celadons, may be of any colour. They are always burnt in so as to amalgamate with the cover glaze, even if that cover glaze be itself coloured and therefore Celadon. Also there are but a few colours which can be applied before glazing, that is, upon the paste or body directly. We have seen that blue and red were so applied. This brings us to the other development. The Keen-lung class of blue and red under the glaze was derived from that discovered in the Yung-ching period. Its application was developed with surprising skill by the finest workmen, so that the application of copper red under the glaze, in combination with blue, gave splendid opportunities for these artists to display their pre-eminent skill for freehand drawing in applying designs upon the biscuit porcelain before the glazing took place. If, for example, you pass your hand over a piece decorated under the glaze, you will find a surface perfectly smooth, the colour has sunk into the paste.

The next note is worth remembering, because it may be applied as a practical test to distinguish between the old and the modern blue under the glaze. This test of modern blue is to be found with the finest strokes, whereas in the old work each stroke is perfectly smooth or uniform in its outline, never laboured, never hatched, but simple strokes which plainly follow the American plan of never126 taking three strokes when one stroke will do. Most of the modern work reveals a tiny blue dot at the pull-off of the fine hair brush or pencil. The drawing and writing of the Chinese was always done by means of a pencil held perfectly upright by the fingers, so that by examination of the pencil marks it is quite easy to see whether the blue lines have inequality, especially at the point where the brush is removed, and our readers may detect forgeries of the old marks as well as the old drawings by noticing this blue dot at the end of the stroke. It is never found upon an old piece.

The coral red family, which belongs peculiarly to this period, is extremely pleasing, and a very fine result is secured when used with blue under the glaze, leaving the design outlined in red, so that the red, white, and blue harmonise perfectly. But the coral red was also used under the glaze as a ground colour. Then it was thickly powdered with white chrysanthemum leaves and flowers, and it had white reserves often decorated with sprays of conventional white lotus, chrysanthemums, and magnolia. The Chinese varied the colours in their decoration with wonderful effect. Blue under the glaze was, as we have seen, associated with reds under the glaze, but it was quite effective with enamels over the glaze, and we may take this as the next class of the period. The design, or any part of it, was applied to the paste, then the piece was glazed and fired so that on coming from the kiln it was simply a white porcelain piece having blue, or red and blue, decoration under the glaze. Then enamel colours were used to complete the design, such as green enamels with the blue designs showing through them and thin dull reds under the glaze, as before noted, whilst the rest of the piece was coated with decoration in yellow, blue, or even white enamel colours.


Perhaps the most—and here adjectives fail: charming, lovely, famous are words which arise in the mind—ruby, pink, rose eggshell plates really should be seen rather than described. These all belong to the "famille rose." But eggshell was not confined to this family. Dated specimens seem to indicate that the two earlier reigns had seen the origin and progress of this beautiful ruby porcelain, but there is no doubt that many of the finest of the marked pieces belonged to the Keen-lung period, though Yung-ching produced excellent specimens.

Let us give a few examples from the sale-rooms. But first we could wish that all who will read this chapter could betake themselves to the Victoria and Albert Museum, to the British Museum, to Duveen's or Gorer's in Bond Street, and see for themselves what Chinese eggshell plates really are. The Salting Collection in the Museum at South Kensington has very fine specimens, and the British Museum has similar specimens in two flat cases, which, unfortunately, do not allow the full value of the ruby back to be appreciated. At Duveen's there are two cases filled with the loveliest specimens ranged before a looking-glass, which enables the visitor to see both the design on the front of the plate and the lovely colour at the back.

It is surprising, and yet not astonishing from the point of view of the collector who will have the best, to notice the prices which have been paid for these plates, which are quite small, ranging from 7-3/4 in. to 8-1/2 in. diameter. A few examples will help in enabling us to estimate their value. One eggshell plate, enamelled with chrysanthemums and a sparrow, and with sprays of peonies round the border, on pink diaper-pattern ground, 8 in. in diameter, sold at the sale of Louis Huth's Collection for £105. The other128 prices realised at the same sale are no less striking. Saucer dishes, pair, eggshell, with ruby backs, enamelled with branches of chrysanthemums and peonies on a white ground, 8 in. in diameter, sold for £80, but a better pair, enamelled with cocks and peonies in the centre on white ground, with pale green trellis border, 7-3/4 in. in diameter, realised £400. One saucer dish, enamelled with a pheasant, quail and peonies in the centre, and a pale green marble border with pink prunus blossom, and three panels containing flowers, 8 in. in diameter, brought £135. The first and last of these were not pink-backed, but they were certainly beautiful.

Other eggshell plates at the same sale with ruby backs, which we will describe shortly, even at the risk of appearing monotonous, were: one enamelled with ladies and children in the centre, diaper border, with three panels of flowers, 8-3/4 in. in diameter, which realised £150; another, enamelled with quails and chrysanthemums in the centre, with pink and green diaper borders and three panels of flowers, £155; another, enamelled with a lady and two children by a table, in a leaf-shaped panel, on gold ground, with border of various coloured diapers, 8-1/4 in. in diameter, £200. Two saucer dishes, enamelled with peonies and persimmon fruit in the centre, and shaped border of diaper ground, the border on green ground, with pale pink trellis edge, 7-5/8 in. in diameter, £310. A similar pair, but enamelled with ladies and children and vases in the centre, on a white ground, with pale green trellis pattern border, and three panels of black, 7-3/4 in. in diameter, fetched the same price, £310. The gem of the whole collection was a plate, finely enamelled with a group of ladies and children, vases and utensils in the centre, with seven borders of various diapers129 and small panel of flowers, 8-1/8 in. in diameter, £280.

The plate with the seven borders is the most famous of these eggshell ruby-back plates. The centre panel or reserve is leaf-shaped, having in enamel colours, very delicately painted, a lady seated with two boys; near her is a table on which are books; vases behind her and two vases on her left. This panel is surrounded by six diaper borders of various widths, of which the two chief are a deep ruby, interrupted by four reserves in blue enamel, and the other a pale lilac with four reserves enclosing flowers. Between reserves are four dragons in white. The diaper around the leaf is the seventh border. There are other diaper patterns in the five and four border plates which have in the leaf-shaped central panel a decoration which is very similar. Some, however, of these eggshell plates have no diaper work, the sole decoration consisting of two cocks, beautifully enamelled, near rocks and foliage. Indeed, these birds are often found in plates with borders. Similar eggshell plates may have landscapes or flowers as the central decoration with or without diaper borders. The name ruby back is given to these plates because the whole of the back, excepting the centre inside the rim, is enamel with a beautiful ruby tint. Indeed, we may say that these plates are amongst the very finest creations of the Yung-ching and Keen-lung periods. To the eggshell china belong the delicate Mandarin vases which, probably, were made for exportation.






A mandarin is a Chinese official, either civil or military, but the word itself is not Chinese. It is a name given indiscriminately by foreigners to designate any Chinese official of whatever rank. The recognised official grades of mandarins are nine, each distinguished by its dress. The so-called button on the hat—the mandarin button—is conspicuous. It is really a very valuable jewel, and, like the rest of the dress, is worn under precise regulations. It will be interesting to notice how the mandarin's rank is shown by the dress. The coats were always embroidered with gold and were of coloured silk.

In the first order, the button on the hat was a bead and above that an oblong button of transparent ruby red—transparent red. The coat was violet, with a square plaque on the breast and back decorated, in the civil class with a pelican, in the military class with a kylin, whilst the belt was ornamented with four agate stones set in rubies. In the second class, the button was a red coral button resting on the ruby bead—red opaque. The coat had embroidered plaques decorated with a hen for the civil class, and a lion for the military class. The belt was ornamented134 with four embroidered plaques with rubies. The third class had a sapphire button—blue transparent. The coat had embroidered plaques decorated with peacock's plumes, each feather having only one eye. The symbolical peacock represented the civil class, and the panther the military class. The belt was ornamented with four plaques of worked gold. In the fourth class an azure-coloured button of lapis lazuli—blue opaque—rested upon a small sapphire bead. The coat had embroidered plaques decorated with the crane for the civil, and the tiger for the military mandarins. The belt was ornamented with four plaques and a silver button.

The fifth class had a rock crystal button—white transparent—resting on the small sapphire bead; the embroidered plaques were decorated with the white pheasant for the civil, and the bear as the symbolical emblems. The belt was similar to the last class. The sixth class had a button of white polished opalescent shell—white opaque—with a blue feather. On the embroidered plaques of the coat were the emblems of a stork for the civil, and a little tiger for the military divisions. Four tortoise-shell plaques and a silver button ornamented the belt. The seventh class had a button of plain gold—yellow brilliant—on a crystal bead. The embroidered coat had a partridge for the decoration of the civil division, and a rhinoceros for the military. The belt was ornamented with four round silver plaques. The eighth class had two buttons, one upon the other, of worked gold—yellow opaque. The embroidered plaque of the coat bore the quail as the symbol of the civil division, and the stork as the symbol of the military division. The belt had four ram's head plaques and a silver button. The ninth or last class had the second button of worked silver—blank opaque. The em135broidered coat showed the sparrow as the emblem of the civil mandarins, and the sea-horse as the emblem of the military. Four black horn plaques and a silver button decorated the belt.

It will be seen that Chinese porcelain decorated with figures such as these dressed in their robes received the name of Mandarin china. The actual word comes from the Portuguese "Mandar, to command." Much could be said upon the subject of Chinese dress, as applied to porcelain in decoration, but it is only necessary to contrast the style of the Ming and the Tartar dresses.

The Ming long, flowing robes are held up with sashes, and the hair, turned up over the head, is either covered with a soft head-dress or with the Court ceremonial head-dress.

The Mandarin dress of the Tartar shows the robe principally, but there are besides the pantaloons and the high boots with thick soles. The hair is dressed in pigtail fashion, for from their earliest youth the Chinese children are shaved. The boys are shaved all over the head except at the top, and in the case of girls two tufts are left, one over each ear. These facts, while furnishing no actual clue to the age of Mandarin china, showed that at least it could not have been manufactured before the Tartars came into power in 1644. Probably the date of its manufacture is later.

We can understand that these Tartars, who had enforced their own dress upon the conquered people, but who had at the same time adopted their religion, would continue copying the holy persons such as the eight immortals, the genii, &c., in the same dresses which had been in use for hundreds of years. More than this, there seems to be a strong element of truth in the statement that136 the Mandarin decoration was due to the desire of the European traders to carry home porcelain which should illustrate the people, and the style and the colour of their clothes. If this is so, then the Yung-ching period would be the first in which Mandarin china was produced. At any rate we do know that most of it was made in Keen-lung's reign, and that the potters of the later Emperors, to our own times, have been manufacturing large quantities for commercial purposes.

In Mandarin china the figures vary in boldness and in general character, but the colouring is of one class—pinks, reds, yellows, blues, and greens, so distinct in tone as to receive the name of Mandarin colours. The decoration of this kind of china includes boys and men at games, such as kite-flying; warriors fighting, marching, or resting; men and children in masks; figures walking, riding on horses or on vehicles; lantern shows with scores of people, besides many other designs. This Mandarin decoration is associated with great varieties in the ground colours and patterns. Such are the swastika ground, the red ground, the blue ground mottled over the glaze, and the scroll ground. There are also many diaper patterns and a variety of borders of flowers, butterflies, dragons, sometimes in low relief, whilst often examples are met with in which the vases are recessed so as to furnish a flat surface in which the decorative painting of figures, flowers, and birds lies flat in a shaped compartment or reserve, which may be joo-e-shaped, leaf-shaped, kakemono-shaped, or makemono-shaped. In studying the vases given as illustrations these varieties of shaped panels should be noted, as they are constantly used in catalogue descriptions of the decoration. Amongst the most beautiful vases of this period are the conical-shaped137 eggshell vases with short necks, covered with the most delicate scroll work in gilt, having large reserves decorated with Mandarin figures painted with the utmost delicacy, and the small reserves with rose and other flowers most carefully drawn.

The question has been raised as to whether transfer printing as a mechanical process was ever applied to Oriental porcelain. In England, Dr. Wall, of Worcester, is said to have invented transfer printing as early as 1751, and Sadler and Green, of Liverpool, lay claim to the honour of its discovery at about the same time, whilst on the Continent a similar honour is claimed for the factory at Marieberg in 1760. There is no proof that any blue and white Oriental china, except during the most recent times, was ever decorated on a transfer-printed ground. All of the blue and white Nankin and Canton ware was painted by hand under the glaze. When we consider the immense amount of labour necessary to keep up the supply of porcelain to Europe, and also to the United States early in the nineteenth century, it is astonishing that no process work showing transfer printing can be discovered, although the invention must have spread to China before 1796 when Keen-lung died.

We shall treat of "blanc de chine" later, when we discuss the colours of Oriental china, but it must be remembered that most of the Chinese ware of this type was made during this period. Such were the statuettes of Kwan-Yin and many other gods and goddesses. This cream-white porcelain may date from any period even before Kang-he. The earliest specimens are distinguished by being transparent, although thick, and by the creamy smoothness of their glaze. Some authors, however, ascribe the origin of this ware to the Keen-lung period.






Kea-King (1796-1821).

When any country is disturbed by internal divisions or by external invasion, the inhabitants pay less and less devotion to art. The reign of this king was certainly disturbed. The people suffered from misrule, and though the traditions of the Chinese potters did still keep up, in a measure, the high standard of the previous reign, the neglect of the governing bodies, of the Emperor and Court, took away much of their devotion to the development of the porcelain so conspicuous in Keen-lung's reign. The porcelain, however, remained good in the quality of its paste, and now and then it reached excellence with regard to the decoration, which became characterised by conventional designs. Coloured enamels and gold were largely used for ornamentation, the turquoise blue, "famille rose," and a good blue-green were conspicuous. Mandarin china still continued to be made, though the modelling was comparatively clumsy and the paste thick, still, however, having the wavy surface always noticeable in Mandarin china, which was, as we have said, largely made for the142 European market. The influence of Western art made itself felt in the decoration. Many scenes were painted with European subjects, especially in the small reserves or vignettes. Some of the finest forms, too, of the early Sèvres and early Wedgwood and Adams' styles were copied and decorated with festoons of raised husks with a landscape in a medallion. This wavy porcelain seems to be specially connected with a comparatively thick blue enamel and a style of decoration usually called Lowestoft. Of course it is not Lowestoft. Lowestoft was a soft paste porcelain imitating early Bow and Worcester. The porcelain of the Keen-lung period, then, might be named the porcelain of commerce. European forms of pieces not used by the Chinese themselves are often found. The process seemed to have been something like this. The East India Company, all the captains and officers of the East India Company's ships, when visiting China took with them orders for services to be decorated with crests or armorial bearings, with English landscapes, or with sporting or religious subjects. Blue and white was made in vast quantities owing to the demand from Europe. It needs but one sentence of description. It was poor. About this time the Chinese potters copied the Japanese. Imari ware, with its flowers in conventional forms, various Celadons in blue, lilac, grey-white on good fine porcelain, are traced to this reign. Perhaps it was most celebrated for the reproductions of the porcelain of earlier periods in which both pattern and mark were constantly recopied.

Taou-Kwang (1821-1851).

In this period there was a special development of the enamelled rice bowl, although beautiful vases so143 decorated with enamel as to cover the whole surface are not uncommon. The use of two shades of green produces a very pleasing and comparatively new effect. Unfortunately, the Chinese potteries, as in the previous reign, seemed to have devoted much of their time to reproductions. The rice bowls were often decorated in graviata, graffito, or sgraffito patterns, in which the enamel was scratched with a point into a variety of twists and turns, forming beautiful variations from the ordinary plain enamel surface. This surface was also painted with flowers and figures. The process seems to have been first adopted by Keen-lung, and many pieces have the Keen-lung mark. In a set of four very fine examples which came under our notice three had the Keen-lung mark, and the fourth that of Taou-kwang. In all probability the majority of them were made in the later reign and the earlier mark was copied. The copying during this reign included all the older forms from the Kang-he period, and it excelled in reproducing the "famille verte" and the "famille rose." Perhaps the Yung-ching green enamel received the most special attention, for the outline of the design is often found first painted in blue under the glaze, so that the blue shows through the transparent surface enamels and gives a bluish tint to the decoration generally, which was quite the effect produced by a similar decoration in Yung-ching's reign.

To the same class of rice bowls belong the pierced porcelains with patterns filled with glaze. Here the rice pattern is cut through the paste while the paste was soft. Then as usual the blue decoration was applied painted on by hand, and certain parts received a coating of white enamel before the whole was carefully glazed. The skilful glazing is shown by the144 evenness with which the pattern, in glaze, matches the general surface of the piece itself. The rice or star pattern is the most common of all these pierced porcelains. Some specimens have, however, a diaper pattern, and more rarely a dragon design with flowers and leaves, so cut that portions only are filled with glaze, which gives a very unusual and striking effect. These pierced specimens are not supposed to be earlier than the eighteenth century, and of course they may be very much later.

Heen-Fung (1851-1862).

Very little porcelain was made during this reign, owing to the Tai-ping rebellion, during which King-te-chin was destroyed. The first Chinese war with England took place in 1860. The rebellion ended in the next reign.

Tung-Che (1862-1875).

With peace after the wars the manufacture of porcelain was resumed. Generally, the best pieces were copied from the antique, though a pale turquoise ground with decoration of flowers and butterflies was made for exportation. Sepia drawings showed some distinction, but there was no new departure of importance. This period is modern, and these later Emperors are only mentioned in order to bring the history up to date, and to call attention to the marks both on ordinary and seal character.

Kwang-Shiu (1875- ).

In the present reign much more importance has been given to the improvement of porcelain, which is largely made for export, high prices being145 obtained for imitations which are sold as antiques. The largest customer is the United States of America. The intense conservatism of the Chinese has been largely broken down by the influence of outside pressure. The almighty dollar holds the field. Yet, if it is still true that "for ways that are dark and tricks that are vain," "the heathen Chinee" is "peculiar," he holds no monopoly of such qualities. Western civilisation runs him close. On the other hand, the honour of a Chinese in trade is generally of a high standard, and the people have a natural instinct for artistic decoration, which has come to them as the legacy of ages past. And with this power they have, too, an unlimited supply of the very finest kaolin. Let us hope that happier times will bring back the glories of the past.






M. Gasnault, the friend and pupil of M. Jacquemart, has put on record the results of their united work in the Museum at Limoges. The collector is able to see how he has tried to reconcile and combine the elements of a complete history of Oriental china, how he has collected specimens of all the manufactures, even the smallest, how Oriental porcelain holds the first place in the collection, being represented by most remarkable specimens of industry which in the Celestial Empire to-day is on the decline, after having had a brilliant career through so many ages, that it seemed as if nothing could have led to its failure.

If the Chinese have not yet returned to that state where they have forgotten entirely the art of making porcelain, at least they have lost the secret of those admirable productions—the forms so pure, the glazes so marvellous, the enamels so sparkling, the decoration so diversified, and the paintings so exquisite—which remained with us as monuments of an age when there must have been such art in the Ceramic world as has never been seen since. It will be advantageous to say something about the collections at Limoges and the lessons we may learn from them. The first place in the collection is given to the white150 china known throughout the world as "blanc de chine." This kind of porcelain was highly esteemed in France, and the Oriental artists and potters from a material which seemed to offer but little resource proceeded to work wonders. By the side of the small sacrificial cups destined for religious uses with the glassy glaze and a tone which recalls that of wax or ivory, in the form of the horn of the rhinoceros or of the flowers of the lotus, which was the plant pre-eminently sacred, one is able to admire examples perfect in execution of which the texture is so thin and fine that it seems dangerous even to touch them. The greater part is decorated with ornaments in white or in white slip, which by a few simple strokes, or by a delicate tracery, almost inconceivably beautifies the limited surface. Garlands and detached bouquets of flowers have been engraved upon the wet or the dry clay so finely—indeed, so exquisitely, that they cannot be seen unless held up to the light. Here the sacred dragon winds round the cup as if he wished to defend it from profane hands, and a Buddhist god only appears when a coloured liquid is poured into the cup, which then shows up the lines, before invisible, engraved in the paste.

Again, we find little bottles decorated with dragons and symbolical dogs of Fô or Buddha cut deeply into the paste with a patience and an art unequalled in the productions of the Western Hemisphere. The statuettes of the gods and goddesses are also made in this white porcelain, amongst whom is one to whom we have before referred, Kwan-Yin, a mysterious being, the personification of mercy and goodness, who protects the sailors and saves them from shipwreck, who takes pity on those who suffer in hell and intercedes for them. She also gives children to those who are sterile.


Kwan-Yin has many attributes and emblems. Sometimes she has a diadem on her head ornamented with images of Buddha, or she rests seated on a throne of lotus in memory of the miraculous bridge which the gods constructed to enable her to cross the sea. The god of riches is often found as a white statuette, so is Poutai, the god of contentment, with a broad smile and round, uncovered stomach; Cheou, or Chow, the god of longevity, with an enormous bald head. Other figures of emperors and empresses are all of the same type, with the accompanying Ho-Ho birds.


Amongst the finest white porcelain is one kind having a hard and compact paste which lends itself152 easily to the mould, but is not suitable to the turning wheel. Nearly all the pieces of this ware are moulded into figures, incense burners, &c., and on looking into the interior the roughness and unevenness of the paste can be easily seen, even the marks left by the fingers of the workmen are quite plain, whilst the bottom always preserves the imprint of the canvas on which these pieces are placed after having been moulded. Then there is a white biscuit class, very rare, often having two walls or divisions, of which the outer one only is biscuit, reticulated or pierced with a fine network or trellis of various patterns, through which the interior wall can be seen. Amongst the trellis many Chinese characters are to be found, such as the emblem of longevity, the mark called Cheou, Chow, or Show. We shall have more to say of reticulated porcelain later on, but here we may mention that the reticulation on the outer wall is often elaborate, and the cover glazes give a variety of colours equal to that found upon ordinary china. The whole white porcelain family, whether we consider the beautiful creamy ivory ware, or the dead white, or the blue tinged white, is rarely marked, and when a mark is used generally it is a seal character moulded or cut in the paste. A very rare form of decoration is met with in white, but only occasionally. The surface is covered with minute white points like the points shown in shagreen, only it is not green, but white. Such china has been termed "chair de poule," or chicken skin. It may be noticed that these points are not enamelled, either because they were applied upon the glaze or because the enamel ran off them in the firing.






