Porcelain — Its Different Types and Characteristics

Collectors of antique Chinese porcelain will recognize its value as one of China’s major artistic contributions. With its different types and characteristics, it is not only lightweight and practical, but also rich in artistic value. It is no wonder antique Chinese porcelain is a mainstay in art collections.

The Different Types of Chinese Porcelain

Blue and White Porcelain (Ming and Yuan)

This porcelain is the most famous among all Chinese ceramics. Its name refers to its blue cobalt oxide under glaze. Blue and White gained fame when the Chinese traded it with Europeans during the 17th century.

White Porcelain

The dominant ceramic of its era, white porcelain originated from southern provinces like Jingdezhen during the Song dynasty. This porcelain has a jade-like texture and greenish-blue colour, which comes from the iron in its clear glaze.

Qing Dynasty Porcelain

These porcelains are set apart by their bright, meticulously painted depictions of animals and nature. To do this, porcelain ceramicists used a method of applying under glaze pigments to produce ceramic ware with five colours. The potters eventually started enhancing porcelain with fencai enamel, which allowed them to use a wider range of shades.

Underglaze Black Porcelain

This porcelain’s popularity reached its peak from 1400 to 1700 AD. Potters used black iron oxide to paint designs underneath a clear protective glaze.

Longquan Porcelain

Commonly called celadon ceramics, this porcelain has a cool green glaze. To develop this specific colour, potters mix clay, wood ash, and iron and fire it in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere.

Antique Porcelain in Modern UK

There are many collectors and exhibitors of antique porcelain in the UK today. One of them is Marchant. They are one of the renowned antique porcelain dealers in the United Kingdom, specialising in Imperial Chinese Ming and Qing porcelains. The company, established in 1925, regularly holds exhibits in their gallery. Their pieces come with scholarly catalogues, complete with full-colour illustrations.

The unparalleled elegance of Chinese porcelain has made it a mainstay in art galleries and private antique collections. Each piece has its own individual characteristics. They are pieces of combined beauty and history that can last a lifetime when handled and cared for carefully.

Kerena Tosetti
About Kerena Tosetti 11 Articles
Kerena is an English teacher in California. She also assisted in writing several English books for high school students.

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