Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Chinese Porcelain


Famille Rose wares 1725-1800


Page 2

There was great demand for Chinese porcelain in Europe at the end of the 17th century. This led to the production of a variety of shapes and decorations while the competition between private merchants also contributed to a very varied supply. Besides porcelain decorated in underglaze blue, famille verte and Chinese Imari, many other types emerged, decorated with overglaze enamels that were sometimes combined with underglaze blue. The most important development, however, was the use of a pink-red enamel around 1725. Porcelain decorated with this enamel is called famille rose. Within a very short time this type supplanted famille verte and became the popular choice for all kinds of export porcelain. Mixing the rose with white enamel created shades of colour that suggested depth and volume. Famille rose knows a great variety in quality and decorations. The name was invented in the 19th century; before that it was simply called 'enamelled'. Rose enamel was first developed in the Imperial workshops in Beijing and applied on enamelled copper and bronze objects. Western chemical knowledge introduced by the Jesuits at the court around 1700 probably played a role. Since c.1725 it also was used on porcelain in Jingdezhen. Initially, the colour had a lilac shade but became a proper pink after c.1730. It was applied rather thickly and, unlike the very thin iron-red, can easily be felt on top of the glaze. Rose was applied on all types of export porcelain and there are countless combinations with other enamels.


Famille Rose wares 1725-1800 - Page 2


Object 2011599








Provenance: Landgoed "Huis De Voorst"


Height 42 mm (1.65 inch), diameter of rim 348 mm (13.70 inch), diameter of footring 191 mm (7.52 inch), weight 1,086 grams (38.31 ounce (oz.))


Dish on footring, wide spreading flat underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). Polychrome decorated in iron-red, black, gold and other overglaze enamels, with a flowering prunus tree surrounded by flowering lily, iris, hibiscus, chrysanthemum and cherry plants. On the sides a diaper pattern with four reserves filled with flowering plants flanked by half chrysanthemum flower heads, On the flat rim groups of flowering peony and prunus plants alternating with groups of flowering chrysanthemum and hibiscus plants and a trellis pattern border. On the reserve two flowering peony sprays. 


Tree-worship was widely spread throughout China in ancient times, as is evidenced for a long time by the reluctance of the people to cut down trees in the neighbourhood of temples and graves. Often, the shrine of a local god was placed at the roots or in the fork of a tree remarkable for its size and beauty.  It was believed that the soul of the god resides in the tree, which is therefore held to be sacred. If dug up or cut down, the person doing so was liable to die. There are many references in Chinese literature to trees that bleed and utter cries of pain or indignation when hewed down. A strip of red cloth or paper is often attached to a tree in order to keep it safe from the spirits of evil, who always avoid that particular colour of happiness and good fortune. (Williams 1976, pp.407-408)


The lila / rose enamel decoration on this large dish is characteristic for the Yongzheng period The 'false unglazed rim' (jia mangkou). a thin brown glaze that first came to use during the Yuan dynasty, was suspended in the mid-Ming, but revived in Jingdezhen during the early eighteenth century. Around 1720 Père d'Entrecolles mentioned this technology; It is principally the Edges of the China-ware that are subject to flaw: to remedy which inconvenience they strengthen them with a certain Quantity of powered Charcoal made of Bamboo, which they mix the Varnish that is laid on the Ware, and which renders of an Ash-colour; afterwards they take a pencil, and lay this mixture on the Edge of the China-ware. (Sargent 2012, p.183)


For an identically decorated dish, please see:

Condition: A firing flaw to the base and three very tiny fleabites and two frits to the rim. 



Williams 1976, pp.407-408

Sargent 2012, p.183

Suchomel 2015, cat. 240


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Famille Rose wares 1725-1800 - Page 2


Object 2012004








Height 27 mm (1.06 inch), diameter of rim 231 mm (9.09 inch), diameter of footring 125 mm (4.92 inch), weight 324 grams (11.43 ounce (oz.))


Dish on footring, flat underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). Polychrome decorated in iron-red, gold and other overglaze enamels, with a central medallion filled with flower sprays and a shell-and-scroll border on the rim. The reverse is undecorated.


The painters who decorated dishes intended for a European market usually turned to traditional motifs as can be seen by the central floral design, the shell pattern border was clearly inspired by a European rococo pattern. (Sargent 2012, p.249)


Condition: Two shallow chips to the footring and some tiny fleabites and frits to the rim 



Sargent 2012, p.183 & p.249


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