Following the white in order is the remarkable series of single colour glazes of various hues, beginning with the sea-green or Celadon, which is a pale green, or even a greyish green; and the yellow, especially the Imperial yellow, which is reserved for the Emperors of the Tsing dynasty; camellia-green like the leaves of that plant, painted in proper colours; light brown, a bright colour with quite a metallic lustre, was known as "feuille morte," or dead leaf colour. So copper-reds give various self-colours such as haricot, various flambés, and through a long range it reaches eventually a pure black. Then there are the blues, covering a range no less varied and interesting. Turquoise-blue, a tint which can only be obtained by applying it upon the biscuit china which has already passed through the kiln; the other blues, fouetté, soufflé, trempé, are brushed on, blown on, or dipped according to the method used in applying the colour glaze. Another way of applying the glaze was by its being powdered on through a fine gauze or dabbed on by means of a wet swab dipped in the colour which was to be used as the single colour glaze.




A tall sang de bœuf fungus-growth, wonderfully true to nature. Yung Ching period. This example bears on the base the mark of Ching-hwa (1465-1488). Round the base and under the feet it is lacquered. The fungus, which grows at the root of trees, when dried, was so durable that it became the symbol of longevity and immortality. Hence large specimens are preserved in the temples, and it is both painted and modelled with figures of the immortals. It may also be found in the mouth of the deer, another emblem of longevity. The example given is in the finest sang de bœuf with all the characteristics of that lovely Celadon colour. This brilliant red was a Kang-he discovery. It is included in the Lang-yao class, being so called after Lang Ting-tso, superintendent of King-te-chin.

The special point to which attention should be given is the lacquered pattern round the base, which is inlaid with pearl shells, in the style known as "Lac burgauté." In Chinese porcelain this process is uncommon, but in Japanese porcelain and pottery cloisonné enamel is frequent, applied either with or without the metal cloisons. Lacquer, too, may be frequently found as a coating—black with flowers in gold and silver; black with Ho-Ho birds and flowers; a rich red; brown; green; gold, &c. Nearly all of these pieces are comparatively modern Japanese ware, being made largely at Kioto, Seto, Yashima, Yamato, and other factories in Japan. To this class, which includes porcelain in combination with other substances, must be ascribed those delicate Japanese, egg-shell, covered cups and saucers, painted with flowers in colours, and having an outside covering of the finest basket-work. These are made chiefly at Yamato.

The purples as glazes are no less rich in variations, and in these tints the Chinese have never been159 rivalled. These self-colour pieces are decorated with symbolical figures or sacred animals, whilst flowers and inscriptions from the sacred books are found as a decoration in gold, which unfortunately lies upon the glaze and is more or less easily removed by hard wear. Again, similar designs are engraved in the paste, or modelled in relief and painted with such colours as are able to resist the temperature of the furnace. Many pieces have spaces reserved in white for further decoration, and sometimes the decoration is executed in white slip on the paste itself after its first firing has brought it to the biscuit state. These lovely single colour glazes are certainly amongst the finest Oriental specimens of porcelain which are worthy of the collector's attention; their softness, their brilliancy, their range of colour alike entitle them to a high place in any scheme of decorative treatment either in the home or on the collector's shelves. We call them china or porcelain vases, &c., and in that we are only following the Chinese usage, though the colour glaze is often so thick as to hide the material or body of the paste altogether. The thickness prevents any transmission of light; they have an opaque more or less coarse clay white or red body, and amongst our English products would be classified as stoneware. But the colour is the thing, and here we shall repeat ourselves a little, because it is necessary to really understand not alone what the colours are, but generally the order of their invention. The oldest colour was, as we have said, Celadon, or sea-green, which reached a high state of perfection about 1500. No doubt there are many Celadon pieces of great antiquity still awaiting identification. It was in the Seuen-tih period of the Ming dynasty that this Celadon became a famous160 product. The porcelain is very thick, and to this thickness it owes its preservation. Like the English ironstone china, it stands hard wear. All the Persians and the Turks value Celadon not for its intrinsic beauty, but because they thought it to be infallible as a test for poison in their food.

The yellow glaze is the colour adopted by the present Tsing dynasty as the Imperial colour. Fine specimens covered with yellow may then be regarded as having been destined principally for the use of the Emperors, but it does not follow that the use of this colour was proscribed in the decoration, either as a yellow or as a partial tint. Blue was one of the highly esteemed colours as well as one of the earliest. We have dealt with blue as an under-glaze decoration. It was not alone used for decorative purposes in drawings of figures, birds, animals, foliage, and landscape, but it was used in various forms as a body colour either on the biscuit itself, before glazing, for with the glaze as a self-colour, as a Celadon, in fact—that is, the blue was applied in the glaze or in the enamel.

We read that in 954 A.D. the Emperor Chin-Tsung ordered some vases to be made which should be "blue as the sky after rain when seen between the clouds," and it is said that his celebrated porcelain was of this blue, fine like a looking-glass, thin as paper, and giving a sound like a musical stone, the only defect being that the feet of the pieces were of a coarse yellow clay. Alas for the romantic story!

The most recent catalogue of the Musée Guimet at Paris, drawn up by the national experts with the assistance of such Chinese experts as were available, states that the story is all a mistake. The word which was translated "blue" should have been translated "green," which brings us back again to Celadon.


During the Sung dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) it appears that a fine red was discovered from which porcelain was made resembling chiselled red jade. This may be the celebrated "sang de bœuf," which is red, but, as we have seen, red with qualifications.

The purple or lilac glaze before referred to seems to have been made quite as early as the Sung dynasty, but with this, as with all the other glazes, colour alone is no indication of age.

About the year 1600 there lived that famous potter called Chow, whose fame was obtained by his excellence in skilfully imitating ancient vases. All the records that have come to us show very clearly that from the earliest times the potters were in the habit of copying the works of their predecessors. So well was this continually done that they were able to impose upon the best experts of their own country.

The brown glazes, according to Père d'Entrecolles in a letter dated 1712, were at that time quite recent inventions, and he applied the same remarks to the coffee-colour glazes. The black glaze has been noted. It has several varieties—the dull black itself, the dull black glazed over with green so as to make a bright black giving a green tinge only at the edges, and the Tsing black, which is an uncommon brilliant black familiarly known as mirror black.




Another production of the Chinese which has never been successfully produced in Europe is this crackled or crackle ware. They were very proficient in producing regulated crackles, large, small, or medium, and that which was no doubt at first accidental became one of the most important and successful means of decoration. Some pieces, indeed, are really marvellous, showing successive bands of crackle ornament, coloured decoration, self-colour, and white, others have a double network—double réseau—with the crackle coloured simultaneously in two tones. Historically this ware is of great antiquity, being noted during the Sung dynasty (960-1270). As a rule, the clay employed is very coarse, of a buff or a pale red colour merging into white. It comes under the designation of porcelain because the Chinese do not differentiate between that which is opaque and translucent.

The illustration, unfortunately, does not show the colour, the beautiful claire de lune, which is so rare and so indescribable. The specimen of sang de bœuf given under "Self-colours" is, like this, a fungus of the genus Agaricus, the emblem of longevity, because it was practically indestructible. It was also emblematical of fertility. Emerson wrote, "Nobody cares for planting the poor fungus; so Nature shakes down from the gills of one poor agaric countless spores." The fungus is used as a mark, as decoration, and, as we have shown, in vase form. Probably its shape and symbolism gave rise to the Joo-e sceptre and to the wide adoption of the Joo-e-head form in ornament. Note that red-coloured crackle glazes are rarely found, and that apple-green, turquoise-blue, and clair de lune are the most desirable colours in crackle. Feen-lung.

There are many other self-colours or single glazes to which fanciful names are given. We have referred to "clair de lune" and the peach bloom. It is very doubtful whether there is any real value in the names themselves, so we advise our readers to examine specimens in the Museums, when such colours as liver colour, pigeon's blood, crushed strawberry, &c., will be found to be purely arbitrary. Perhaps the widest term applied to these variegated self-colours with a single glaze is splashed or shot silk. These various mottled or splashed glazes are named by the 165 Chinese Yao-pien, by the French flammé or flambé. They have curious yet very beautiful veinings like flames of a fire, hence the name given to them by the French. One colour runs into the other in the most capricious and yet in the most charming manner. The first results were no doubt accidental, but soon experience gave certainty to the master mind of the potter, who was able to define and measure the combination of the various metallic oxides which would give him exactly the colouration he desired. The glaze of these pieces was usually applied upon the dried vessel by dipping or brushing or powdering, or, as some say, by blowing on with a tube. Or, again, it may have been a combination of these processes. The potter now had the means of producing an endless variety of splashing by the proper application of the prepared glazes: of violet and blue; of turquoise passing into green; of sea-green, brown, and blue; of maroon, green, and white; of, in fact, any colours within the range of his knowledge. He only had to be sure of the furnace. He had to know how his metallic oxides would combine under the action of heat. The glaze upon vessels having intricate designs in relief was applied only after the potter was sure that the pot in its biscuit state was suitable and correct in form. With most ornaments the danger of damage was thus considerably reduced. When the biscuit was withdrawn from the kiln the coloured glaze could be easily applied before the second firing took place. We have noticed that a much lower temperature was needed in the second firing and that the heat of a muffle-kiln would suffice. As in the case of the single glazes, a number of fanciful names have been applied to the ware, such as tiger-skin, iron rust, &c.




The coloured glazes in the pieces of one colour which we have described are called "self" or "whole" colour, and they were applied directly on the dry paste or body so that the whole was fired at one time. The great heat required for this process caused variations in the tints, which were partly due to the running of the glaze itself. Where the glaze lay thickest, the colour would be deepest. Practice led to perfection, so that the Chinese potters acquired skill in using the colour with precision and, further, they were able to extend the range of their operations by using several colours on one piece. Greens of many hues, blues in various shades, all kinds of reds and yellows, purples and browns gave to this class great variety and brilliancy. It must be borne in mind that these coloured glazes were also applied to biscuit porcelain, that is, to white porcelain, without any glaze, which had been fired in the kiln for the purpose of fixing the shape. In this division the paste is generally much thinner than in ordinary pieces of Celadon, and much more elaboration was given to engraved and embossed patterns and to reticulated or pierced work. Moreover, it, was easy to leave some parts of the design in untouched biscuit.

Our illustration shows a set of three splashed Vases (two flat-shaped and one hexagonal) painted with enamels of green, yellow, and aubergine, in blotches on a white ground. The handles, which are monsters, are in apple-green. This style of decoration is known as tiger-spotted or splashed. Kang-he period.


The process of decoration by blowing is said to produce a curious colouring. Take, for instance, red blown on blue. Pieces so decorated appear to be covered with a soft violet glaze, but on examination it will be found that the opaque blue is sown all over with minute red rings formed as a network resembling the finest lace. By the use of a simple magnifying-glass these rings can be easily traced. It seems difficult to produce such a marvellous decoration, and yet it is quite simple. The colour blown on that is the red, which is driven with force sufficient to form minute bubbles, which burst by the heat of the kiln, and by their bursting form little rings varying from the size of a pin's head to that of a pea.

It will be well to give just a little time to a summary of the colours which are used on Oriental porcelain of all kinds, first in the under-glaze blue and red, second in the single colour glazes, including all those which are known by the terms splashed, variegated, transmuted, or flammé or flambé. Preserving the same order set out in the colour enamels which are used in over-glaze decorations, we find that the blacks, as before stated, were three in number—a common dull black, a mirror or metallic black, and the first of these covered by a thin transparent green glaze, so as to make a shining black. The dull black was produced from manganese which had some impurities in it, whilst the mirror black was made of manganese having cobalt in it mixed with white glaze and an earth containing iron.

The various greens, such as the dark green or gros vert, sea-green or Celadon, apple-green, emerald-green, pea-green, cucumber, and snake-skin were all derived from iron, copper, and a little cobalt.




The under-glaze reds belonging to the Celadon class differ from the under-glaze painted reds. The Celadon colours are applied in and with the glaze, and the other class is, like under-glaze blue, painted on the biscuit china and then glazed. The range of Celadon reds is very great, from "Peach-blow," commonly termed "Peach-bloom," to "sang de bœuf." About sixteen of these beautiful shades are within this range. "Peach-blow" is used as a self-colour glaze, covering the whole of the piece, but, like all other colours, it is employed also with other coloured glazes in the decoration of porcelain—white or Celadon. Dr. Bushell describes peach-blow as "a pale red, becoming pink in some parts; in others, mottled with russet spots displayed upon a background of light green Celadon tint." This and many other colours were invented by Ts'ang Yeng-hsüan, the director of the Imperial works towards the end of Kang-he's reign. Around the feet of many fine vases of the Yung-Ching period there are waves in this darkish red, with occasional flecks of green. In these cases the body of the vases is white. Examples occur where peach-blow is used as a Celadon colour in pieces decorated with blue under the glaze.

On the left is a Vase with large bulging body and short expanding neck of a clear white glaze, on which are blossoms painted in peach-bloom, with leaves and branches in blue. Kang-he period (1661-1722). Height with stand, 10-1/2 in.

A circular shaped Vase with tapering neck, expanding mouth, and a bulbous body. This is decorated with pomegranate fruits in peach-bloom; the leaves and stalks in rich blue; the whole on a Celadon ground. Kang-he.

The many shades of blue—dark blue and that peculiar tint known as mazarine, powder-blue,173 sapphire-blue, sky-blue, turquoise-blue, peacock-blue, "clair de lune," and kingfisher-blue—were all secured from cobalt and copper mixed in various proportions.

In dealing with the important red family we have to distinguish between the reds derived from copper and those derived from iron and from gold. The range of tints is very extensive. Those derived from copper give the more or less fanciful names of "sang-de-bœuf," "sang de poulet," "sang de pigeon," crimson, crushed strawberry, maroon, liver colour, and that curious tint known as peach bloom or peach blow. The reds secured from iron are vermillion, the well-known coral and the tomato tints. From gold, those beautiful shades of colour to which we have referred as being crowning triumphs of the Yung-ching and Keen-lung periods were procured. These, known as ruby, rose, and pink, were really covering a large range of colours from a very faint pink to a red purple.

The yellows have a no less extended range. At the head of the list we find Imperial yellow, then citron or lemon-yellow, eel-skin yellow, straw, canary, mustard, orange, and sulphur-yellow. Thus we see the yellows vary from a faint tinge of that colour to a strong shade which seems to include a little red. All these yellows were derived from antimony, and the variation was largely secured by the addition of iron.

The next class, the brown colour, was derived from iron or from clay in which iron in various proportions was present. These browns include various shades such as bronze, chestnut, chamois, chocolate, coffee, "café-au-lait," dead leaf—"morte feuille"—old gold.

The colours on English china for the purposes of contrast are given next. They were derived from oxides of various metals in various proportions. The174 blacks are secured from cobalt, nickel, manganese, iron, and chromium. The greens are variously derived; the yellow-green and the emerald-green are secured from chromium and sodium; the blue-green or celest from chromium, cobalt, silicon, and zinc; whilst other greens are derived from copper and chromium.

Blues come from cobalt and silicon, except the mat blue, which was procured from cobalt, lime, and zinc. The reds were made from gold and iron, which secured many shades of those colours. The blacks were derived from chromium, iron, and manganese. Another class of European colours—the purples—came from cobalt, chromium, tin, and calcium.







The crackle porcelain is a distinct class, though it will be found that many of the pieces having a single glaze are also crackled. They are covered with a clay or enamel which having been burnt in the kiln is taken out and subjected to the action of a current of cold air, or they are dipped in cold water, so that by unequal contraction cracks are formed with a regularity which, although in the first place accidental, became, in the skilful hands of the Chinese, science. Small crackles like the herring's roe, and large crackles like the ice cracks, could be produced by the potter as he chose. The cracks were filled with Indian ink, red or black, which made them stand out clearly. By further burning, possibly at a lower temperature, the entire surface seems to be covered with a clear glaze quite transparent, which to the touch offers no unequalities of surface. These wonderful potters have so far pushed this unique form of decoration, never successfully imitated in Europe, that it became one of the most important and striking means of decoration. Some of their work in this direction is marvellous and shows successive bands of enamel or glaze, crackled, self-colour and white all in one piece. Other pieces show a crackled network of179 two tints. Some of our English potters are making good attempts to imitate the fine old Chinese "famille verte," and surely for crackled porcelain there is still inspiration to be drawn from the East. The glaze was of white or coloured; the body was somewhat coarse in paste, resembling red or white stoneware. History takes us back to the Sung dynasty, when this kind of ware was first known, and the accidental discovery was converted into an exact method of working. A pretty form of crackle resembles the scales of a trout, and is by the French called truité. All the colours that were employed as single glazes in that class seem to have been similarly employed as crackle glazes, with the possible exception of red, which did not lend itself to this process; all the Celadon shades and the blues, including turquoise-blue. The most celebrated crackle is that known as apple-green crackle. This ware has, in addition to the beautiful effect of the crackling, a lovely soft tint of green, which was applied as the glaze.






Many collectors are immensely attracted by what is known as the old blue and white. It is such a widely distributed product, extending over a long series of reigns. We noted before that it reached its highest excellence in the Kang-he period. It was at first reserved for the Court, for Emperors and high dignitaries, but since Kang-he's reign blue and white may be said to belong to all dates, and the blue and white ginger jars of the present time which may be bought for one or two guineas show how the demand has been a constant one throughout the whole of the time. At a very early period after the Dutch had imported this blue and white from China their potters set about imitating it and produced the fine old blue and white delft which is now valuable, but there is no specimen of delft which reaches anything like the price of the old Chinese blue and white from which it was copied. The honorific inscriptions, the sacred emblems, the immortals and their attendants were quite meaningless to the mind of the Dutch potter, just as they were to the Italian, who was also an Oriental copyist. To the Oriental the decoration of each piece meant something, something it may be of their history or of their religion. High thoughts184 were set out as inscriptions, and inspirations were given by the story on the vase or dish, which when represented on a European copy became only a scheme of decoration, or at its best a germ from which an original scheme of native work might have its birth. So the Dutch, though they at first made delft ware in servile imitation of Chinese patterns, soon saw their way to utilise purely Dutch designs and with these to produce work as fine as that which they had made under the inspiration of the Chinese model.

At King-te-chin, the classical home of porcelain, a city with 3,000 kilns, the best of the blue and white was made; and although there is a large class called Nankin blue which must not be neglected, the latter, in decoration, is immensely inferior to the products of the Imperial factories. It is quite certain that there were many other factories besides those at King-te-chin which produced porcelain, but history leaves few records of them, so that it would be quite fair to include Nankin blue as a product of King-te-chin perhaps decorated at Nankin. It is quite interesting to note how at first this blue and white, now so valued, was not esteemed by Europeans with the exception of the Dutch. Much of it was redecorated on the glaze and the pattern burnt in so as to hide the decoration.



(a) A pair of tall blue and white trumpet-shaped Beakers. Under the neck are four shield-shaped panels connected with an arabesque design; below this is a broad band ornamented with conventional flowers running round the body. Towards the feet are the stiff leaves of the sweet-flag running down to the base. The whole done in a liquid, translucent blue on a most beautiful white ground. Kang-he period. The sweet-flag is often used for the decoration of porcelain vases, &c., and because its leaves are long and slender and come to a point the Chinese use them to represent swords, which, indeed, they resemble in general shape. On the morning of the first day of the fifth month every family nails up a few leaves of this plant on each side of the doors and windows of the house, so that when the evil spirits come near, they see the leaves, which they mistake for swords, and are thus frightened off. The superstitions of the people as well as their religion are put under obligation to furnish designs for the potter, in which the same idea is represented in a permanent form. In fact, only when we are fully cognisant of Chinese mythology shall we fully appreciate the wonderful stories set out in their porcelain. When will the Chinese connoisseur place before us his stores of knowledge?

(b) A pair of Butter Dishes and Covers in fine quality blue and white. The dishes and lids have the four seasons design, which are separated with a trellis-work diaper pattern. Note the difference between the two diaper patterns. The handles are coming from the mouth of a monster. Kang-he period.



(a) A fine quality blue and white Beaker vase with expanding neck and bulging body. The neck is ornamented with blue bands and flowers; the body divided into four panels and filled in alternately with domestic utensils, flowers, and foliage. Kang-he.

(b) A blue and white Water-ewer and Cover, of fine quality and elegant shape, decorated with "Lange-Lysen," domestic utensils, and landscapes. Seal mark, "Ching-Hwa." Kang-he period.

Blue was employed for under-glaze decoration amongst the Chinese from time immemorial, though scarcely a specimen earlier than the Ming period can be identified with certainty, owing to the copying and recopying that has been continually practised by the Chinese. True, we often see the Ming marks, say of Ching-hwa or Kea-tsing, but probably the best of them are of Kang-he origin. Even if the pieces are really old they will be often found re-decorated with modern colours. Perhaps amongst the blue and white of the Ming period, those pieces decorated with the soft but rich "Mohammedan" blue, as it is called, are the best. Yet, though the colour is never flat or dead, there are certain qualities missing which are quite charming in the later Kang-he. The gradation and modulation of the blue, indeed, even the quality of the blue itself, are all better in the later pieces. Whether, again, the fine Kang-he blue was made early or late in the period, lasting from 1662-1722, is a further matter of doubt. Our readers will remember that in 1677 and for some years after no date marks were allowed to be inscribed, so that only patient study and careful observation will enable any one to place the old blue and white.




