Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Chinese Porcelain


Blue and White Kangxi Period 1662-1722




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Around 1680, Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722) established his authority over all parts of China after a long period of civil strife. The porcelain factories in Jingdezhen that were demolished in 1675 resumed production and within a few years exports were booming. Chinese junks sailed to Batavia, bringing their porcelain to the market. From there, it was shipped to the Netherlands in VOC (Dutch East India Company, 1602–1799) vessels. However, private individuals bypassed the Company and also imported huge quantities of porcelain to Holland. In Europe, a change in dining habits and the introduction of tea and coffee created new demands. New varieties of Chinese export porcelain were produced, including all kinds of Western shapes. Porcelain, sometimes in miniature, was frequently used to decorate house interiors in Europe.

Much porcelain of this period is decorated in a clear, transparent underglaze blue. Popular decorations included the Buddhist lotus motif, a pheasant with long tail feathers on a rock amidst flowers, and the ‘Long Eliza’ with the 'Dancing Fool', the Dutch name for a Chinese lady and a small boy depicted in a garden.

Kangxi porcelain is very well made, with a thin body, a balanced shape and a smooth glaze without impurities. Cobalt blue oxide was subtly applied in varying degrees of saturation, suggesting depth and volume. The colour ranges from a silvery to a deep dark blue; in the best pieces the details and the craftsmanship are amazing. However, due to stricter controls by officials, the freedom and easy way of painting that was so characteristic of the preceding Transitional period now gave way to a more formal style with an emphasis on symmetry and centralism.

Currently there are no blue and white Kangxi Period 1660-1722 dishes for sale.