These specimens of blue and white Vases answer the tests which are applied to the best porcelain decorated with different designs of flowers, trees, birds, &c., in blue, painted under the glaze. What are the tests? First, the material forming the paste or body must be so fine as to give a perfect surface. The surface must be a brilliant white when covered by the glaze. The drawing and painting should reveal the best qualities of cobalt blue. The shape of the piece must leave nothing to be required. Now, it is well known that blue and white was, and is, the most common of all Oriental porcelain, and modern work is good, so that it becomes quite easy to make mistakes; in fact, it would not be too much to say that old blue and white is most difficult to judge. Though the glaze is so much a part of the paste that it lasts practically for ever, yet it does get slightly dulled; the extreme brilliancy of the new pieces contrasts with the softer and more beautiful old porcelain. The glaze should not be too thick, for the fine, even quality of the paste is just as much an element as the glaze in giving the old lustre. The blue decoration under the glaze shows a perfect command of outline as well as colour. There is no soaking in of the colour, but the outline is applied by the brush with absolute equality.

The two specimen vases show "Lange-Lysen" or "Long Elizas" and flowers in fluted lotus-shaped medallions covering the whole surface, except under the lip and neck, where there are two bands of triangle-work diaper pattern. The mounts are in French ormolu, Louis XVI. Kang-he period.




There are several varieties of prunus (so-called hawthorn) blossom in the well-known blue and white ginger jars. The one given in the illustration has the pattern known as the "ascending stem" hawthorn. Then there is a "descending stem," and a third pattern showing the head or centre of the blooms arranged in groups. This is "blob hawthorn," and may consist of three small blooms around a central larger one, forming, roughly, a triangular group; or four blooms again around a central one, forming a cross-shaped group. This pattern is also known as "spray hawthorn." The ground is a brilliant cobalt, in which the colour is laid on very much as if it had been rubbed on by the thumb, or still more, as if the colour, when wet, had been so rubbed. Afterwards a network of blue lines was added on the blue ground. The suggestion is that the "blob pattern" imitates the fallen prunus blossoms resting upon the crackled ice in the early spring.

Our illustration shows a Ginger Jar with dome cover. The body decorated with large and small sprays of white prunus, rising from the base and falling from the shoulder. Very brilliant crackled ice ground of deep cobalt; a narrow band of white encircling the mouth, with a line of blue within, the space between decorated with a formal ornament. The lid with similar decoration to that on the jar, the top encircled with a ring of white. Height, 10 in. Period Kang-he. Value, about £2,000. Record price, 5,900 guineas.




The finest quality of blue and red painted under the glaze were made during the Tsing dynasty, though during the Ching-hwa period (1465-1488) of the Ming dynasty many good pieces having this decoration must have been manufactured, as the mark of that reign is frequently found in reproductions. Even Kang-he and Yung-ching copies have the Ching-hwa mark.

The illustration—a conical Vase with short neck—shows the four-claw dragons of the sky. These are drawn in blue, as far as the head and body are concerned; the scales are in a soft red. The curious forms meant to indicate clouds are in blue, whilst the fireballs are in red. Variations occur where the nebulæ are in red, or even the whole under-glaze may be covered with a bright coral-coloured ground, with the decoration in blue. When this is so the pieces are classified as "coral-red." Again, amongst the various shades of red and brown under the glaze some are found in peach-coloured red. These form a class of "peach ware." Notice the care with which the scales on the dragons are drawn, and even from the photograph the white seems wonderfully pure. Yung-ching period.

The dragon decoration sometimes represents the li or dragon of the sea swimming in the water or rising from the waves. It was from such a dragon that Fuh-hi (2852-2738 B.C.) learnt and developed the eight diagrams or symbols called the Pa-kwa, which see under "Symbols." The Pa-kwa is used for decoration, usually as a raised design, seldom as a mark. The dragon is never used as a mark.




This magnificent, tall, cylindrical Vase is an example of red—rouge de fer—under the glaze, with enamel colours in exquisite harmony applied over the glaze. The merest glance will reveal how artistically the decorator applied his design to the surface at his disposal. Each branch, each leaf, has its value in the scheme of ornamentation. The surface is well covered, but there is no overcrowding. The Vase is of exquisite proportions, decorated on pure white glaze with a bold design of Ho-Ho birds, the plumage of rouge de fer, green, yellow, and aubergine; one bird is partly hidden by rocks drawn in various greens, aubergine, and blue, whilst springing from the back are large flowering branches of the peony flowers and blossoms. The drawing throughout is of the highest merit. The flowers and boughs are shown in yellow, blue, aubergine, creamy white, and black. Underneath the rocks and on the left of the large bird is a large peony in rouge de fer and foliage in various greens, whilst on the right are two other flowers, one of rouge de fer and the other of fine stippled yellow with an aubergine centre. The rest of the vase is decorated with a bold design of flowering peach-bloom branches and other large flowers in deep rouge de fer, aubergine, green, and yellow; the neck, which is divided from the body of the vase by a narrow black band, contains peonies and other flowers decorated in colours similar to the remainder of the vase. Period, Kang-he.





Many lovely specimens of blue and white with the Kang-he marks, with the double rings or with the leaf symbol inside the double rings under the glaze, genuine specimens of old Kang-he, have been irretrievably spoilt by being plastered over with thick enamels of red, green, blue, &c. The old English word "clobber" means a paste to conceal cracks in shoes, and the pity of the clobber decoration was that the enamels, having been burnt in, are to all intents and purposes irremovable. Before me, as I write, is a Kang-he vase with a leaf symbol within the double circle, showing a real old Kang-he blue and white production, but unfortunately the clobberer has plastered coloured enamel over the blue decoration, now faintly visible, and only where a transparent green or pink glaze has been applied; the rest is absolutely hidden by opaque glazes of rose and yellow, white, lilac, and blue, until the character of the Oriental piece has been entirely destroyed. The number of pieces so spoiled seemed to indicate that there was a demand for clobber ware, or that, as we noted, blue and white was not popular, or that it was imported for redecoration in the absence of white ware which could be used for the same purpose.202 Chinese porcelain in its white state was freely imported into Europe and decorated in the factories of Holland, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as in this country.

Every one who collects china is familiar with the so-called Lowestoft decoration, not a thousandth part of which ever saw Lowestoft; in fact, that researches which have been made at Lowestoft indicate that the manufacture was soft paste resembling early Bow and Worcester. Of course, some white Oriental china may have been decorated there, though no traces of broken hard paste seem to have been found in the excavations. It may be that Bow, Chelsea, and Worcester did decorate white Oriental china, but the information we have on this point is singularly weak and inconclusive. The clobber decoration is not alone in enamel colours or gold, but even lacquer is used for the same purpose. It is needless to say that the change is never to the advantage of the piece, and often the under-glaze blue may be seen peeping, as it were, reproachfully from beneath the overlying transparent enamel.

Another, but similar name, is sometimes applied to this style of decoration. It is said that an enameller named Globber—hence Globber ware—redecorated white and blue porcelain with enamels at Soho during the latter part of the eighteenth century.






The porcelain called reticulées comes into the category of blue and white because some of it was decorated with blue under the glaze. The pieces have double walls, of which the outside one is pierced with a pattern, often a network of exceeding fineness, a lace-work in porcelain through which may be seen the exquisite blue design upon the internal wall. It seems just as if the potter had two pieces made to fit at the top and bottom only. On the foundation piece—the internal wall—he expended the art of decoration in blue. On the other piece, even more care must have been shown in cutting the clay into delicate tracery, so minute as to be marvellous. Then the fitting of the two walls together was completed, and finally the firing process took place. Such pieces are pre-eminent in curiosity, in interest and in skill, and their variations are wonderful. Some are only blue and white, some are blue and white with reserves in biscuit. All had the outside wall pierced with a pattern. We are giving as illustrations two magnificent pieces of reticulated porcelain, but these are coloured with enamel colours.



Of Very Fine Quality.

Specially interesting and exceedingly valuable, this vase deserves careful study. It is a pity that it cannot be given in all the beauty of its colouring. At the top is a large panel containing the figure of a man offering the "Fruit of Life" to one of the immortals, at whose side is a deer; the remainder of this has rocks, foliage, a tree, and clouds, richly enamelled in green, aubergine, blue, and rouge de fer; the whole surrounded by a border of formal design in rouge de fer. The remainder contains sixteen panels. Each of the top eight contains a figure of the eight immortals with their various insignia; the robes of the figures are enamelled in rouge de fer, aubergine, blue, black, yellow, and various greens; whilst the lower portion has figures of boys playing various games, similarly enamelled. Dividing each panel is a broad band containing formal flowers and leaves in blue, green, and black, on bright yellow, whilst at the top of the base and bottom of the cover are aubergine bands with black tracery design and formal flowers in rouge de fer, blue, and yellow. The whole of the reticulated work is of brilliant yellow enamel. At the base is a broad plain black band, above which is a design of Joo-e-heads in apple-green.

Note.—This example is believed to be the largest specimen of reticulated work of the Ming period known to exist, and is equally remarkable for the high quality of its artistic work.

From the Collection of G. R. Davies, Esq.




A very rare and fine quality reticulated bulbous-shaped Vase with short neck. The body is decorated with figures, trees, &c., in a bold design. The shoulder, which is supported from the top by a band of blue, is decorated with various flowers and leaves. The base, which is a conventional design, is also supported from the centre by dark and light blue bands. The whole vase is brilliantly enamelled in aubergine, blue, yellow, &c. Ming period. This piece is a specimen of the coloured glazes on biscuit in which, after the piercing of the pattern on the air-dried clay has been carried out, it is fired in the kiln before being glazed. In classification this would be in the "Celadon biscuit" class. The reticulation in this specimen, though not so fine as in the other example which we have given, is very wonderful. How skilful the potter must have been to carve such an intricate pattern from a sun-dried vase! How each stroke of the tool must have had careful attention, so that, whilst aiming at a lace-like effect, the body of the vase should still be strong enough to bear the biscuit firing without breaking! Of course care had to be exercised in the painting, which was rarely in monochrome; generally, yellow, green, blue, maroon, and aubergine were employed. Then the second firing took place. In nearly all biscuit Celadon the paste or body is thinner than in ordinary Celadon, because the pattern had to be cut into and through it. To this class belongs the Ming Celadon, having the figures and other ornament in relief.






The section of porcelain which deals with decoration in colours is a revelation of the ingenuity, art, and industry of the Chinese potter. The difference between the Chinese productions and European china are striking; in fact, they cannot be compared. With the Chinese, the porcelain manufacture was a matter of custom, almost of religion. The gift of a piece of porcelain marked every solemn ceremony—the new year, the birthday, the marriage never passed without the presentation of a cup or vase which bore an inscription or a symbol of good wishes, or a character meaning either longevity or earthly happiness. Indeed, the visitor to the Chinese home could see not only cups and vases, but teapots, dishes, and plates with varied decoration and brilliant colouring, each telling its own story. Sometimes the teapots were made in the form of Chinese characters. On some pieces were the familiar scenes of the home life or of the public life which give us glimpses of the manners of a people, still imperfectly known and less understood, who for centuries opposed the strongest barriers to the curiosity of Europeans. On other pieces were depicted subjects drawn from the sacred legends or from the principal scenes of well-known wars.


Then the birds and animals each with its meaning, each a symbol! The peach blossom, the lotus, the dragon of the Emperors or of the princes appear side by side with the kylin, the Korean lion or dog of Fô, the sacred Ho-Ho birds, or Fong-Hoang, &c. On the plates and dishes specimens of the Oriental flowers were spread out in all the glory of vivid colour—peonies and chrysanthemums, lotus and azalea, with insects and butterflies no less gorgeous and certainly no less emblematical. Other specimens had for decoration rocks and trees with birds of rich plumage, and fishes with scales of golden hue.

Amongst these dazzling enamel colours four are most attractive and seem to dominate over all the others. Arranging them in families and placing them in order of age, we should take the black family, the green family, the yellow family, and the rose family. These all show the brilliant tones of a perfected production, and singularly enough they were, with one exception, ascribed to the Tsing dynasty; they began to be made in the Kang-he period of that dynasty. Such was the generally received opinion. Further investigation has shown that, with the exception of the "famille rose," most of these were made during the Ming dynasty, and attention is being drawn to this fact more and more as time reveals many undoubtedly fine pieces of the older dynasty. It may be objected that these fine pieces are later Chinese copies with the old dates, and the objection has certainly some grounds, but we must remember that the invention of translucid porcelain and its decoration was quite fabulous with regard to its antiquity, and we must further bear in mind that the regulations of the social and political life of the Chinese, the organisation of the family, which scarcely permitted the son to follow any other profession than215 that of his father, perpetuated the trades of a calling or trade. The routine practice, if this expresses the idea better, forbade all initiative in the mere worker. Inspiration creating new forms and colours depended upon the genius who presided over the Imperial manufactories. These and other causes brought this result, that art and industry rested almost stationary, reproducing the same types, the same forms, the same decoration, which responded to the demands, habits and customs of a people whose needs scarcely varied. Under these conditions, which furnish food for reflection, when we inquire, "Is this old china or not?" we must note that the mere inspection of hard porcelain made of kaolin, which is almost unalterable with time, will never reveal to the most expert the date of its creation. It is true that certain pieces bear an inscription indicating this or that date, but the number of these is very limited, for the use of date marks does not appear to have been adopted by the Chinese before the end of the fifteenth century. Although it may be objected that these marked specimens are later Chinese copies, and that similarly decorated specimens have simply the old dates recopied, it is quite possible that many of them which are thought to have been imitations may be really old. It will be difficult even for the expert to be certain in his differentiation between fine old Ming and Kang-he.

Coming in the same period as the three Kang-he enamel colours are the two underground glaze grounds powder-blue and coral-red. True powder-blue is Kang-he, but it has been copied, and badly, right on to our own times, whilst in coral red—"rouge de fer"—the later Keen-lung specimens can fairly be said to rival those of the earlier period. It is doubtful whether this rivalry would apply to any other class of porcelain.


A.—The Black Family—"Famille Noir."

This magnificent production, of which we give examples in our illustrations, is usually ascribed to Kang-he, possibly it may be earlier. Its characteristic quality was a black ground covered with almost invisible green glaze. The body of these pieces was decorated with flowers in yellow, green, and white, and with butterflies. A common form of decoration—if any can be called common in dealing with such a rare product—was that the panels were decorated with emblems of the seasons. A tree of peony with green, white, and grey blossoms appears to us to be fantastic, but the peony in China grew to the height of 12 ft. The chrysanthemum with flowers of similar colours formed a second panel, the guelder rose with green and white blossoms made the third, whilst the fourth had the lotus flower with tall green and grey flowers growing at the foot of green rocks at the edge of a green lake. The prunus blossom in white or pale green was often used for floral decoration, and yellow finches with green wings, white storks, white butterflies and bees are often found. So, too, is a green-faced dragon with a long brilliant green body in coils, sporting itself in mid-air. Reference to our illustrations will bring out other forms of decoration treated at some length.




This rare class, which is well exemplified by the fine specimens in the Salting Collection in the Museum at South Kensington, seems to have had the decoration applied in outline or in colour to white porcelain, and then the black ground was filled in. The black is thin and the tint is not intense. The decoration may be left white, or "famille verte" or "famille rose," &c. In these respects it differs from the modern ware, in which the enamel is thick, and the painting of the flowers and insects is far from being brilliant. Such pieces have no value.

The illustration shows a rare pair of hexagonal Teapots, divided into six pierced panels, which are decorated with hawthorn blossom, bamboo plant, and the peach-tree, on each side; the ground of brilliant black enamel. Springing from the base are acantha leaves, decorated in rouge de fer, in high relief; the base decorated with a light tracery design on apple-green; the necks divided into six panels in apple-green, bright green, and yellow, on which are Joo-e-heads in aubergine on various shades of green. The covers reticulated with design of hawthorn and branches; the stems in aubergine on green and rouge de fer. The handles are formed as dolphins; the head of each is in aubergine, the back in rouge de fer, and the body in yellow. The spouts are seen issuing from monster heads, the latter in aubergine, the former in brilliant yellow. Kang-he.




A very artistic octagonal-shaped Bowl, divided into four panels, on which are represented the flowers of the four seasons, decorated in green, white, and aubergine, on a brilliant black background. Dividing the panels are four sections of a diamond diaper design in green and yellow; at the base of each of these is a Joo-e-head in green and black. Surrounding the whole of the panels at the base is a light tracery design in black on yellow ground. At the bottom of the interior is an octagonal panel, decorated with rocks, flowers, and foliage in green, aubergine, and yellow, on black ground. Inside the rim is decorated with four panels of diaper design in green and yellow, in the centre of each of which there is a small reserve containing flowers in various colours on black ground, the outer portion of each having an aubergine border. Dividing these four panels are four small reserves, containing flowers in various colours on a seeded yellow ground. Supported on a carved wood stand. In this piece the diaper decoration, in green and yellow, which distinguishes early Ming and Kang-he, is again prominent. These diapers are largely used in borders too. Many of them can be traced in our illustrations, such as the key pattern, the T, the swastika, Joo-e-head, trellis, triangle, herring-bone, honeycomb, ring, diamond, as here, plain, sometimes it is flowered; lozenge, coin, scroll, fish-roe, octagons and squares, net-work, petal-work, speckled-work to imitate fish-skin, scale, curl, Y-work. They should be studied. Kang-he period.




The pair of square-shaped tapering Vases of brilliant black enamel. Three of the four seasons are shown, in which are depicted the flowers of the seasons in green, yellow, white, and aubergine. On the shoulders there are flowers in similar colours, whilst each neck is decorated with peonies in green, yellow, and aubergine, all having the same brilliant black ground. On the vase showing a single face there is the spring scene of peach-trees with flowers and birds. The rocks are conventional in form, whilst the branches and trunks of the trees in aubergine show the darker markings in sepia. To the left of the other vase we find the summer flower, the lotus, in full bloom, with storks wading in the water; to the right the autumn flower, the chrysanthemum, bears a gorgeous display of bloom. In the top left corner, a butterfly—emblem of conjugal felicity—is flitting round the flowers. The fourth season—the plum and early rose—is not shown.

The black glaze used here must not be confounded with that which was invented in the Keen-lung period, because the Keen-lung glaze was applied in one process. The Kang-he black was a dull black glazed over with green. The painting of the flowers, &c., was first carried out in proper colours, then the black was applied to block out the design, and finally the thin but brilliant green was painted over the black. Variations in the colour scheme may be found. Some have the flowers, &c., left in white upon the black ground. Others have similar drawing white with black ground, only the green glaze was carried all over the piece, so that whilst the ground remained black the decoration was all coloured green. The examples are of the Kang-he period.



A pair of large-sized pear-shaped Beaker Vases.

This quality of old Chinese porcelain is very rare and valuable. The two vases are so shown as to exhibit the usual method adopted by the Chinese in decorating two objects similar in shape. The European style is to decorate the two objects making a pair in precisely the same way. The Orientals reversed the patterns so as to give a right and a left view of them. In these vases the tree trunk and the floral pattern on the one vase takes an opposite direction in the other, so that when they are placed side by side, as in the illustration, they make a balanced design. These are most extraordinary examples of the rare "famille noire" porcelain, and of their kind are undoubtedly the finest known specimens. The background is of a brilliant black, decorated with rocks in bright green, and two birds in various brilliant colours. Coming from the back of the rock is a peony, exquisitely drawn and brilliantly enamelled in yellow. The flowers on the corresponding side to this are bright green with white stalks. The reverse has peonies. The base and the upper part is almost covered with white hawthorn in a brilliant vitreous white; the neck decorated with sprays of flowers and hawthorn in white and brilliant coloured enamels. A great feature of the body of the vase is the branches of trees on either side, carried out in aubergine in the most perfect gradation of colour. The designs are opposite in each vase, and thus form a complete pair. The vases are in perfect condition, and of the Kang-he period. Extreme height, 27 inches; height of stand, 3-1/2 inches. Value, £10,000.




(a) A small oviform bottle-shaped Vase, with expanding neck, decorated with rocks, prunus blossom, and branches, in various greens, white, aubergine, and yellow, on a brilliant black enamel ground.

(b) An oviform beaker-shaped Vase decorated with prunus blossom and branches, similar to the above in colour. Birds in brilliant colours. Black ground. Neither M. Jacquemart nor Franks nor Gulland give very much information about this class of porcelain—black ground covered with an almost invisible green glaze. As in the blue and white class, there are found sprays or branches of white prunus with the "ascending" and the "descending" stem in what has been so long miscalled the "hawthorn pattern." The difference is, of course, one of ground colour. The blue in the one is under the glaze, and in the other the black is painted on the white china in its biscuit state when the other decoration has first been burnt in. The process appears to be this. First the white or coloured pattern is burnt in, in the first firing in the kiln, leaving the ground white. To this the black ground is applied and again burnt in. Over this black ground the green wash is painted, and at the same time coloured decoration added where necessary, causing another visit to the kiln. Finally the whole is covered with a fine transparent glaze and receives its final firing. It seems that unless a process similar to this were adopted the smoothness and beauty of the magnificent decoration could never be attained. Note in one illustration the "ascending" stem and in the other the stem is "descending" over the body and ascending in the neck. Both pieces are Kang-he.


B.—The Green Family—"Famille Verte."

The green family in its finest form is undoubtedly a Kang-he production, but all of the decoration was not in green. Brilliant enamel colours were combined with gilding, and flowers such as the white chrysanthemum, the lotus, the prunus are frequently found in conjunction with black speckled diapers and large panels decorated with various subjects with small reserves decorated with fishes, crabs, and prawns. Figure painting in the green family is not uncommon. Si-Wang-Mu on the borders of the Lake of Gems, mounted warriors in a battle scene or simply marching, and various other military subjects are not uncommon. The ancient pine-tree and the peony are frequently met with, but it is the green, one of the most beautiful enamel colours ever used, which constitutes the attraction in this "famille verte" class, to which family belong many of the figures now known as Ming figures, such as the dog of Fô, having a white body with yellow, green and gold protuberances, green head and green, grey, and red mane and tail. The bases of such figures are usually in diamond or other diapers, which may be further decorated with a single red peach blossom. The earlier Ming figures as a rule have the flesh, face, arms, and hands unglazed.




A rare and very beautiful oviform Vase, containing on the body two large panels, one with a bird on the branch of a plum-tree, the other with a peony on the branch of a tree under which is a large chrysanthemum and foliage. On each side there are two other panels, one circular, the other leaf shape; these contain as to the former, insects, and the latter, cocks. All the panels are surrounded with a narrow border of yellow, black, and aubergine; the body of the vase richly enamelled with flowers and foliage in blue, green, and aubergine, on a bright black ground. At the base is a broad band of formal design in aubergine, yellow, and rouge de fer, on apple-green. At the bottom of the neck is a broad band with flowers in rouge de fer, green, blue, and aubergine, on a stippled black ground; this is divided by four reserves containing carp and other fishes in rouge de fer, green, and black, on white, the borderings of green and yellow; under this is a band of Joo-e-heads in aubergine, blue, and green, alternately, depending from a narrow margin containing a formal design in rouge de fer and green on a black ground. The neck has two leaf-shaped panels containing river scenes; the remainder decorated in uniformity to the vase. At the top of the neck is a key design in black on green; depending from this a wave pattern border in aubergine, black, and green; this is repeated at the base of the neck, having under it a narrow band containing chrysanthemums and foliage in rouge de fer, aubergine, green, and yellow on stippled green ground. The whole of the panels in rich "famille verte" colours. Kang-he period.

Note.—The connoisseur will at once detect in this vase qualities hardly ever met with in Chinese porcelain. The technique leaves nothing to be desired, and the quality of the enamels and porcelain is of the very highest.

From the Collection of G. R. Davies, Esq.




The long, slim ladies' figures so often found in the decoration of very fine Kang-He blue and white represent what were known to the Dutchmen as Lange Lijsen, Lange Lysen, or "slender damsels." This name is familiar in its English form of "Long Elizas." The older pieces gave these figures very large heads, which later were drawn smaller. The style of hairdressing is also different. Bearing in mind the fact that imitations continued right down through the dynasties, drawing alone cannot be relied on as an indication of age.

Our illustration is an egg-shell Lantern, one of a pair, in the finest quality "famille verte" on white. It shows a court lady and gentleman playing "Go," seated upon a terrace. At the table is also seated a nobleman of high rank, five other female figures being attendants. The remainder of the decoration is of trees with flowering branches, clouds, rocks, &c. Surrounding the neck is a diaper design in aubergine and black on a bright green ground, this band being intersected with four small reserves containing flowers in green and yellow on a white ground; the neck has trellis design in rouge de fer on a white ground, relieved with four flowers in green and black; the base is similarly treated, and above this is a broad band of brilliant green enamel decorated with a pencilled Grecian key design in black. Kang-he period.




The illustration is a set of three Vases of the highest quality "famille verte," square-shaped, tapering towards the base, decorated with enamel colours in which green predominates, but with fine blues, soft yellows, and black. The middle vase represents two views. On the left is a mountain stream running through a deep gorge with rocks and mountain peaks rising in the middle and far distance. In the foreground is one man riding and another walking across the bridge over the stream. On the right is a similar background of mountains. Down the stream is a boatman steering his laden boat by the aid of a pole. Nearer is a house with a lady looking out at the door. Below is a man fishing.

On the left vase there are two scenes from everyday life. One represents a man playing the Kin, or Chinese lute; below a man is talking to a boy; a horse stands behind them. The other shows two men playing "go bang" whilst a lady looks on; near them, on the other side of the hedge, two men are conversing during a walk. On the neck of the vase is a cheou or show character, meaning longevity.

On the right vase, left side, is a house in the foreground with a mountain scene stretching away in the distance. From the window of the house a Taoist is speaking with Leu Tung-pin, one of the eight immortals, whose feet are on the clouds, whilst his sword is as usual slung across his back. On the other side, high up amongst the hills, are Lange Lyzen, one of whom is dancing. Below are two dignitaries in conversation with a servant standing near. In the foreground of both sides are trees in a landscape. Kang-he period.



This example shows how faithfully the Chinese could utilise the scenes of their daily life for illustration. In this respect it is well worthy of careful study. It belongs to the Kang-he period.

A large beaker-shaped Vase of the highest quality "famille verte," finely drawn, and decorated with subjects illustrating the rice industry. Near the base is the figure of a man ploughing the rice field, with a water buffalo, in aubergine and yellow. Just above, inside a building, which is of aubergine and green, is a man sorting the rice. Again, above this, on the left, are two girls, one in a yellow robe, the other in blue, preparing the twine necessary for laying out the field. On the other side are children and women in green, yellow, and blue robes, gathering the rice; whilst underneath these are two men showing the process of weighing. In the centre, above this, are three other figures, one carrying the rice in a tray, and the others showing the process of winnowing. The remainder of the body of the vase has finely drawn trees with flowering branches thickly enamelled, whilst at the top is a broad diaper-pattern band with yellow flowers on a green ground; this band has at top and bottom a narrow margin of aubergine, and is intersected with four small reserves containing utensils in green, yellow, aubergine, and black, on a white ground. The neck is similarly enamelled, and shows on one side men sowing the rice, and on the other a lady is reclining, whilst in front of her are two attendants.



Large hexagonal Arrow Stand.


Although the Chinese think very highly of a life free from worldly turmoil, yet they were warriors too. Here we have a fine example of a porcelain arrow stand, decorated with raised ornament, with pierced ornament, and with fine enamel colouring. We note the peach branch—emblem of marriage and long life—to which magic virtues were attributed. Possibly this emblem indicated the reward of the warrior, when his work as a soldier was finished. The presence of the immortals, again, was the expression of the universal desire for long life which has always existed in China, and the immortals, who had eaten the peach—the fruit of immortality—represent this ever-to-be-coveted object. Referring to the illustration, the arrow stand is decorated in high relief, with peaches on branches in aubergine, rouge de fer, green, and yellow, on a white ground. At the top is a broad band richly enamelled in "famille verte" colours with flowers and foliage on a stippled ground bordered with the key design in black on bright green. Separating a band of Joo-e-heads, enamelled in yellow, blue, green, and black, is a narrow margin in plain apple-green. At the base are six reclining figures of immortals in "famille verte" colours, whilst above these is a band similar to that at the top. This is supported on a hexagonal base richly enamelled with flowers in "famille verte" colours. Period, Kang-he.




The Vase given as an illustration belongs to the "famille verte" class, and deserves careful attention from the fact that it is useful to be able to read off the points in any given piece. Take the shape first. It is a gourd-shaped bottle with spreading mouth. On it are seen three circular panels, called also reserves or compartments. The bottom one, as may be easily seen, contains a basket of flowers with a ribbon on the top. The one on the left is filled with utensils—a word used for this kind of decoration. Note the vases with flowers, the books bound with a filet and the leaf symbol. The other round panel shows a bird on a branch of the peony in flower. Butterflies, &c., are also shown.

The groundwork of the two bulging bodies is a diaper pattern of the most elaborate curl-work, through which runs a conventional pattern of stems, leaves, and flowers of the peony.

Now begin at the spreading mouth and trace the diapers downwards. The first pattern is the "flowered honeycomb," then a small rectangular diaper. Passing to the base of the first bulge, we find a narrow "Joo-e-head" band, below that "flowered octagons and squares," then flowered "triangle-work" in another band. Still more "flowered octagons and squares" follow, having next below a diaper of "treble scale" pattern. Last of all comes alternately a light and dark rectangular pattern. It will be noted that the diapers are broken by small "Joo-e-head" reserves painted with utensils, flowers, and views. Kang-he period. Decoration of the reserves in "famille verte."


C.—The Powdered Blue, with Enamel Colours.

The powder or powdered blue family has been referred to already and the manner in which the blue is applied has been explained. Though this colour, like the others, had perhaps its rise, and its greatest perfection, in the Kang-he period, yet many specimens of extremely fine quality are ascribed to Yung-ching and Keen-lung. There are, however, no specimens of true powder-blue that belong to any other than the Kang-he period. The art was evidently lost, and when it was attempted, in the reign of the Emperor Keen-lung, the nearest approach was what is known as mazarine blue, which is entirely different, being much heavier in tone and not powdered, and it is these pieces which have "famille-rose" decoration, and this places beyond all doubt the period to which they belong. Where the powder-blue has reserves, as is almost always the case, they may be filled with decoration in blue under the glaze, or with "famille verte" applied over the glaze. Or again, and in the later periods of Yung-ching and Keen-lung, the various shaped white reserves may have "famille rose" decoration. Similar flowers were used in decorating these pieces in reserves, as we have mentioned before. A general test of the older pieces is the presence of the joo-e head, which either ornaments the rims in small panels or is the shape adopted for the large panels. These are decorated with garden landscapes with figures, and official emblems in various colours such as green, yellow, grey, red, and even other blue enamel colours. Other scenes represent the god of longevity presenting the244 red peach of long life to a child held by a person of rank. Generally, however, the subjects used have decorations varying comparatively little, although the treatment of these subjects differs considerably in the colour scheme.




(a) A powder-blue Pot and Cover. The body has two large square-shaped panels decorated with flowers, birds, &c., in "famille verte"; it also has two panels form of pomegranate fruit decorated in greens and red, and two fan-shaped panels with flowers in black on a yellow ground. The lid has two panels form of peach fruit in greens and red, and two fan-shaped panels with flowers, &c., in "famille verte" Very unusual specimen. Kang-he.

A pair of powder-blue teapots relieved with panels decorated with flowers in "famille verte." The lids are surmounted with so-called kylins, dogs of Fô, or Corean lions. Kang-he.

(b) An elegant-shaped powder-blue Vase, relieved with various Joo-e-head panels, decorated with flowers, &c., beautifully enamelled in "famille verte," with gold pencilling between panels. Mounted with a rim of ormolu. Kang-he.

A pair of powder-blue bottle-shaped Vases with three Joo-e-head-shaped panels on the body, decorated with vases, utensils, &c., in blue and white, and three leaf-shaped panels decorated with flowers, butterflies, &c., on the neck, also in blue and white. Kang-he period. The panels of vases, &c., are often decorated with emblems of the seasons by means of flowers and landscapes. Thus, spring may be shown by a mountain scene with the prunus or peach in bloom before its leaves appear, or by another with two ladies under the willow. Spring flowers are the large white magnolia or the yulan with the peony. The yulan magnolia is often confounded with the guelder-rose, though the former, like the peach, blossoms before its leaves appear. It is a magnolia, one of eighty-five species. Summer is pictured by pines, poplars, reeds, lotus, hydrangea, pinks, and flags; autumn by chrysanthemums, birds, butterflies, russet leaves of the oak and its acorns, by scenes of ladies gathering fruit, and of swollen rivers and autumn tints generally. Winter is indicated by the prunus or plum, by early roses or winter scenes.



A pair of very fine quality, large size, powder-blue Plates with Joo-e-shaped panels in the centre, and eight small panels or reserves round the border. It will be noticed that the patterns of the decoration on the two plates is not the same. The central panel on the left has a fine landscape with figures in conversation. The smaller panels are alternately decorated with a small landscape, and with flowers. The gilt pattern, too, so often used with powder-blue, and so quickly lost, is clearly shown on the blue ground, giving a further decoration of flowers not alone in compartments, but also over all the blue surface. The other plate has the central panel decorated with a landscape and some striking cloud forms. The small panels are all decorated with flowers. There are only traces of the formal golden chrysanthemum pattern, which, besides, is again different to that on the other plate. Both have a mountainous coast scene in the distance with a pagoda and trees. Both, too, in middle distance a house and a weeping willow. Besides this class of powder-blue with green family decoration, it is also very effective, though not so brilliant, with blue under-glaze landscapes, figures, and flowers in similar panels to those we have described-that is, the Joo-e-head panel. Special attention should be paid to the variation of the Joo-e outline. The Joo-e-head itself is given amongst the symbolical marks. The catalogue description is sometimes like this, "Joo-e head-shaped reserves," or again "Joo-e-head-shaped Y diaper." Kang-he period.




A pair of mazarine blue Jars and Covers, having two leaf-shaped panels. These are from a set of five, three vases and two beakers. These are finely decorated with storks and other birds and flowers in "famille rose" enamel. Various small panels as on the covers are similarly decorated with flowers. The covers themselves are surmounted by dogs of Fô or Corean lions. These are ascribed to Keen-lung, and may be taken as an attempt to copy Kang-he powder-blue. They are covered with a rich blue enamel named mazarine, after the cardinal of that name. This is opaque and generally darker in colour than the powder-blue. One is applied as a colour enamel—that is mazarine; the other is colour powdered or dabbed on—that is powder-blue. The mazarine blue comes really under the Celadon class as a "self" colour. The leaf-shaped panels or reserves are in white surrounded by a faint dull red outline of the leaf. The blue enamel is not alone used with "famille rose" decoration as in the illustration, but it is also combined with "famille verte" either with or without red scroll-work as a ground diaper. The vases made in pairs have usually a right and a left—that is, the pattern is reversed. Here we have an example of the contrary, the two specimens are identical. The leaf-panel runs down from the top to the point at the bottom on the right in both, and birds, flowers, and trees are as nearly alike as possibly could be expected.

Note.—The decoration in blue enamel colour was an addition of the early part of the Tsing dynasty; no Ming specimen has been identified having the blue over the glaze.


D.—Green and Yellow Family—"Famille Jaune."

An elegant combination is found in this early product, where the two prominent colours are green and yellow. Sometimes the body may have a black ground covered with almost invisible green glaze, but the main decoration is green, aubergine, and yellow, although other colours such as red, especially red triangle work, is frequently found. These pieces probably originated in the Ming period, but were recopied later. They have reserves such as those mentioned before, decorated with Buddhist emblems or with subjects such as a prince and princess of the Imperial house walking in a garden with two Ho-Ho birds, and a landscape where ladies are conversing and men are in attendance. Amongst the symbols are to be found the official one of the branch of coral with the peacock's feathers. The diapers are very varied and the joo-e-head decoration is frequently found. The frontispiece gives a good idea of this form of decoration, and its description should be noted.

In speaking of the rare examples, yellow-ground, as well as black and green, could be ranked quite in the first order; in fact, they are almost the rarest kind. Specimens of these families were made at the end of the Ming period, and it is a very moot point to-day whether the fine examples, which we know, belong to the end of the Ming or the beginning of the Kang-he.




A tall square taper-shape Vase, decorated with a bold design of lotus flowers, foliage, and birds, in various greens, aubergine, and black on brilliant yellow; on the shoulders in each corner is a Joo-e-head design in aubergine and green; the edgings in white biscuit with black borderings. This is a very interesting decoration. The surface of the water is represented by the numerous short horizontal lines. In the water, the lotus, the sweet-flag, and other water-loving plants are growing, just as if the artist had made his drawing from the banks of an actual pond in the open air. Besides being beautiful, the lotus is the sacred flower of Buddha. Its large tulip-like flowers may be white or tinted pink, blue or yellow, and they hang over broad leaves, in shape like the nasturtium leaf. It does not lie upon the water like the water-lily, but stands up from it upon a strong stem. The drawing shows bud, flower, and seed-pod. It is the last which is usually carried as an emblem by the goddess, Ho Seen-koo, though it may be a bud or a full-blown flower. The lotus belongs to the water-lily family, and the sacred lotus was anciently used in religious rites in Egypt and Assyria, whilst the Greeks dedicated it to the nymphs. Its constant use as an emblem seems to come from its wheel-like form. Like the Chakra, or "Wheel of the Law," it typifies the doctrine of perpetual cycles of existence. In fact, the spokes of the Chakra are often lotus-shaped. Kang-he period.




An oval-shaped Jardinière, decorated with a diaper design in brilliant green and yellow enamels. The body is divided into four quatrefoil-shaped panels containing altar utensils and vases, which are most artistically drawn and enamelled in various greens, yellows, aubergine, and black, on a white ground. The diaper pattern which forms the groundwork is the diamond design, but the double lines cutting the diamond are so arranged to form the swastika. The swastika—"the ten thousand things"—is sometimes found as a mark upon blue and white or painted Chinese porcelain of fine quality. It may occur alone, or with a border of two oblongs like a seal shape, or four swastikas may be found in a similar border. In the front of the quatrefoil-shaped panel on the vases is another symbol, one of the hundred Cheous or Shows, the emblem of longevity. The curious instrument lying behind the vases is the lute wrapped in its cover. This stringed instrument consists of a board four feet long eighteen inches wide, convex above and flat below, where two holes open into hollows. There are seven strings. It is very ancient and constitutes an emblem of harmony. As Confucius writes: "Happy union with wife and children is like the music of lutes and harps." The other instrument represents a guitar, which was made in many forms, from the bamboo stick thrust into a cylinder of the same material, having only two strings, to the pipa, having four strings, like those of the violin. Kang-he.


E.—Coral Red Ground.

If there is another class which deserves mention it is that having a coral red ground thickly powdered it may be with white chrysanthemum leaves and flowers, decorated with joo-e-head ornaments or ornamented with deep rose, grey and white, yellow and white, pale blue and white, prunus blossom powdered upon a golden iced diaper, the emblem of the coming spring. This coral red ground—"rouge de fer"—differs from all the others in this class because it is an under-glaze decoration. It is essentially a Kang-he production, although some very fine specimens have the Keen-lung mark.

The reader has no doubt noticed the rivalry between these periods, and the values of coral red specimens are more affected by quality than perhaps by age.



The piece of coral was an emblem of the official class, and this coral-red ground is, as its name implies, an imitation of this. It is an under-glaze ground, in which the colour was derived from iron. Over-glaze enamels were used for decoration with fine effect, such as the greens, the yellows, and the reds from gold. Blue over the glaze dates from Kang-He, and it is early.

Our illustration shows a very fine cylindrical Jar, with receding neck and spreading lid with knob. The body decorated with formal scroll and leaf pattern, with a double band of conventional white lotus. The shoulder and base decorated with a broad band of Joo-e-shaped reserves, bordered alternately with narrow bands of blue and grey edged with green; the smaller space between edged with a paler green. Red reserves, so formed, decorated with conventional chrysanthemums with brilliant green leaves. On the shoulder above, four circular, green-edged, white medallions, and four oval, green-edged, red spaces ornamented with chrysanthemum flowers. At the base a narrow band of green and red diamond rice diaper on a white ground. The neck decorated with two shaped oval red medallions, edged with grey on a speckled green ground powdered with red chrysanthemum. The reserve decorated with coiled white fire dragons (mang) among white fire-forms on a coral-red ground. Above and below this decoration, narrow bands of scroll and flower diaper patterns. Lid with a slightly decorated white knob, ornamented with similar pattern to that on the shoulder of the vase. Height, 21 in. Period, Kang-he.




The dragon is the Emperor's emblem, as the phœnix or Fong-Hoang is that of the Empress. We find the "lung" or "long" dragon of the sky, the "li" dragon of the sea, and the "kiau" dragon of the marshes. There are scaly dragons, and others winged, horned, hornless, and rolled. The four highest ranks of princes are permitted to use the five-clawed dragon, but the fifth rank of the princes and the mandarins use a dragon or serpent with four claws. This, treated conventionally, is the well-known "mang" which is shown in the body and necks of the vase used as an illustration. The expressions, "dragon's seat," "dragon's bed," "dragon's face," "dragon's head," &c., are easily understood when "emperor" is substituted for "dragon."

A tall, rouleau-shaped Vase, containing six circular panels with formal floral design in "rouge de fer," blue, and white, on apple-green; the body of the vase with dragons and formal flowers in yellow, blue, green, white, and aubergine, on deep "rouge de fer." At the base is a narrow band of diaper design with black lines on green ground; this contains four small reserves with a flower and foliage in "rouge de fer" and green on a white ground, the bordering of yellow and blue. The band separating the neck has a running dragon and clouds in blue; yellow, "rouge de fer," and white, on apple-green; whilst the neck is treated uniformly with the body of the vase, excepting that at the top there is a narrow band of diaper pattern in aubergine, green, and black, with four small reserves containing fruit and foliage in "rouge de fer" and green on white ground. Period, Kang-he.


F.—The Rose Family—"Famille Rose."

We noted that the rose enamel was used in decoration by Yung-ching. The same rose decoration was continued by Keen-lung, which had an especial form of decoration consisting of the rose and white peony with the prunus—the so-called hawthorn. Frequently, too, there is a swastika trellis. We have dealt somewhat fully with the ruby-back plates as a branch of the rose family. This ruby and peach blossom rose ground was applied to vases with very telling effect. As, in the black family, the ground was a black covered with an almost invisible green glaze, so in this family we get a peach blossom rose ground often powdered with pale blue, yellow, grey and white chrysanthemum blossoms. The reserves are often fan-shaped, and the decoration in these reserves consists of the usual subjects or emblems in brilliant enamel colours. Similar flowers to those noted before as the emblems of the seasons are frequently found. These include pale rose and blue and white peony, pale rose and white rose, peach blossom, chrysanthemums, the oleander with single rose and white prunus blossom. These rose pieces are extremely elegant and very rare. They date from the Yung-ching period, in which they reached their highest perfection, under Keen-lung the standard of excellence was nearly as high.



Egg-Shell Porcelain. Ruby-Back Plates.


The central Plate has the rim decorated with the noted octagon and square diaper pattern so often found on egg-shell pieces, and used on every piece shown in the photograph. This pattern is often intercepted by reserves. The plate has three leaf-shaped reserves decorated with white peony, ruby peach, and yellow persimmon. There are three other reserves having formal golden flowers with green leaves. The whole centre of the plate represents a domestic scene where a lady of high rank, seated, is giving instructions to two children. In the background are vases and a table on which is a plant. The back of the rim is ruby coloured. Diameter, 8-1/4 inches. Period, Keen-lung. The two other plates are also ruby-backed. They have on the rim three Joo-e-head reserves containing fruit and flowers in brilliant colours. The central decoration consists of vases of flowers in enamels of the finest quality. The octagon and square diaper pattern is blue on the inner rim and pink on the broad band forming the outer rim. The cups and saucers are no less beautiful. The border is relieved with reserves, and the inner rim of octagon and square diaper surrounds a hexagonal central reserve of Joo-e-head design. In this reserve there are baskets of flowers and bouquets in brilliant colours enamelled on a white ground. This group shows many of the peculiarities of the rose family decoration with regard to diaper pattern, shape of the reserves, and the general character of the ornament.




An oviform egg-shell Vase, beautifully painted, with ladies in the landscape carrying vases. The whole in rich enamel colours. Yung-ching period. Height, 19-1/2 in. without stand. This is one of the largest known examples of egg-shell porcelain. This vase is painted in the most elaborate and beautiful style, which was brought to great perfection under Keen-lung. Some collectors are inclined to attribute such egg-shell with delicate pencillings to the Yung-ching era, though specimens which have been found with marks have been Keen-lung, and as time passes on Yung-ching will secure more and more support.

The lady carrying the vase is looking to her companion. Between them is an animal, either a deer or a kylin. The vase contains a branch of coral and two peacock's feathers, indicating a mandarin who has risen three steps at a time, as the coral and four feathers indicate a rise of five steps. The paintings of the figures and the vegetation are most minutely executed, and the rich enamels are delicately shaded with "verte," "rose," and other tints, showing tree-stems and rocks in their natural colours. As in all classes, some specimens are better than others, but this piece is one of unsurpassed excellence. To this egg-shell class belong the ruby-back plates, which are amongst the most desirable specimens of Chinese art. The same delicate handling in painting and colouring distinguishes them all. Figures are enamelled in pale green, pink, yellow, &c.; trees with green foliage have their trunks and branches with sepia on a pale lavender ground, whilst the cloud forms, slightly defined, fade away into the distance.


G.—Other Enamel Colours.

The decorations of the green family are rather severe in character. They might be termed Chinese classical, because they are so largely influenced by religion. The same remarks apply to the black family. The rose family, on the contrary, with its lovely borders and varied designs, generally represents familiar Chinese subjects and scenes from social life.

The enamel colours which follow are amongst the rarest and most beautiful products of China, taking rank with those pieces which are never dear, though the prices at which they are sold may be astonishing.




The coloured glazes are very numerous, but the apple-green ground is rare and consequently very much valued. Besides the painting, these pieces, having coloured grounds, are further decorated by ornament raised in relief, or pierced, when the paste is soft, with reticulations.

The Chinese made puzzle cups with a small figure of a man inside, which would hold a liquid till it reached his shoulder, when the whole of the contents were syphoned out through a hole in the bottom of the cup. They also made puzzle vases or jugs, having a raised hollow coil round the neck, which, through the handle, was connected with the interior of the vessel. The old English puzzle jug had a similar device, in which the difficulty was to drink the contents without spilling them.

Here is a Puzzle Teapot or Wine-pot in the form of a peach, the Fruit of Life; the groundwork of pale apple-green decorated with flowers in yellow, aubergine, green, and black. In the centre on either side is a large white panel containing in the one a gentleman of rank with an attendant bringing him tea; this is decorated in various greens, yellow, and aubergine. On the other side is a house towards which is coming a flying stork; this is enamelled in similar colours, and both panels are surrounded by a cloud design in yellow, green, aubergine, and black. The base, spout, and handle have black patches on aubergine ground; while both the latter are held to the body by branches of leaves which are in high relief and enamelled in brilliant green. Ming biscuit, so-called.




An unusual form of decoration is shown in this illustration. In China the carp and perch are often found in the decoration of small reserves. Indeed, the immortals are often drawn standing upon a fish, and modelled as figures standing on fishes, crabs, or crawfish. The effects of fish culture as carried on by the Chinese is very marked in the case of the carp, which are often seen with monster-like projecting eyes and tufted or lobed tails. They are kept in garden ponds or in large jars in which are placed rocks covered with moss and water-plants, which furnish the decoration in the illustration. The wonderful drawing of the fish in all sorts of positions is to be noted. So, too, is the marvellous arrangement of the water-plants, which fall gracefully into the scheme of decoration. All is still in the deep water, but on the shoulders are the water-lilies, and above them are the waves seemingly agitated by the rough wind. To recapitulate and to give the colours we specially call attention to this fine pair of square taper-shaped vases which are in all probability unique as a pair, decorated with fishes and aquatic plants in aubergine, green, yellow, black, and white, on a pale apple-green ground; the edges and borderings of yellow enamel. At the shoulders over each corner is a water-lily with foliage in green, yellow, and black; the necks decorated with horses in yellow and aubergine, going through waves of green and white enamel; the upper portion of pale apple-green. Called Lang-yao to indicate that it was discovered by Lang Ting-tso, superintendent of the Imperial works at King-te-chin. This piece is Kang-he.




A double gourd-shaped Vase, of noble proportions, one of a pair, decorated with an imposing Vandyke design, containing peonies and a formal floral design in rich yellow and black enamels on a pale green ground. Each section is surrounded by a broad band of "rouge de fer" containing formal flowers in white. The top of the lower portion of the vase has a broad band of diaper design containing formal flowers on various colour grounds; this band is divided with four reserves, each containing a formal design in green and "rouge de fer" on bright yellow ground. The waist of the vase has a half-section diaper design in green and "rouge de fer." Around the neck is a deep band of a bold trellis design in "rouge de fer," blue, yellow, and black. They are supported on finely chased ormolu bases of Louis XVI. period; the mounts for the lips en suite. Period, Kang-he.

Here, again, we note diaper designs. On the top of the neck is a honey-comb diaper cut with sectors of a circle forming a geometrical flower pattern, which is further decorated by white and coloured formal flowers with six petals. The top of the lower portion has the honey-comb and square pattern decorated with geometrical flowers, whilst the lower part of the upper section has the honey-comb diaper with lines radiating from the centre so as to give a formal flower design.

Fine pieces of old Chinese porcelain are often found mounted in French ormolu. The examples from the Jones Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, are fine pieces of old Crackle porcelain with finely chased ormolu mounts.




A pair of Imperial hedge-sparrow egg tint and white Vases with a very beautiful clear glaze. The white is a series of scrolls and flowers, and geometrical designs over the whole of the body and neck. Marked on base "Kea-king." Period, 1796-1821. In these two vases may be seen some of the most delicate and beautiful work of the later period. In paste, colour, and decoration they are exquisite. The green class includes apple-green, camellia-green, Celadon, pea-green, sea-green, and turquoise-green. The delicate green, indicated by the term "hedge-sparrow egg tint," is just a shade different from all of the others, and the application of the white enamel decoration over the green is most artistic and delicate. The conventional design is based upon a flower and its leaves, though the Joo-e-head and swastika are easily seen, the former below the central flower, and two swastikas, one on each side. At the top of the neck below the lip is a diaper of Joo-e-heads. The bottom of the neck has a Greek key pattern, so has the bottom rim. On the shoulder is a border of Joo-e-heads and conventional bats. The swastika is a mystical sign, with which is associated a hidden meaning of a religious kind. It is regarded as the emblem of the heart of Buddha—that is, his inner true teaching. It has also a further signification: it indicates ten thousand years. The bat and the Joo-e-head are treated in the section on Symbols, but we may say that the bat is an emblem of felicity, and the Joo-e of amity and goodwill.




A very remarkable pair of aubergine flat-shaped Vases with lion-head ring handles; the decoration is a spray of chrysanthemums in blue, green, and white, on the one side; and a spray of hawthorn in white, aubergine, green, and blue, on the reverse, in brilliant enamels in sunk relief. Supported on carved wood stands. Extreme height, including stand, 12-1/2 inches. Ming. Aubergine is a very difficult colour to describe. It is the colour of the fruit of the egg-plant, from which the name is derived. It has a remarkable range of tints, but the predominant one is purple, on the one side it becomes almost sepia and on the other almost orange. It is rarely used as a ground colour as it is in this case, but it is a delightful thin wash applied when thick enamels cannot be used, and it is so transparent that a darker colour can be seen through it. Hence its frequent use in the trunks of trees and in branches of flowers where the markings of the bark may be made visible. Again, it is frequently employed in painting the roofs of houses where a wide wash gives a bold and highly decorative effect, the purple shade being transparent allows the black, in which the design is sketched, to show through. In the example given not alone is the ground of aubergine, but other shades of the same colour are used in the decoration, which has this unusual feature, it is not raised, but depressed or sunk in.




Painted in colours over the glaze, with gilt scroll-work. This pair of conical egg-shell Vases with short necks is 18 in. high. There is no mark. M. Jacquemart divides the Mandarin class into seven sections, which he distinguishes by the decoration:—

(1) Pieces having painted in compartments with Indian ink backgrounds and gold borders.

(2) Where the spaces between the reserves or compartments are covered with gilt scroll-work diaper or pattern as in the illustration.

(3) With black borders and key pattern in gilt, usually having iron-red grounds.

(4) With variegated grounds, designs in iron-red and black, pink and other colour filagree-work.

(5) With spaces between the reserves covered with round dots or points resembling shagreen either green or white. When the dots and ground are white the Chinese name it "chicken's flesh."

(6) With indented wreaths or flowers traced in the paste and decoration in under-glaze blue and over-glaze enamelled medallions.

(7) In camaieu or in a single colour under or over the glaze, usually mandarin, blue and white.

The egg-shell Mandarin is the best of this class. Generally the porcelain is rather thick than thin. Often it has the wavy surface which shows that it has been cast and moulded. Then, too, the decoration is usually painted, not enamelled. This process changes the tone of the colouring. The rose tints derived from gold become purplish; lilac, water-green, bright iron-red, and a curious rust-colour called chamois are common. Stippling and hatching are applied to the flesh and to the folds of the draperies. Often the ground-work with its dotted surface is covered with turquoise-green or turquoise-blue. The paintings on the reserves of the examples given will show the miniature-like character of the decoration. The examples given are Keen-lung.






After having passed in review the different products of purely Chinese taste in which the shapes, the style of decoration, and the painting were all local and national, we will examine another class of porcelain holding for us considerable interest, because it includes a whole series of pieces made in vast quantities for the European market. It is usually known under the name of the "porcelain of the East India Companies." By what aberration of taste or by what commercial necessity had the representatives of the famous East India Companies—English and Dutch—sought to impose new models upon Chinese potters? Here was a people with the highest technical skill in potting, endowed with a sense of decoration equally pure and developed, set to imitate examples which were considerably outside the sphere of their proper work. It was the fashion during the eighteenth century for noble families and their imitators to possess a service of porcelain made in China or Japan, the decoration of which consisted of coats of arms or crests. Other reproductions of the period included copies of engravings by men who threw away treasures of patience and ability without understanding what they had to execute. They288 simply imitated, and therefore never produced real artistic work except when, as sometimes happened, they painted grotesque figures instead of the persons whom they were supposed to copy on their porcelain. Still, apart from this criticism, there are many interesting pieces amongst these copies. England, France, and Holland were all eager for such Chinese specimens. Even the figures such as "The Dutch Skipper and the Chinese Lady" were exceedingly interesting if somewhat uncommon. Then there is a set of five small statuettes representing Louis XIV. (1643-1715) and four members of his family. The Chinese artist had probably only an engraving to guide him, from which he had to produce a portrait figure of a great monarch. In his ignorance he translates the Marshal's baton into the sacred rôle of the Buddhist divinities. Grotesque as these figures are, they are none the less remarkable because of the richness of the costumes, though the ugly little heads and the general wide-awake air seem somewhat ridiculous. The Dauphin, for instance, with his mouth wide open, has certainly an uncommon manner, yet one feels a pleasure that these five little good-tempered men were able to stand upon their legs, even if it was with difficulty. Such statuettes are rare. By far the greater part of the East India porcelain is decorated with coats of arms, crests, figure subjects, or monograms surrounded by roses. On the plates and dishes were reproduced "The fables of La Fontaine," which are found side by side with scenes from the Old and New Testament, such as the Nativity and the Crucifixion. Then there are decorations taken from mythology, allegories, celebrated personages, fêtes galantes, &c. Though sometimes failing in colour, the great majority of the decoration being drawn in Indian or Chinese ink with very indifferent hatchings for289 the shading, these plates and dishes show the carefulness of the Chinese decorator. Even in unfamiliar surroundings, the figures may be, and are, deplorable, and how they suffer by contrast with the borders and the ornaments which surround them, which have all the perfect taste, admirable composition, and brilliant execution which distinguish the native work!

The East India Companies brought to Europe much porcelain in white, which was meant to be decorated notably at Venice, Delft, and perhaps at Chelsea. Such decoration had then nothing Oriental about it. This explains why some specimens with Chelsea decoration have a hard paste. The decoration only is Chelsea, quite typical of that factory, but the form and body are Oriental.

Another method of ornamenting Chinese porcelain was practised at the end of the eighteenth century, mainly in Holland, which consisted in the removal of the glaze in parts, as in engraving upon glass, so as to design elegant arabesques and garlands in which the white of the china or body itself appeared through the thickness of the colour glaze, the white being tinted more or less according to the depth of the cutting.






Chinese potters imitated Chinese potters and their productions for hundreds of years, but it has remained for later times to produce such imitations in hard paste as to be almost beyond detection, except by the expert. Closely studied, however, there are certain differences—a peculiarity of the tint of the paste, a loss of brilliance in the colour—which reveal the European origin. M. Sampson, of Paris, has been responsible for deceiving more beginners than perhaps any other maker by his wonderful imitations of Oriental enamel porcelain. In our own early English factories we often met with imitations of Chinese porcelain with regard to decoration. For instance, the early blue and white Worcester, the red and blue under the glaze Worcester, and many other patterns were direct imitations from the Chinese; in fact, the square mark used upon Worcester china was only a copy of a mandarin's seal, and other Oriental characters are to be found as marks upon Worcester china, such as the disguised numerals, which, more recently, have been ascribed to Caughley. Of course, the soft paste of Worcester makes the imitation very easy to detect. The Dresden factory, which brought Chinese style into prominence294 in Europe, in its oldest specimens, produced a hard paste with purely Oriental decoration, and copied even the intricate borders and medallions in Chinese style. Under the patronage of Augustus Rex, otherwise Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, Dresden china became celebrated.

Coming again to later times, we find that at Herend, in Hungary, a manufacturer named Fischer, at about 1839, made a special feature of the imitation of Oriental porcelain, and his finest specimens are most deceptive. It is a great shame that pieces from this factory are so frequently used fraudulently by unscrupulous dealers. Again, at Talavera, near Toledo, in the later eighteenth century, perfect imitations of Oriental china were made, which, even as imitations, are valued everywhere for the beauty of the glaze and brilliance of the colour.

It is the slavish attention and too faithfully carrying out the detail that reveals the forgery to the expert. On this point one might almost say that the very skilful forgery of a five pound Bank of England note would deceive an expert, but there is always some apparently trivial point and detail, either omitted or added, which makes the forgery clear to those who really know.

Although various marks were copied in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from porcelain belonging to earlier periods, it was not done with the idea of forgery or deception, but as a mark of reverence and appreciation of former masters. The mark most copied was in the reign of Yung-ching, when the Ching-hwa mark was often introduced into self-colour pieces.

It may further interest students to learn that many examples of the old porcelain, which are broken and yet put together without any of the portions being295 lost, are the result of the duty which was levied in the beginning of the eighteenth century on porcelain imported into England. Perfect specimens were liable to heavy charges, damaged ones came in free, and as at that time the values were in all probability what is paid to-day for a good modern plate or vase, or even less, pieces wanted for decoration were broken without any compunction, the pieces saved, and afterwards stuck together. Such examples are well worth acquiring, and the fact of the damage reduces the price, but so long as there are no portions missing, or the original beauty of the decoration impaired, the collector will be well advised not to pass such articles by on account of the break as there are many very fine examples which were thus ruthlessly treated.







A.Emblems in Animals.

We have already remarked how the Chinese employed ornament to their works in porcelain, not alone to please the eye, but to elevate the mind at the same time. It is evident that the realisation of these two aims must have been dependent not alone upon the highest technical skill, but upon the religious knowledge either possessed by the artist or handed down in traditional form from generation to generation. Hence the character of their work was determined and imbued by religious influences.

In every age pottery has been a vehicle for the display of art, and the wonderful productions of the East embody in symbolised form the highest aspirations of religions with which we are but imperfectly acquainted.

The deer (Chinese luh, Japanese roku) is also an emblem of longevity. A white stag frequently accompanies the god of longevity. It sometimes carries in its mouth another emblem, the fungus. A deer, however, is also used as a symbol of official emolument or prosperity, having the same sound as the word for the latter (luh). It is300 probably for this reason that we find a fawn accompanying the Japanese god of talent, Toshitoku.

The fox (Chinese hu, Japanese kitsu-ne) is considered, especially in Japan, as a very mysterious animal. There are several wonderful legends concerning it in Mitford's "Tales of Old Japan." It is said to attain the same age as the hare, when it is admitted to the heavens and becomes the celestial fox. It controls the official seals of high officials.

The hare (Chinese tu, Japanese usagi) is sacred to the moon, where the Taoists believe it to live, pounding the drugs that form the elixir of life. It is stated to live one thousand years, and to become white when it has reached the first five hundred years. The hare, often miscalled a rabbit, occurs on porcelain, both as a decoration and as a mark.

The stork (Chinese ho, Japanese tsuru) is one of the commonest emblems of longevity. It is said to reach a fabulous age, and when six hundred years old to drink, but no longer eat; after two thousand years to turn black. It occurs as a mark.

The tortoise (Chinese kwei, Japanese ki or kame) was also a supernatural animal, and its shell was used in divination. The tortoise with a hairy tail is depicted in Japan as an attendant on the god of old age, and is used as an emblem of longevity. A Chinese phrase, Kwei-ho-tung-chun, signifies "May your days be as long as the tortoise and stork."

B.Emblems in Trees.

Among plants are three trees, which, though not all, strictly speaking, emblems of longevity, are closely connected with it; these are the pine-tree,301 bamboo, and plum. These three trees are termed by the Japanese in combination Sho-chiku-bai. The Chinese say "the pine, bamboo, and plum are like three friends, because they keep green in cold weather."

The bamboo (Chinese chuh, Japanese take) is another emblem, owing probably to its durability. Its elegant form causes it frequently to be depicted on works of art, both in China and Japan.

The gourd (Chinese hu-lu, Japanese hiotan or fuku be) is also an emblem of longevity, especially in Japan, owing perhaps to its durability when dried.

The peach (Chinese tao, Japanese momo) is a symbol of marriage, but also of longevity. Great virtues were attributed to the peach, especially that which grew near the palace of Si-Wang-Mu, Queen of the Genii, on which the fruit ripened but once in three thousand years. It is represented with a bat as a mark.

The pine-tree (Chinese sung, Japanese matsu) is a very common emblem, and to be found on many specimens. Its sap was said to turn into amber when the tree was one thousand years old.

The plum-tree or prunus (Chinese mei, Japanese mume), though not properly an emblem of longevity, is indirectly connected with it, as the philosopher, Lao Tsze, the founder of the Taoist sect, is said to have been born under a plum-tree. It forms the decoration of the porcelain erroneously termed "may flower" or "hawthorn pattern."

C.Emblems in Flowers.

Artemesia.—The artemesia was used by the Chinese with the sweet flag to allay pain and to drive away demons.


Azalea.—The azalea, without having any special symbolical signification, was eminently useful for decorative purposes, because, as a common flower on the hills of the north-east provinces, it gave brightness to a scene of surpassing beauty in the central flowery land.

Camellia.—The camellia bears the same name as the tea plant, and the term cha is used to denote any infusion, just as the word "tea" is with us, as when we speak of beef-tea, camomile-tea, and so on.

Chrysanthemum.—Chrysanthemums, like the asters, were reared for their beauty. They are, perhaps, the commonest form of flower decoration on Oriental china, and we cannot be surprised at this when we consider the variety and the richness of the colour of this beautiful plant. It was an emblem of mid-autumn—more than that, it was a symbol of pleasurable enjoyment—hence its presence on a piece of porcelain given as a token of esteem, also a wish that all should be well with the recipient.

Cockscomb.—The cockscomb was very much admired by the Chinese, and was not alone used as a decoration for porcelain, but for many of those interesting pictures on glass which portray birds and flowers, and which, though painted in a similar way to the early paintings on glass known to Western nations, exceeded them by the brilliancy of their colours and by their exact resemblance to nature.

Convolvulus.—The convolvulus was painted around the edges of tanks and pools, not alone for decoration, but because the leaves of some varieties made a very succulent green food.

Flag, or Iris.—The flag, or iris, known as the sweet flag, was placed at the doors of houses to prevent all manner of evil from entering, but it303 had a material use as a medicine much used for its spicy warmth.

Fungus.—The fungus when dried was very durable. It grew at the roots of trees, and many imitations of it in gilt wood, or even dried specimens of the fungus itself, were frequently used as decoration in the temples. In pictures of Lao-tsze and the Immortals it is used as a symbol of longevity or immortality, hence it is found carried in the mouth of the white stag, which is also an emblem of immortality. Occasionally it is used as a mark on the bases of specimens of old Kang-he blue, in which case it often has lines around its base to represent the grass through which it grows.

Jasmine.—The jasmine, a sweet-smelling white flower, is largely grown for its scent, but still more as a favourite flower amongst the Chinese women for personal ornament, its twigs and clusters or blossoms being wound in the hair, and it was planted in the pots in the houses.

Lotus, or Nelumbium.—The lotus, or nelumbium, was a sacred flower representing the creative power in the Buddhist religion. Representations of it frequently occurred not alone in connection with Buddhism, but also with Taoism. Kwan-Yin is often shown seated upon the lotus. Ho Seen-koo has the lotus as her emblem; and, generally, whether considered with regard to its utility or to its beauty the sacred lotus was placed by the Chinese at the head of the cultivated flowers. It has a very close resemblance to our English water lily, having the stock inserted near the centre of the leaf. Both seeds and root are articles of food, and, when cultivated for that purpose rather than for ornament, covers large areas of lakes and marshes.


Narcissus.—The narcissus is an emblem of good luck for the coming year. Just as with us in England the narcissus is a harbinger of spring, so in the new year at Canton the budding flowers of the narcissus, almond, plum, peach, and bellflower, all are emblematic, all express a wish for coming prosperity.

Magnolia.—The magnolia has immense flowers and has been selected as the emblem of sweetness and beauty. The name in Chinese means "secretly smiling," and to the Chinese it suggests the lovely smile of a sweet maiden. Where in designs on porcelain beautiful women are drawn this flower usually accompanies them. China furnishes several species of this lovely flowering plant. Its medicinal use is secured from the bark employed as a febrifuge.

Myrtle.—The myrtle grows as a wild plant with lovely rose-coloured flowers, one species of it produces clusters of berries, which are eaten as fruit.

Oleander.—This flower is prized because of its beauty and fragrance. The tender rose pink lends itself easily to schemes of porcelain decoration. Members of the same group, less attractive, but still pretty, are the yellow milk-weed and the red periwinkle.

Olive.—The olive is noted for the fragrance of the clusters of minute flowers of white and yellow. This plant flowers through a great part of the year. A branch of sweet-smelling olive was a reward of literary merit. It was also symbolical of studious pursuits, and of sweetness generally.

Peach.—The peach blossoms were placed in doorways at the New Year as the "peach charm." A branch of the tree, covered with blossoms, was supposed to prevent the entry of evil demons into the home.


Peony.—Next to the chrysanthemum the peony was effective in the decoration of Chinese porcelain. It was a tree in that land, valued for its fine and variegated flowers. It was emblematical of good fortune, but if the plant did not supply beautiful flowers and green leaves, if the leaves fell off and its flowers suddenly faded, such a change foreshadowed poverty or some overwhelming disaster. It was also an emblem of love and affection, and therefore eminently appropriate for use on presentation pieces of porcelain.

Poppy.—The poppy was not alone grown for the production of opium, but for its beautiful flowers.

Rose.—This flower was as great a favourite with the Chinese as with all other nations. Many species and varieties were natives of this country. Like the jasmine, it was used by the women for personal adornment.

Tobacco.—This plant was grown almost everywhere in China, but its strength varied according to soil and climate. In the north it was of a pale colour, while further south it is said to owe its reddish colour to being steeped in a solution of opium.






There was no regular method employed in either China or Japan for indicating either the time or place at which the porcelain was made. Neither was there any mark by which the workman or artist could be identified. Where marks are used they indicate the period in a dynasty; still it must be constantly borne in mind that the old marks were continually copied in reproductions of a later period made by the Chinese themselves, and other reproductions produced with much fidelity in Paris and elsewhere. So that the collector has to be very careful, especially in buying fine specimens. There seems to be scarcely nothing worth copying that has not received full attention at the hands of the forger. Of course, when these copies are simply offered as reproductions of old pieces, the purchaser, even if he pays a large price, has not much to complain of, but the trouble arises when they are foisted on the public as genuine. The work is so cleverly done, the imitation is so accurate that only the specialist is able to detect the fraud. The texture of the porcelain is closely imitated, and every care is taken to reproduce the scratches and even the dirt. More than that, old pieces that have been damaged are restored so as to310 appear perfectly genuine throughout, whilst real old pieces, that were originally plain, have been enamelled with the finest "famille verte" or "famille rose" decoration so as to deceive all but the most skilful expert. Such a case occurred within the author's own experience. An old dish, early Keen-lung, was so decorated with the finest rose decoration, and only the most careful examination revealed the fact that both decoration and glaze had been applied in comparatively recent times—in fact, within a very few years. The owner was indignant when he was informed of this. However, he afterwards came back with the information that he had sold the dish for £20, but he forgot that if the dish had been really old it would have been worth not £20 but £120! Too much dependence, therefore, must not be placed upon the marks or upon the decoration; it is upon the education of the eye, the tout ensemble, really upon the merits of the specimens themselves, that dealers and collectors must rely. No training is as good as the handling of fine old pieces, in which the grain of the porcelain, the colours of both the porcelain and the decoration can be studied, and the knowledge thus gained becomes the experience which is, above everything else, the necessary equipment to any one who collects old china.

The Chinese write in characters, each represents a word, and the commencement is made from the top of the right-hand side. The columns are read downwards, but when the characters are in a line they are read from right to left. The marks may be in the seal characters, in plain characters as employed in books, or in grass-text as used for rapid writing; but all are read in the same way, though the last are very difficult to read. As there are many variations in English handwriting, so the Chinese characters311 will be found to vary, yet the word would be the same. It is in the forgeries that we noted the most slavish attention to accuracy and the most infinite pains taken to reproduce the old marks given in the books. The marks themselves are either painted on the bases, usually in blue, though on some late pieces it is found in red, or they may be engraved or embossed. The Chinese have no centuries for measuring time, they use instead a cycle of sixty years, and the precise date as indicated by the cycle is so seldom used on porcelain that it may be disregarded, as only four or five examples of the cyclical dates have ever been found. The marks on porcelain indicate only the reign of the emperor, who when he comes to the throne adopts two words as his title or Nien-hao. Before the coming of the Ming dynasty, in 1368, these titles were changed in order to commemorate any striking event, but since then only one Emperor, who lost his throne in 1450 and regained it after seven years, has changed his Nien-hao, and only one Emperor, Kang-he, reigned a whole sixty years, and a cyclical date may have been used when the thirty-eighth year of the sixty-eighth cycle recurred. See Mark 1 in date marks. The Nien-hao was the honorific designation of the Emperor; Taou-kwang (1821-1851) was "reason's lustre," and Kwang-hsiu (1875) means "inherited lustre." Following the seal marks, which are read in the same way, note that the list gives a number of marks having six characters. Reading these it will be noted that the one in the top right hand and the next one below it, marked (1) and (2), are always the same for the same dynasty—"Ta Ming" or "Ta Tsing" show the "great Ming" or "great Tsing" dynasty. The bottom sign of the first column (3) and the top sign of the second column (4) give the Emperor's312 title or Nien-hao, whilst the two remaining signify in descending order "year" or "period" (5), "made" (6). In six-mark characters, arranged in two lines, the reading is similar, as marked by the figures (1), (2), &c. In four-mark character the signs for the dynasty—that is, "Ta Ming" or "Ta Tsing"—are left out, and the first two marks show the period. As before remarked, the forgeries and imitations have been so numerous that the date marks cannot be accepted as proof of age. The old blue porcelain—Nankin ware so called—was marked with six characters until 1677, as mentioned elsewhere. After that we have the double circle in blue, either empty or having a symbol in the middle.

The Ming productions have not yet received due recognition with regard to their beauty of shape and decoration, but the two periods which are most represented by the marks are Seuen-Tih (1426-1436) and Ching-hwa (1465-1488). In the British Museum are two Celadon bowls with the Seuen-tih mark, with deep mouldings; to these is affixed on the label "probably Kang-he." Then, again, immense quantities of china appear to have been brought to Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, much of which was marked "Ching-hwa." Whether during the eighteenth century such porcelain could be collected in China for cargo purposes is a matter of doubt. If not, this is an illustration of the fact that from an early period the Chinese copied old forms, decoration, and marks.

Honorific Marks.

The word tang often occurs in inscribed marks, which seem to indicate a place of origin. In the list given it is marked Tang or Hall Marks. These313 marks are found on pieces differing considerably in character, age, and quality. The general opinion is that the Hall named is the title of the residence of the Tao-tai, or superintendent of the porcelain works belonging to the Emperor. Other inscribed marks simply set out praises of the porcelain itself, stating that it is "a gem among precious vessels of rare jade," "a gem rare as jade," "an elegant rarity," "fine vase for the rich and honourable," and so on. Some pieces are found with a seal character embodying a wish, as "happiness," "prosperity," "longevity," and "harmonious prosperity." See the list of specimen Hall Marks, &c., and two others, last on the bottom line, praising the porcelain.


Fig. 1.

A.D. 1721.

Fig. 2.

YUEN-FUNG. 1078-1086.

Fig. 3.

HUNG-WOO. 1368-1399.

Fig. 4.

YUNG-LO. 1403-1425.

Fig. 5.

SEUEN-TIH. 1426-1436.

Fig. 6.

CHING-HWA. 1465-1488.

Fig. 7.

CHING-HWA. 1465-1488.

Fig. 8.

HUNG-CHE. 1488-1506.

Fig. 9.

CHING-TIH. 1506-1522.

Fig. 10.

KEA-TSING. 1522-1567.

Fig. 11.

LUNG-KING. 1567-1573.

Fig. 12.

WAN-LEIH. 1573-1620.


Fig. 13.

SHUN-CHE. 1644-1661.

Fig. 14.

KANG-HE. 1661-1722.

Fig. 15.

YUNG-CHING. 1723-1736.

Fig. 16.

KEEN-LUNG. 1736-1795.

Fig. 17.

KEA-KING. 1796-1821.

Fig. 18.

TAOU-KWANG. 1821-1851.

Fig. 19.

HEEN-FUNG. 1851-1862.

Fig. 20.

TUNG-CHE. 1862-1875.

Fig. 21.


Fig. 22.

KING-TE. 1004-1007.

Fig. 23.

YUNG-LO. 1403-1425.


Fig. 24.

SEUEN-TIH. 1426-1436.

Fig. 25.

YUNG-CHING. 1723-1736.

Fig. 26.

KEEN-LUNG. 1736-1795.

Fig. 27.

KEEN-LUNG. 1736-1795.

Fig. 28.

KEA-KING. 1796-1821.

Fig. 29.

TAOU-KWANG. 1821-1851.

Fig. 30.

HEEN-FUNG. 1851-1862.

Fig. 31.

TUNG-CHE. 1862-1875.



Ming Date Marks.

Hung-woo, 1368-1399.

Yung-lo, 1403-1425.

Seuen-tih, 1426-1436.

Ching-hwa, 1465-1488.

Hung-che, 1488-1506.

Ching-tih, 1506-1522.

Kea-tsing, 1522-1567.

Lung-king, 1567-1573.

Wan-leih, 1573-1620.


Tsing Date Marks.

Shun-che, 1644-1661.

Kang-he, 1661-1722.

Yung-ching, 1723-1736.

Keen-lung, 1736-1795.

Kea-king, 1796-1821.

Taou-kwang, 1821-1851.

Heen-fung, 1851-1861.

Tung-che, 1862-1875.

Kwang-shiu, 1875.


Shun-che, 1644-1662.

Kang-he, 1661-1722.

Yung-ching, 1723-1736.

Keen-lung, 1736-1795.

Kea-king, 1796-1821.

Taou-kwang, 1821-1851.

Heen-fung, 1851-1862.

Tung-che, 1862-1875.

Kwang-shiu, 1875.


"Made at the Tseu-shun Hall," of beautiful jade. "The Luh-i or waving bamboo Hall." "Antique made at the Shun-tih, or cultivation of vertue Hall."
"Made at the Shun-tih, or cultivation Hall." "Made at the Tsai-jun or brilliant colours Hall. "Made at the I-yew, or advantage Hall."
"Made at the Ta-shu, or great tree Hall." "Made at the Ki-yuh, or rare jade Hall." "Made at the Lin-yuh, or abundant jade Hall."
"Imitations of antiques made at the King-lien Hall." "A gem among precious vessels, of rare jade." "A gem among precious vessels, of rare stone."







"Every picture tells its story" is true when applied to Oriental decoration where history and mythology furnish many of the designs, and almost every flower and colour has its own meaning. On the porcelain many of these devices are used either as marks or ornaments; sometimes they have ribbons or fillets entwined around them, and they vary considerably in style and shape. Those given are from Sir A. W. Franks's book, "The Catalogue of the Franks' Collection of Oriental Porcelain and Pottery," exhibited at the Bethnal Green Museum.

The symbols set out are found on blue and white porcelain as well as on pieces of "famille verte," powdered blue, and old specimens decorated with coloured enamels generally of a very good quality.


No. 1. The pearl, which as an ornament is frequently represented in the air with dragons.

No. 2. The conch shell, a well-known Buddhist emblem which signifies a prosperous journey.

No. 3. A musical instrument. According to Mr.326 Gulland, who searched Mr. Salting's Collection at the Museum, South Kensington, 18 pieces, mostly blue and white, have this mark.

Nos. 4, 5, 6. Three of the varieties of a lozenge shape; sometimes it has the swastika in the centre.

Nos. 7, 8, 9. Various fish symbols. Sometimes a pair of fishes is found in a vase form, but this Buddhist symbol is an emblem of domestic happiness.

No. 10. A group comprising a pencil, cake of ink, and sceptre of longevity, the whole expressing the wish, "May things be fixed as you wish."

No. 11. The hare, an emblem of longevity. The hare is connected by legend with the moon, and the mark is found on pieces coloured black and yellow, and on blue and white of good quality.

No. 12. A pair of rhinoceros horns used as a mark and in other forms as a symbol. Mr. Gulland's examination gave a rather striking result. About 960 pieces are in the Salting Collection, perhaps the finest of its kind in the world. Of these 130 pieces had date marks, 52 being on coloured pieces and 78 on blue and white. The other marks, mostly symbol marks, were found on 169 pieces, of which 77 were coloured and 92 blue and white. This gives a total of 299 marked pieces.

Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16. Varieties of leaves. Sometimes the leaves are filleted. In the Salting Collection 45 pieces had the leaf mark, which is chiefly found on blue and white.

Nos. 17, 18. The lotus flower, without fillets, the specimens in the same collection were coloured.

Nos. 19, 20, 21, 22. Varieties of the Che plant mostly found on blue and white, a kind of fungus327 used as an emblem of longevity and occasionally found in vase form, of natural shape, in self-colour, such as "sang-de-bœuf."

No. 23. The peach and conventional bat. The peach signifies longevity, and the bat happiness. The two together embody the wish for "A two-fold perpetuation of happiness and long life."

No. 24. Four-leaved flower, on blue and white.

No. 25. Flower with eight or sixteen leaves.

No. 26. Five-leaved flower, on blue and white. A six-leaved flower is also found on blue and white.

No. 27. Joo-e-head. There is no form so universal for decorative purposes as the Joo-e, here given as a mark on blue and white. Panels and borders have modifications of this form in endless variety. The fungus as emblem of longevity was adopted in this form as the head of the sceptre of longevity, and the Joo-e has remained a classical pattern.

No. 28. Five circles with fillets, found on old coloured specimens.

No. 29. A knot (chang) said to signify longevity, found on blue and white.

No. 30. An insect, found on blue and white.

No. 31. Stork or heron without a tail. Note the Dresden engraved number below.

Nos. 32, 33, 34, 35. Varieties of incense burners (tings), found on blue and white. Several other marks are to be found, notably on porcelain of good quality.


The Ordinary Symbols.

These symbols are sometimes, as we have seen, used as marks. But they are also used in decora328tion, being coloured in enamel colours and often placed in shaped reserves. The number eight seems to have an attraction for the Chinese. Here we have what are termed "the eight precious things," and, later, the Buddhist emblems, "the eight lucky emblems," are given. It is not necessary to do more than name these ordinary symbols:—

No. 1. A pearl.

No. 2. A coin, symbol of riches, often forms a border to plates and dishes.

No. 3. Lozenge with open frame. Two lozenges with overlapping ends are used to express the dual symbol.

No. 4. A mirror.

No. 5. A sounding-plate used as a bell.

No. 6. Books placed close together, probably another dual symbol.

No. 7. Rhinoceros horns—conventional form.

No. 8. A leaf.

Some or all of these objects may frequently be seen carried in processions or on pictures of such processions.


The Buddhist Symbols.

Here, again, we have some forms which have been dealt with as marks.

No. 1. A bell. In place of this, the wheel of the law is frequently used.

No. 2. The conch shell, the chank shell of the Buddhists.

No. 3. A state umbrella.

No. 4. A canopy.

No. 5. The lotus flower again.


No. 6. A vase with cover.

No. 7. Two fishes. Connubial felicity.

No. 8. A knot said to represent the intestines and to be an emblem of longevity.

Other Symbols.

A silver ingot, a cake of ink or a branch of coral may be found as emblems of riches, scholarship, or power, but there remain three devices which deserve a few words. The first is the Pa-kwa, consisting of eight diagrams of entire and broken lines. The entire lines represent the male, strong or celestial element in nature; and the broken ones the female weak, terrestrial element. An entire system of Chinese philosophy is built upon this combination, and not only so, but they furnish a "clue to the secrets of nature and of being." The trigrams are often represented upon specimens of porcelain, especially on raised decorations, with or without a central circular device, the Yang and the Yin, another representation of the male and female elements in nature. The second device is the bat. The word in Chinese has exactly the same sound as the word meaning "happiness," so that the bat has come to be regarded as a symbol of happiness. The figure of a bat is sometimes used alone; chiefly, however, we find four or five bats surrounding the seal character for longevity. This is the third of the devices. The character for longevity (show in Chinese) is regarded as very auspicious, and it is written in no less than a hundred different ways. When used with the five bats surrounding it, the five great blessings are symbolised—longevity, riches, peacefulness, love of virtue, and a happy death.















The Pa Sien, or eight Immortals, were followers of the Taoist religion founded by Lao Tsze, who lived about the time of Confucius. They seemed to be noted for a combination of pure Taoism, which taught contempt for riches and worldly power, and advocated complete subjugation of all bodily passions, and such practice of magic and alchemy as gave them the power they affected to despise. These eight lived at various times and attained immortality through the mysterious elixir of immortality.

1. Han Chung-le, who lived in the Chow dynasty (B.C. 1122-249), is represented as a fat man, either with bare stomach or fully clothed. His emblem is a fan with which he revives the spirits of the dead.

2. Leu Tung-pin (about A.D. 755). He learnt the mysteries from Han Chung-le whilst wandering in the mountain gorges. Tempted ten times, he overcame the temptations, and with a sword, which is his emblem, he slew evil monsters and rid the earth of them for more than four hundred years.

3. Le Tee-kwae (period unknown) was a scholar340 of Han Chung-le in the celestial regions which he visited in spirit, leaving his body under charge of a disciple on the earth below. On returning from one visit, he found his body was gone, and the only way in which he could continue his existence was by taking refuge in the body of a lame beggar, whose crutch and gourd are his symbols.

4. Tsaou Kwo-kiu (circa A.D. 999) is generally represented with a court head-dress, being connected by birth with the Emperor. His symbol is a pair of flappers or castanets, which he carries in one hand.

5. Lan Tsae-ho is rather a myth of myths, for neither the sex nor period is given. The figure is represented bearing a flower-basket or wine-pot, either of which is the emblem.


6. Chang Ko-laou (close of seventh to middle of eighth centuries) was a great magician, whose white mule carried him immense distances, and when not in use was folded up and put away. His symbol is a bamboo tube drum, carried on either arm, with two rods, the ends of which are usually projecting from the upper opening of the drum in which they are placed.

7. Han Seang-tsze (about the same period as the last) was a pupil of Leu Tung-pin. His symbol is a flute carried in either hand, usually end upwards. The story says that his master carried him to the famous peach-tree of the genii from which he fell.

8. Ho Seen-koo (A.D. 690-705) was an example of filial piety. The legend tells how vast were the distances she travelled to get dainty bamboo342 shoots for her sick mother, how she conquered the desire for mortal food, sustaining herself with the powder of mother-of-pearl, and how finally she disappeared with the promise of coming back again. This she did, on occasion when a good genius was necessary, appearing in the clouds and bringing blessings. Hers is the flower symbol—the lotus.

Here, before me, are two vases on each of which is depicted a feast of the immortals in the celestial regions. Under the spreading pine-tree, emblem of longevity, sits Han Chung-le, listening to the music of the flute. Around him are the others with wine-cups set on a rock table. Lan Tsae-ho is bearing the wine-pot, whilst in the clouds, over343 the pine-tree, the gracious Ho Seen-koo gazes down upon the scene. Not only in decoration, on vases, and other pieces, are these gods depicted either singly, in pairs, or all in one group, but also in single figures and as a group of figures. Sometimes eight, and sometimes nine are found in one group, the ninth being Lao Tsze himself, the founder of Taoism. Many of these figures, as in the illustrations, are very beautiful in colour, and so entirely quaint and curious in modelling, often with faces and hands, in white biscuit, and so rare. Old Ming figures, early Celadon figures, later enamelled figures, in sets of eight, standing or sitting, are often worth a knight's ransom.






The Dresden Collection of porcelain is probably the most ancient in Europe as far as the Oriental portion is concerned. According to its learned Director, Dr. Theodore Graesse, it was chiefly brought together by Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, between the years 1694-1705. These specimens were afterwards made use of to decorate the Dutch, or, as it was subsequently called, the Japanese, Palace. After being for many years stored away in the vaults of the Palace, they have now been set out in the Johanneum Palace, where they are well seen.

In order, it is said, to prevent the courtiers from making away with the royal property, every specimen in the old collection was marked with numbers, accompanied by various signs, engraved through the glaze on the lathe, and therefore indelible. To avoid high numbers and to facilitate classification, a particular sign was used for each kind of porcelain. These marks must have been put on at an early date, as they are only to be found on the more ancient specimens of Meissen porcelain in the collection at Dresden.

The classes and marks were as follows:—

Japanese porcelain, distinguished by the addition of a cross to the number.


"Green Chinese porcelain" (that is, principally painted in green enamel), marked by an I.

White Chinese porcelain, marked with a triangle.

"Red Chinese porcelain" (that is, principally decorated in red), marked with an arrow.

Blue and white "Indian porcelain" (chiefly Chinese blue and white), including crackle, marked with a zig-zag line. See symbolical mark 31.

"Old Indian porcelain," marked with a parallelogram.

"Indian and Saxon black porcelain," marked with a P.

The cross mark is of value as showing the opinion entertained in Europe at so early a time as to what was Japanese, but must of course be accepted with some reserve. It may be added that nearly all the Japanese specimens are what we know as "Old Japan," made in Imari for exportation. The triangle is useful to help us in distinguishing white Oriental from early Dresden, Fulham, or Plymouth porcelain, which were close copies of the first. The most curious specimens are those marked with a parallelogram, and are called Old Indian. Many of these appear to be Oriental porcelain, originally white, and decorated in Europe, probably in Holland. The same style of painting is to be found on five vases bearing the arms and initials of Augustus the Strong, said to have been ordered for the King by the Dutch in 1703, but probably executed in Holland. These vases seem to be Chinese porcelain with ornaments in very low relief, over which the arms have been painted, together with a decoration in the Japanese style.





Although we do not possess any complete documentary evidence on Ceramics in Japan, and although much of what we do know has been obtained by Englishmen in that country, there is no doubt that this art had its origin in remote antiquity, and that the Japanese seem always to have possessed in a high degree a very vivid sentiment of decoration, happily combined with an extraordinary facility of execution.

The making of porcelain only dates from the beginning of the sixteenth century, when Shonsui, returning from China, where he had learned the secrets of the trade, constructed several furnaces in localities where he found the necessary materials. He settled at Arita, in Hizen, the nearest port to which is Imari, a name familiar to all collectors as a common name for all Japanese porcelain. But this old Imari is always white with designs painted in blue under the glaze.

A hundred years after an Imari potter learnt, under the direction of a Chinese established at Nagasaki, the art of painting and decorating in various colours the porcelain which he sold to Chinese352 merchants. They in their turn exported it to Europe through the East India Company, so that considerable quantities arrived in England, where it is found to-day in a large number of families which have preserved the tastes of their forefathers. Arita or Imari were names indifferently applied to this porcelain.

Amongst the other numerous works where pottery and porcelain were made the following list comprises the chief: Awata, Banko or Imbe, Kaga or Kutani, with beautiful red and gold decoration; Kioto, Kishu, Nabeshima, Satsuma, Soma, Sanda, Séto (in the province of Owari, to-day one of the largest centres of production), and Tokio.

Japanese porcelain is distinguished from Chinese by a closer imitation from nature in the flowers and birds, and, above all, by much more correct design, more chaste and elegant in the representation of the human figure. The marks are often impressed or stamped in a circle, oblong or oval, and frequently, too, Chinese marks are imitated.

It will be useful to indicate some characteristics of the chief of the factories mentioned above.

Imari, Arita, Or Hizen Porcelain.

The oldest Imari has been referred to before. The period of the seventeenth century is noted for decoration with enamels over the glaze. The paste or body was fine and pure, the glaze milk-white, soft, yet not wanting in brilliancy, forming a ground harmonising with the severely simple decoration. The enamel colours were few, but clear and rich in tone, chiefly a dull red, a grass-green, and a lilac-blue. The decorative subjects were, most commonly, floral medallions; but the dragon, Phœnix, bamboo plum (prunus flower),353 birds fluttering over a sheaf of corn, and various diaper patterns were constantly used. The designs, sparsely scattered over the surface, give each as wide a margin as possible. The Imari ware, "old Japan ware" exported in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was a distinct type, made to please European taste. The decoration is usually violet, red, and gold added to a plain white glaze or to the blue and white.

Hirado Blue and White Porcelain.

This is said to mark the highest degree of perfection and beauty ever attained. The paste is fine, pure, and white, free from the dark gritty particles found nearly always in Imari ware. The blue—the only colour employed, with rare exceptions—is exquisitely soft and clear and seems to float in the milk-white, velvet-like glaze. The designs are of many subjects, etched with wonderful skill. Only within the last few years in Europe did the passion for blue and white induce Japanese owners to sell, and the supply was soon exhausted. It is well to note that modern imitations are not pure white, but greenish, and they are less perfectly potted. It was from Hirado porcelain that Bow and Plymouth modelled their pieces with raised shells and seaweed, and Dresden, too, copied the figures, birds, and flowers in relief. Hirado was a private kiln where the workmen were forbidden to sell without permission.

Nabeshima Ware.

The feudal chief of Hizen at his private kilns produced blue and white porcelain of fine paste and colour, and generally with a characteristic combina354tion of red. The potters did not, as a rule, use marks, but they copied Chinese marks on pieces which were reproductions of Chinese patterns. Like Hirado, Nabeshima had no occasion to mark as though the porcelain was intended for sale.


Fig. 2.—HO-HO BIRD.

The designs and symbolical marks copied from China have the same meaning to the Japanese.


The dragon is often found as a design, in various colours and in gold. The place of dragons in Buddhism explains their frequent appearance—indeed, they are "the masters of the world." If they are offended they punish men with plague, pestilence, and famine. Hence they must be propitiated.

Fig. 3.—DOG OF FÔ.

Fig. 4.—THE KYLIN.

Fig. 1 shows the five claws of the best kind of dragon-decorated Oriental, said to be made for Imperial use.

Fig. 2 is the Fong-Hoang, sometimes called the356 Ho-Ho bird. This was the symbol of the sovereigns of China before the five-clawed dragon. Drawings of this bird vary very much; when represented in the air the feet are thrown back.

Fig. 3 is the dog of Fô, or Buddha, often called the Korean lion, still more often, and wrongly, the kylin. The one is the lion transformed, and

Fig. 4, the kylin, is more like the unicorn. Its head resembles that of a dragon. Often its body is covered with scales, and its hoofs are cloven.






Whilst in porcelain Japan copied Chinese patterns, in pottery native talent had full scope for its original and personal character, so ably shown both in shape and decoration. Amongst all the pottery Satsuma takes the first place; indeed, no collection is complete unless it has a specimen, although fine pieces are very rare. Much of what is called old Satsuma has been produced at Kyoto and Yokohama for export, and has very little in common with the ware so highly prized by collectors in Japan. Showy, brilliant, and decorative reproductions are met with frequently, but neither in paste or painting are they comparable. Real old Satsuma, at first sight, looks like ivory, and the designs display infinite care, the colours being low in tone, whilst the gold is pencilled with such a multitude of minute lines as to be truly wonderful.

The glazes are often enamelled; yellow and black, both remarkable, but exceedingly rare, are monochromes; so, too, is olive-green, which is seldom used alone, but in conjunction with a dark yellow or dark brown. Various articles, such as tea jars, teapots, and incense boxes, have usually these glazes. Another glaze, called "Flambées," or "Flammées,"360> is like shot-silk, e.g., red jasper and violet, and violet and blue. The colouration, no doubt at first accidental, was later obtained by the combination of metals with the oxygen in the air and during the firing, so that the results were defined and certain.

The old potters confined their decorations to diapers, floral subjects, landscapes, and the Chinese subjects—the Ho-Ho birds, the mythical lion, the dragon, and the kylin.

Two kinds of pottery were made at Satsuma, and the self-glazes, either monochrome or flambée, are, for the most part, applied to the red, and not to the white kind. In other words, the paste or body of the piece is red, and by comparing a few specimens the difference between that and the white can soon be determined.

When the potter cuts the turned piece from the clay on the wheel he uses a string; and in Satsuma ware the string-mark can be detected on the bottom of the piece. Again, the Satsuma potter turned the throwing-wheel with the left foot, but other potters used the right; hence the spiral in the paste is from left to right in Satsuma, from right to left in other factories. Pure white faïence, cleverly moulded and reticulated, was a celebrated and favourite product of the ancient potters.

Spurious Satsuma is one of the most common and disfiguring features of both public and private collections.

Kyoto Pottery.

Much of the later pottery from Kyoto was made in imitation of Satsuma. At the Paris Exhibition of 1878, such imitations of pieces decorated in relief had a great success. But Kyoto has one name361 which stamps the seventeenth century productions as marking the adoption of the representative Japan style. There was Ninsei, who shook himself free from the influence of China and Korea, and, having acquired the secrets of decoration with enamels, he set to work to practice and impart them in the various factories at Kyoto where he worked.

He introduced a crackle, which of itself is a test between old and modern ware. The glaze was of a light buff or cream colour, and the crackle was nearly circular and very fine, and is best described as "fish-roe crackle." The paste of his pieces varied from hard, close brick-red clay to a fine-textured yellowish grey. The coloured glazes—blue, green, red, black, and gold—were also introduced by him to the Kyoto kilns. The black glaze was run over a grass-green one, so as to give brilliancy of effect, whilst panels of cream crackle on the surface were painted in diaper patterns or with floral designs in gold, silver, or coloured enamels. Another glaze, since imitated successfully, was a pearl white with a kind of pink blush spreading through it.

As a rule Ninsei marked his pieces; the mark is given. Two or three hundred dollars are readily paid in Japan for a small bowl of the best type, so genuine specimens are exceedingly rare in Europe. It is well to reiterate two tests which may be easily applied to Ninsei pieces—the paste is hard and brick-red or yellowish grey in colour, and the crackles are equal and circular in shape.

Awata Ware.

Here, too, Satsuma ware has in recent years been largely imitated. At the Amsterdam Exhibition a fine collection was on view. But Awata had kilns362 as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century, and a clever workman, Kinkôzan, about a century later, did much to bring back the reputation lost after Ninsei's influence had passed away. The glaze under his treatment was creamy and lustrous. The enamels, which harmonised so well with the glaze, were grass-green, ultramarine, and red. Gold was almost invariably used in decoration. Silver, purple, and yellow are most uncommon.

It must be borne in mind that the majority of the Awata pieces were unmarked.

Generally, three rules are equally valuable in judging the age of all Kyoto wares, including Awata and other places close by. First, the paste of the old pieces is close-grained and hard; second, the glaze has a lustre, which may be due to atmospheric influence long continued; third, the enamel colours are carefully painted, and are very bright and clear.


(1) The chrysanthemum, arms or crest of the Mikado.

(2) The kiri, said to be stamped on articles for royal use exclusively.

(3)(4)(5) Satsuma marks.

(6) The marshmallow, crest of Tokougava Satsuma ware.

(7) Ninsei's name; stamped with sunk letters, Kyoto.

(8) Shimizu, a maker's name, in a long oval. Kyoto.

(9) Taizan, a potter of Kyoto.

(10)(11) Used at Kyoto by Yeiraku.

(12) Awata ware, also used in a small size.

(13) Awata, mark of another factory.

(14) On pottery made in imitation of Satsuma.



(15) Awata. Kinkôzan's mark stamped.

(16) Seal character, "Prosperity."

(17) Seal character, "Gold."

(18) Seal character, "Felicity."

(19) Shigen, a maker's name, probably Kyoto.

(20) Seal character, "Happiness."

(21) Seal character, "Precious."

(22) Inscribed mark, "An eternal spring of riches and honours."

(A) Crest of Shimadzou, Prince of Satsuma.

(B) Crest of Ikeda, Prince of Bizen.

Other blasons of Japanese princes.

The sale prices of "Old Japanese" will, for a little, vary the subject under consideration. The demand is great, the supply limited; so prices will rise higher yet.

Old Imari dish, painted with vase of flowers, having shaped panels on dark blue and gold ground, £7 7s.

Set of three octagonal vases—old Imari—similar decoration, with festoons and tassels on the shoulders, £36 5s.

A pair octagonal vases—old Imari—similar decoration, £65 2s.

Another dish, old Imari, vase of flowers in centre, Ho-Ho birds round the border, with flowers. Colours: red, blue, and gold. £12 12s.

From the Hayashi Collection.—Hirado cat, life-size, couching. £20 8s.

(Note.—Hirado, Hirato, or Harito are used indifferently.)

At the same sale.—Two Arita porcelain cups, £5; two scent or incense burners, £4 4s.

Other sales.—Bowl, in Ninsei pottery, £26; scent burner, Satsuma, £28 16s.; vase, Bizen ware, £26; blue, red, and gold ground, probably Imari, £10; another vase, decorated with Ho-Ho birds, same colours as the last, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, £100; bottles, pair of old Imari, fluted and painted in red, blue, and gold, £27 6s.; vases and covers, pair, old Hizen, decorated with birds, flowers, wheels, and scrolls in rich colours and gold, £35 14s.

It must be remembered that the finest Japanese, copied from Chinese models, is sold frequently as Chinese.









OR IMBE, &c.



The chief objects made at Bizen were vases, incense-burners, and numerous figures of animals and persons. Amongst the last are found a number of mythical divinities illustrating the two religions of Japan, Shintoism and Buddhism, especially the latter. Before me, as I write, is a good specimen of old Bizen. It is the figure of Hotei, the god of Contentment. Brown glazed ware with a paste of fine, hard red clay. He is standing on a wind-bag with his dress open to his waist, and his laugh is typical of the wonderful facial expression often to be found in Oriental figures. The pottery of Bizen was made at a very early date, but the early specimens were of a coarse, gritty red paste with no glaze, and only common articles were made. Then, in the sixteenth century, more attention was paid to the preparation of the clay, and Chinese copies were imitated. The most valued pieces of this old Bizen are those stamped with a new moon or a cherry blossom. A century later a white-brown paste, fine and nearly as hard as porcelain, was used largely for figures. This was followed by the use of the red clay. It is interesting to notice the glaze applied to this kind of Bizen. The figure of Hotei illustrates this unique370 bronzing, as it were. The colour and metallic lustre are so good that the figure has often been mistaken for bronze. Choice specimens are to be found with salt glazes, brown, grey, and white, and of these the last is rarest. One other peculiarity of all Bizen is that the glaze is absorbed into the paste; this is said to be due to continued firing. When struck the pieces ring very clearly, whilst the modern production has a dead, dull sound. The Bizen pottery of our own time is degenerate. The monstrosities to be found in curiosity shops are neither artistic nor interesting.

Kutani Porcelain and Pottery.

Kutani, in the province of Kaga, produced pottery of dark clay with a light chocolate glaze about the middle of the seventeenth century. Later, one of the potters, who was sent to Hizen for the purpose, brought back information which led to great improvement. At the end of that century, and early in the next, two wares were produced. One is marked by a deep green glaze, which formed an effective and striking decoration, but other glazes were also used on these other wares, notably deep purple, yellow, and a soft blue. The other class was an imitation of Hizen ware, with the difference that blue under the glaze was not associated with enamel colours over the glaze. In addition to the colours mentioned a beautiful red was introduced and gold was added.

The artistic designs were purely Japanese bits of nature-painting, tiny landscapes, birds on plum branches, and other simple but striking subjects of this kind. The contrast to the Imari ware, with its bold masses of blossoms and colours, is as great as it is with modern Kutani. The latter often has371 peacocks, groups of brilliant peonies and chrysanthemums, brightly dressed women and wonderful old men, cocks upon barrels, and other well-known subjects. The only figures on old Kutani are children playing.

The paste is of a bad colour, a kind of dirty white. It passes from stoneware to porcelain, according to the nature of the clay, much of which was imported, and which was sometimes mixed with the clay found at Kutani. The other makers of porcelain frequently sent their pieces in a white state to be decorated here, and this was done especially from Arita. From this it will be seen that the Kutani mark appears on porcelain varying in composition. Thus there are stoneware and excellent porcelain. Some of it will bear comparison with the best Hizen egg-shell. What tests should be applied to find out whether the specimen submitted is old Kutani or not? One has been given—it is this: blue under the glaze is not employed in conjunction with enamel decoration. Then there is the tone of the blue. Reference has been made to the rich blue of Imari, the exquisite soft and clear blue of Hirado, but the Kutani blue is, like the paste often is, inferior in quality. The glaze, however, has a wax-like surface which is distinctive. In the coloured specimens the severe nature of the decoration and the beauty and lustre of the enamels are characteristic features.

But Kutani copied Chinese originals in the best style, so that if such specimens were bought in China they would pass for good examples of the best period. But in Japan, as in China, porcelain is made of two earths, one fusible, the other infusible, and owing to the difference in the matter of firing, most Japanese porcelain has spur-marks or small projections on the bottom, produced by the supports372 used in the process of firing. Otherwise, the same means are employed in making and decorating porcelain in both countries.

Kenzan Ware.

Ninsei and Kinkozan have been mentioned as celebrated potters, Kenzan and Yeiraku must be added to them. Kenzan at first imitated the Ninsei ware of Kyoto, but, being himself an artist and a brother of the celebrated painter Ogato Korin, he soon developed an original and genuine Japanese style in which striking results were produced with a seeming absence of laboured detail. The simplicity of a branch of prunus blossoms, a few nodding reeds or grasses, a little group of birds amidst the foliage, the distant hill seen through the midst, suited the space available for decoration. He used black, brown, green, blue, and purple in plain colours, and enamels as well as gold. His early work was done on Awata pottery, but his style is unmistakable, and he marked all his pieces with his name "Kenzan." Other specimens of his bold outline sketches are found on a coarse ware with a gritty paste. At a later period he went to Iriya, in Tokio, but owing to unsatisfactory materials for the making of pottery nothing very great was accomplished. His productions are exceedingly rare and proportionately valuable. His family still have a kiln near Kyoto, and his son and grandson imitated his style, including the mark, with some success.

Yeiraku Ware.

There is an ancient pottery at Kyoto, founded by a family named Sozen and later Yeiraku, a title bestowed upon them by the Prince of Kü or Kishu.373 The present potter is of the same name and he still makes earthenware and porcelain. It was about 1600 when Yeiraku—then Zengoro-Hozen—began to make unglazed tea urns as his ancestors had done. As a recreation he tried experiments with pastes and glazes, which attracted considerable attention, and secured for him an invitation from the Prince of Kishu to come to his province. Here Yeiraku ware was made, so called from the stamp it bears. Zengoro made glazes his special study, and produced rich combinations of turquoise, blue, purple, and yellow, but more than these was his successful coral-red glaze, made in imitation of the old Chinese "vivid red" of the Yung-lo period. This last achievement gained for him the gift of a golden stamp, "Yeiraku," and the name which the family has borne for so many years. Yeiraku's skill was often tested by orders to copy all sorts of Chinese, Korean, and even Dutch pieces, which he did so well that the original and its imitation could not be distinguished. Yeiraku was wealthy now, and could have gone into easy retirement. Yet such was his love of his art that he worked on. He had produced the purple, yellow, turquoise, green, and the blue and white, also the coral red and enamelled porcelains of China, but he tried fruitlessly to get the tin glaze of Delft and the various glazes of lakes of the Chinese.

The illustrations given of the goddess Kuwanon, in Chinese Kouanyin or Kwan Yin, show one of the most interesting of the Buddhist deities. She was reincarnated at least thirty-three times, as a man, a woman, a demon, and so on, for the greatest good of humanity. Still, it is in the feminine form that her figure is most frequently found in Japanese porcelain and pottery, as well as in Chinese. Her hair is in the style of Louis XIV., she wears a necklace bearing an374 ornament in the form of a cross, and, being "the giver of children," she is holding a little child, whilst Loung-nou and Hoang-tchen-sai, her two servants, stand at her right and left. Perhaps the rarest of these figures is in the cream-white porcelain of Nankin. A figure of this goddess was recently sold for £45.






Both porcelain and pottery were made at Wakayama, and are known as Kishu ware. The ornamentation consisted of formal patterns in low relief, the intervening spaces being filled with coloured glazes, chiefly blue, deep purple, and yellow, though green and white were not unfrequently used. Perhaps the most common was a ground of purple, with the scroll-work in relief and some parts of it covered with turquoise-blue. Some very fine pieces had a rich green glaze marbled with purple with medallions in other colours. These glazes are amongst the finest produced in Japan.

The paste varied from porcelain to stoneware, and, like many factories, was sometimes white, sometimes a red grey. It was fine in texture, and hard.

Yeiraku's work was largely done in this private kiln, and many of the pieces bear his stamp. It is said that he made from five to ten specimens of any object he undertook to produce, that the best was chosen and the rest destroyed.

Banko Pottery.

As early as 1680 a factory was established at a village near Tokio, and produced articles which378 resembled some of the Kutani wares, but towards the end of the eighteenth century a rich amateur, Gozayemon, who had previously acquired a great reputation as a copyist, was induced by the then Shogun to leave Isé and to continue his work in Tokio, where his productions became the fashion, partly because of their merits, partly owing to the difficulty experienced in securing them.

He now adopted the purely Japanese style, and combined with it the beauty of the Chinese glazes in different colours, and it was when he ceased to be an imitator and became an originator that he became an artist. He imitated every kind of ware, from coarse Korean pottery and the brilliant colours of China to the severe styles of Ninsei and Kenzam. His pieces were generally marked. He also made many imitations of Dutch delft.

After his death, the son of a dealer of Isé, into whose hands the formula of Gozayemoné had fallen, assumed the name of Banko, after having bought the stamp from his grandson. He made a peculiar kind of stoneware, unglazed, in which the mould, made up of several sections, was placed inside the clay to be modelled. Hence, on the outside, the lines of the skin of the hand are shown, and the designs are as sharp, if not sharper, inside as outside the pottery, which from this method of working had to be very thin. He also decorated pieces with storks, dragons, &c., in relief and other pieces, with clever designs in coloured slips on a green or deep brown ground. This Isé Banko ware is nearly always stamped.

Soma Ware.

This is a most peculiar ware, which consisted chiefly of small teacups or bowls, having a rough indented379 surface on the outside, but remarkably smooth to the lips, with a horse in relief or painted, sometimes tied to a stake. The name of the ware and the badge were derived from the Prince of the territory. The ceremony of tea-drinking amongst the Japanese was almost a cult. The rites were followed under the direction of a Tchadjin, or master of the ceremonies, and, amongst other usages, the shape and decoration of the cups varied with the season. Some were made by hand instead of by the aid of a wheel, and most of the factories tried to satisfy the native connoisseur.

Sanda Ware.

In 1690 a kiln was erected by the Prince of the province of Setsu to imitate Chinese Celadon. At first pottery was made, but towards the end of the eighteenth century porcelain methods were brought from Arita with such successful results that the excellent sea-green Celadon of Sanda attained great celebrity, in some degree owing to the considerable quantity of it which was made. In colour Sanda Celadon is bright green, less warm than that of China and less delicate than the Nabeshima ware.

Sheba Ware.

The eggshell porcelain of Japan is not ancient, but near Tokio a factory produces saki cups which are exceedingly pretty, being elegant in shape and decoration and having a thin delicate paste. Sometimes they are covered outside with basket-work, very finely woven.

Notes on Other Wares.

At Seto, in Owari province, both porcelain and pottery were made; the former was an importation from380 Arita, which has now become so important that porcelain in Japan is known as Seto-mono or Seto ware. Here, too, was made a kind of stoneware much esteemed by the tea clubs.

At Inuyama, also in Owari, imitations of Chinese porcelain were made, and called Agaye. Many kilns are still at work here.

At Karatsu, in Hizen, was an ancient factory, now closed, which had a great reputation for the manufacture of the utensils required by the tea clubs.

At Nagano-mura, a pottery produced ware with a streaky glaze, but not painted. Close by, Iga made a singularly rough ware.

At Sobara-mura, Takatori ware, chiefly vases to hold incense, of a rich brown glazed stoneware, was manufactured. Many makers in various kilns made the bowls for drinking tea, which was the finest green tea, ground to powder, frothed up with a brush, and passed in a bowl from hand to hand. Raku ware, so called from the inscribed mark Raku (happiness), consisted chiefly of tea-bowls.

Nothing need be said of the modern Japanese potters. The greater part of the modern imports is too bad for words, and none need be wasted on it. Yet, amidst much that is thoroughly bad, there are still some master potters in Kyoto, Tokio, Yokohama, Seyfou, and elsewhere, whose work is well worth buying.

It will be well to remember that old Japanese has two classes, one with a white, semi-transparent paste with very simple designs—a plum-tree and two quails, the tortoise with the hairy tail, the phœnix, a few storks, or more rarely a Japanese lady in full dress. The colours used were red, a pale but bright blue, an apple-green, and an unusual lilac often with the butterfly mark. Dresden, Chelsea, St. Cloud, and other works imitated this class.


The second class, also imitated in Europe, as at Derby, for example, had the chrysanthemum and peony decoration; the ornaments are in compartments or panels, enclosing mythical animals. Specimens before me are decorated with a deep blue and gold. The other colours chiefly used are a deep red and a bright black and green. The kiri or kiku flower, with seventeen blossoms and three leaves, is frequently used. It is the Imperial badge. The covers of the vases and jars have figures in Japanese dress or Korean lions on the top. Most of the beautifully decorated specimens were made for ex382port, the Japanese value the rough, artistic, but characteristic work.


(1) Kutani, or Kaga, often with other marks. This is the Prince's mark.

(2-5) Kutani ware; red, blue, and gold.

(6-7) Kutani porcelain, usually very fine.

(8) "Made at Kutani in Great Japan."

(9) Ohi Ware Kaga.

(10) Ohi ware, Kaga.

(11) "Happiness," Kaga. The open window mark.

(12-13) Kenzan, inscribed marks.

(14) Kenzan, stamped, letters sunk.

(15) Kenzan painted in brown.

(16-18) Yeiraku. The Nagano-mura is an offshoot in Awaji, same mark.

(19) "Made by Yeiraku in Great Japan."


(20-21) Kishu. Both marks stamped in the paste.

(22) Banko. Two stamped marks. On thin teapots, greyish brown ware.

(23) Banko. Two stamped marks.

(24) Nishina, a family name.

(25, 26, 27) Soma. Stamped in oblong or oval panel, the oval being the older. On the outside of some pieces with these marks the crest of the Prince of Soma (A) is found with a prancing horse tied between two stakes.


Marks in the Form of Symbols.

This is a common form of marking Chinese porcelain and Chinese symbolical ornaments, and were often copied. The five examples given (B to F) are frequently found on Japanese porcelain:

(B) A swastika, Buddhist symbol, also a family crest.

(C) A flower with five leaves, in red.

(D and E) Two varieties of a plant.

(F) A leaf, in blue outlined in gold.






(Published by kind permission of the Editor of "The Connoisseur.")

Old Nankin Porcelain.

£ s. d.
Vase and cover, oviform, painted with ladies in a garden, 11-1/2 in. high 63 0 0
Bottles, pair, with long necks, painted with dragons and flames, 10-1/4 in. high 88 4 0
Bottles, pair, with oviform bodies and long slender necks, entirely painted with formal flowers and arabesque foliage, and with dark blue bands round the shoulders, containing scrolls and blossom reserved in white, 7-3/4 in. high 262 10 0
Vase and cover, tall oviform, painted with ladies and boys in a garden, 11-1/4 in. high 56 14 0
Canisters and covers, set of three diamond-shaped, painted with audiences, groups of warriors, and an execution scene, 12-1/4 in. high 52 10 0
388 Sprinklers, pair, with a band of mirror-shaped dark-blue panels round the centre, and vandyke borders, containing formal flowers and foliage reserved in white, the necks delicately pencilled with a marbled design, 7-1/4 in. high 165 0 0
Vases and covers, set of three oviform, and two cylindrical beakers and covers, entirely painted with tiger-lily ornament and conventional blossoms, 5-1/2, 6-3/4, and 7 in. high 346 10 0
Vases, pair, cylindrical, painted with bands of formal arabesque foliage, and with alternate blue bands, with dragons and scrolls reserved in white, 11-1/4 in. high 220 10 0
Vases, pair, cylindrical, powdered-blue, painted with fishermen, Sages, flowers, &c., in upright and circular panels, 10-1/4 in. high 150 0 0
Beaker, painted with branches of flowering prunus, the background pencilled with blue, 18-3/4 in. high 140 0 0
Vases and covers, pair, oviform, painted with peonies, cherry-trees, sparrows and rocks, in shaped panels divided by trellis-pattern bands, 16-1/2 in. high 220 0 0
Vases and covers, set of three oviform, and a pair of beakers, painted with audiences, plantain and vases of flowers, 16-1/2 in. and 18 in. high 1,550 0 0
389 Vase and cover, oviform prunus-pattern, of the highest quality, finely painted with branches of flowering prunus on marbled-blue ground, 10-1/4 in. high 6,195 0 0
Bottles, pair, pear-shaped, with blue panels containing flowers and leafage reserved in white, the necks pencilled with marbled pattern in blue, 7-1/2 in. high 75 12 0
Ewer, with pencilled marbled groundwork and dark-blue heart-shaped panels, containing scrolls reserved in white, 6-1/2 in. high. 56 14 0
Bottles, pair, with long necks, painted with pendant lanterns and korōs, palm-leaves on the necks, 9-1/2 in. high 52 10 0
Vases and covers, pair, two-handled, painted with fans and utensils in mirror-shaped panels and sprays of flowers, 11 in. high 65 2 0
Dishes, pair, with blue ground, decorated with seeding peonies and foliage reserved in white, and painted with flower-branches round the well, 18-1/2 in. diameter 54 12 0
Bottle, with compressed body and nearly cylindrical neck, painted with seeding peonies and foliage, and palm-leaves round the neck, 18 in. high 294 0 0
390 Bowls and covers, pair, cylindrical, with marbled-blue ground and prunus-blossom in white, painted with flowering plants and birds in mirror and fan-shaped panels, 7-1/2 in. high 231 0 0
Vase and cover, oviform, painted with panels of prunus-branches and birds on a trellis groundwork, and with lambrequin-shaped panels round the shoulder and foot, containing formal flowers reserved in white on blue ground, 24 in. high 136 10 0
Vase and cover, oviform, painted with rocky landscapes and baskets of flowers, and with lambrequin-shaped panels round the shoulders and foot, with scroll foliage reserved in white on blue ground, the cover surmounted by a small figure of a kylin, 23-1/4 in. high 78 15 0
Bottles, pair, powdered-blue, painted with vases of flowers and utensils in mirror-shaped panels, 11-1/2 in. high 241 10 0
Vases and covers, pair, powdered-blue, painted with river scenes, flowering plants and utensils in variously shaped panels, 19 in. high 756 0 0
Bottles, pair, powdered-blue, with bulbous necks, painted with river scenes, flowers and utensils in variously shaped panels, 18 in. high 420 0 0
Jars and covers, pair, mandarin, painted with bands of arabesques and alternate blue bands decorated with dragons, flames, and leafage reserved in white, 42 in. high 1,942 10 0
391 Cisterns, pair, circular, entirely painted with formal flowers and foliage, and with a band of beaded ornament round the top, 27 in. diameter 210 0 0
Bowl, painted with groups of various flowers, locusts and other insects, 5-3/4 in. diameter; and a bowl, with flowers, insects and reptiles, 5-3/4 in.
89 5 0
Bowl and cover, small cylindrical, painted with mirror-shaped panels of flowers on marbled-blue ground,with prunus-blossom reserved in white, 5-1/2 in.
81 18 0
Vase, cylindrical, painted with arabesque foliage, and with a blue band round the centre decorated with dragons reserved in white, 11 in. high 86 2 0
Another vase, nearly similar, 10-1/2 in. high 90 6 0
Bottles, pair, pear-shaped, painted with pendant lanterns and other ornament, and with branches of flowers round the necks, 11-1/2 in. high 54 12 0
Bowls and covers, pair, cylindrical powdered-blue, painted with river scenes, flowers and utensils in circular medallions, 6-3/4 in. high 199 10 0
Jardinières, pair, with prunus-blossom reserved in white on marbled-blue ground, mounted with Louis XVI. ormolu handles chased with foliage and shells, and gadrooned borders, 8 in. diameter 90 6 0
Bottle, with long neck, painted with kylins playing with balls, and a dragon on the neck, 18 in. high 50 8 0
392 Vase, painted with an audience and figures on a terrace, 21-3/4 in. high 52 10 0
Vase, painted with a procession in a rocky landscape, 16-1/2 in. high 63 0 0
Vases and covers, set of three, painted with landscapes, cranes, deer and other animals in panels with key-pattern borders, 19-1/2 in., 20 in., and 20-1/2 in. high 54 12 0
Dishes, pair, large, painted with flowering plants in the centre in petal panels on trellis-pattern ground, the border composed of arabesque foliage, among which are figures of peacocks and baskets of fruit in four panels, 21-3/4 in. diameter 115 10 0
Pair of ditto, similar 115 10 0
Cistern, octagonal, painted with medallions of arabesque foliage, characters in the centre, and a band of palm-leaves round the shoulder, 25-1/2 in. diameter 52 10 0
Bottle, double gourd-shaped, painted with gourds and foliage, and a band of key-pattern round the centre, 26 in. high 115 10 0
Cisterns, pair, circular, painted with river scenes in the interior, chrysanthemums and lotus outside, 25 in. diameter, on walnut-wood stands 44 2 0
Chinese Enamelled Porcelain.
Tea service, with ruby ground, pencilled with flowers in grisaille in shaped panels, consisting of tea-pot, cover and stand, a cream-jug and cover, two cups and saucers, and two small saucer-dishes, 240 0 0
393 Vase, square-shaped, enamelled with quails and flowering trees on white ground, the handles coral-colour and gold, 10-3/4 in. high 136 0 0
Bottles, pair, pear-shaped, with bulbous necks, with spiral pink and white bands, and enamelled with figures and branches of flowers in colours, 10-1/2 in. high 58 16 0
Stand, oblong, enalelled with dragons with the Sacred Jewel, in green, mauve and yellow, 11-1/4 in. wide 52 10 0
Bowl, ruby-coloured, enamelled with a kakémono and branches of flowering prunus, 7-1/2 in. high 100 0 0
Vases, pair, "famille verte" fluted, formed as bamboo canes, enamelled with small sprays of flowers and grasses on green and yellow ground, on octagonal open stands, enamelled green, 8-1/2 in. high 320 0 0
Vase, oviform, with bright green ground, enamelled with dragons and formal flowers in mauve, with arabesque foliage reserved in white, and with unglazed kylins'-mask handles, 12 in. high 400 0 0
Bottle, powdered-blue, of triple gourd-shape, enamelled with peonies, other flowers and grasses, in "famille verte," in mirror and fan-shaped panels, 10-1/4 in. high 357 0 0

Beakers, pair, with bulbous centres; the necks are finely enamelled with a bright green ground, upon which is formally arranged a design of flowers and foliage, enamelled mauve, the centre part similarly decorated, but with conventional flowers in green on yellow ground, and with a band of green vandyke panels below; the lower half of the beakers is powdered-blue, 10-1/2 in. high

Vase and cover, oviform, of somewhat similar design to the preceding, the lower part powdered-blue, and the upper portion and the cover enamelled with formal flowers and foliage in green on yellow ground, 12-1/2 in. high

2,700 0 0
Bottles, pair, triple gourd-shaped, the lower part decorated with medallions of masks, utensils and emblems, on a floral groundwork, in black and gold, the centre part pencilled with kylins and flames, in rouge-de-fer and gold, on white ground, the necks powdered-blue, with Ho-Ho birds in gold, 21-1/2 in. high 480 0 0
Bottles, pair, small gourd-shaped, with engraved yellow ground, enamelled with sprays of flowers in colours, 7 in. high 115 10 0
Vase, inverted pear-shaped, with engraved yellow ground, enamelled with branches of flowers, 10-1/4 in. high 66 3 0
395 Vases, pair, oviform egg-shell, enamelled with houses by a river, a bridge, and figures in a summer-house, and with gilt necks and feet, 10-3/4 in. high 304 10 0
Vases, set, three oviform, the groundwork encrusted with branches of flowers, and with upright panels enamelled with Sages and other figures in landscapes, 7-1/4 in. and 8-1/2 in. high 189 0 0
Figures of parrots, pair, enamelled turquoise and dark blue, and mounted on Louis XV. ormolu scroll plinths, 9-3/4 in. high 220 10 0
Part of a tea-service, with pale yellow and black trellis-ground decorated with plume ornament in mauve, consisting of cream-jug and cover, canister and cover, two stands, and four cups and saucers 131 5 0
Bowls and covers, set, three, enamelled with chrysanthemums, branches of begonia, and sparrows, and with pink diaper-pattern border, 6 in. diameter 105 0 0
Tea-service, lotus-pattern, consisting of tea-pot, milk-jug, canister, bowl and covers, and four cups and three saucers; and two small plates, enamelled in pink and green, and with branch handles 94 10 0
396 Basin, with brown and pink exterior, pencilled with tiger-lilies and other flowers in gold, the interior enamelled with a magician, 4-3/4 in. diameter 54 12 0
Basin, with apple-green ground, pencilled with flowers and grasses in gold, 4-5/8 in. diameter 79 16 0
Ewer and cover, powdered-blue oviform, enamelled with a stream, lotus plants and prunus-tree, with birds in "famille verte" in shaped panels, the ground pencilled with gold, 8-1/4 in. high 378 0 0
Dishes, pair, powdered-blue, enamelled with kylins, Ho-Ho birds and utensils in "famille verte," in mirror-shaped panels, 16 in. diameter 378 0 0
Vase, "famille verte," of nearly cylindrical form, with crimson ground, finely enamelled with branches of seeding peonies, arabesque foliage and dragons, and with pale green and yellow lambrequin-shaped panels round the borders containing formal flowers, mounted with ormolu rim and plinth, with Sphinx supports, 21-1/2 in. high 600 0 0
Lantern, oviform egg-shell, with finely stippled green ground, enamelled with an audience and ladies on a terrace, in "famille verte" in two oblong panels on a groundwork of flowers and butterflies 410 0 0
397 Bowl, enamelled with cranes in black and white and waves in green on yellow ground, 10 in. diameter; and a dish, with cranes in black and white on pale yellow ground, 11-1/2 in. diameter 79 16 0
Basins and stands, pair, small, enamelled with peonies, and with pink exteriors 71 8 0
Bowls and covers, pair, basket-pattern, with panels of pierced honey-comb pattern, enamelled with chrysanthemums 189 0 0
Dish, circular, open-work border enamelled with vases and utensils on coloured diaper ground, 9-1/4 in. diameter 273 0 0
Plates, pair, octagonal, enamelled with ladies and children by a stream, in brown border with green trellis edge, 7-3/4 in diameter 78 15 0
Bowl, with branches of flowers in the interior, and medallions of flowers outside on an incised green and white ground, 10-1/4 in. diameter 58 16 0
Jar, cylindrical, with pale green ground, decorated with flying cranes in black and white, 7 in. high 260 0 0
Vase, oviform egg-shell, enamelled with ladies in a landscape, carrying vases, 19 in. high 99 15 0
Vase, oviform, with marbled-green ground, enamelled with peonies, a tree, and birds, 19-1/2 in. high 105 0 0
398 Dishes, pair, large, in the Imari taste, enamelled with vases of flowers and a fence in the centre, and with scroll-shaped panels of flowers and birds on the border on blue ground with chrysanthemums in red and gold, 21 in. diameter 173 5 0
Vase, cylindrical, with pencilled blue scale-pattern ground, enamelled with lotos, begonias, and other flowers in panels, in "famille verte," 10-3/4 in. high 89 5 0
Dish, egg-shell, enamelled with a peacock and peonies in the centre, four panels of pink diaper ornament on the border on blue ground, 7-3/4 in. diameter 100 0 0
Saucer-dish, with ruby back enamelled with a kakémono and flowers in the centre and with pale blue marbled border with blossom in white, 8 in. diameter 115 10 0
Plates, pair, octagonal, enamelled with flower-sprays in the centre and with ruby panels on the border on blue ground, enamelled with peonies, 7-1/2 in. diameter 136 10 0
Bowls, pair, small white, with pierced trellis-pattern sides, decorated with small medallions of figures modelled in high relief and gilt, 3-3/4 in. high 60 0 0
Box and cover, "famille verte" square, enamelled with a crane and emblems, on green and yellow trellis-pattern groundwork, 4 in. square 70 0 0
399 Cup, "famille verte," octagonal, on foot, enamelled with chrysanthemums, iris, and other flowers, and insects in compartments, 4-3/4 in. high 54 12 0
Bowl, with dark green wave-pattern ground, decorated inside and out with horses, waves, shells, and blossom reserved in white and partly enamelled mauve, 8-1/4 in. diameter 350 0 0
Bowl, with apple-green ground, decorated with a flowering prunus-tree reserved in white, heightened with mauve enamel, 7-3/4 in. diameter 370 0 0
Saucer-dish, black ground, enamelled with chrysanthemums, rocks, and flowering prunus-tree, 7-3/4 in. diam. 145 0 0
Milk-jug and cover, curiously enamelled with trumpeters, in colours on black enamelled ground 40 0 0
Cups and saucers, pair of egg-shell, similar 55 0 0
Basin, similar, 5-1/2 in. diameter 50 0 0
Cups and saucers, pair, with black ground, enamelled with prunus and panels of flowers, in green, mauve and buff, the interiors decorated with sprays of flowers in red, blue, and green 120 15 0
Jug and cover, barrel-shaped, with green enamelled ground, entirely decorated with formal flowers and leafage reserved in white, mounted with old English silver borders and billet, 7 in. high 370 0 0
400 Vase, with yellow ground, enamelled with a pheasant, peony, and rocks in green and mauve, and with palm-leaves round the neck, 10-1/2 in. high 900 0 0
Bottles, pair, with spherical bodies and long cylindrical necks, entirely enamelled with formal flowers and foliage in "famille verte," 8-3/4 in. high 450 0 0
Vases, pair, oviform coral-coloured, entirely decorated with formal flowers and arabesque foliage reserved in white, 7-3/4 in. high 110 0 0
Bottle, gourd-shaped, of nearly similar design, 12 in. high 300 0 0
Vase, oviform egg-shell, enamelled with a lady seated at a table, and with vases at the side, 8-1/4 in. high 180 0 0
Another, enamelled with Sages and other figures in a mountainous landscape, 8-1/4 in. high 70 0 0
Vases, pair, egg-shell, with turquoise ground, enamelled with coast scenes and figures in the European taste, 8-1/4 in. high 52 10 0
Bottle, pear-shaped, with black ground, entirely decorated with formal flowers and small scroll foliage reserved in white, 16-3/4 in. high 651 0 0
Cistern, oval, enamelled with festoons of flowers in the European taste, and panels of figures in the interior, the outside enamelled with pink and green chequer-pattern, mounted on Louis XVI. ormolu plinth, with gadroon and riband border, 18 in. wide 567 0 0
401 Bottle, of triple-gourd shape, enamelled with bright green ground, decorated with formal flowers and arabesque foliage reserved in white, 11-1/4 in. high 600 0 0
Lanterns, pair, egg-shell, of oviform shape, finely enamelled with an audience and figures on a terrace, 8-3/4 in. high 1,200 0 0
Bowls and covers, pair, enamelled with vases of flowers, utensils and emblems in colours, mounted with Louis XVI. ormolu borders chased with rosettes and ribands, lions'-mask and ring handles, and lions'-claw stands of the same, the covers surmounted by cone ornaments, 15-1/2 in. high 336 0 0





























Transcriber's Notes:

1. Illustration Table page number 79/97 has been corrected, incorrect in book.

2. Where the description of an image precedes the image, it has been moved to AFTER the image, so as to avoid confusion.

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