Color used for decoration on the porcelain occurred in the late
period of Xi Jin Dynasty at first. Then simple designs composed of
brown speckles could be found on some celadon in South China. In Sui
dynasty, the hair, cap, frown, eyes and the cloths on the porcelain
has been painted by black decoration. Underglaze brown glaze was then
produced in Changsha ware in Tang dynasty. While Overglaze decoration
originated from Song dynasty. Moreover, the blue and white, underglaze
red and gold enamels just occurred in Jin and Yuan dynasty.
Various kinds of decorative porcelain occurred in succession in
Xuande and Chenghua period of Ming dynasty. For example, clobbering
red decorative on the blue and white porcelain made during the years
of Xuande and doucai contrasting colors made during Chenghua period.
The blue decorative and kingfisher blue were created in Jingdezhen
in Qing dynasty. The famille rose possessing unique decoration style
was formed gradually in the years of Kangxi and reached the summit
in Yongzheng and Qianlong period. Down to the middle period of Qing
dynasty, foreign color was began to be used because of the introduction
of decorative arts from western countries.
Doucai, which is the combination
of onglaze and underglaze decoration, was initially fired during
Chenghua period in Ming dynasty. The procedure for producing doucai
is as following: first of all, the design of blue and white should
be painted on the body. Then, it will be covered with transparent
glaze and fired in the kiln. Afterwards, other designs will be painted
by low temperature pigments on the blank part. Finally, after being
roasted again, doucai is finished. Blue and white is the dominant
color of the design on doucai, while the onglaze decoration is just
the ornament, which provide us with the impression of freshness
and artistic effects.
San-cal mainly refers to yellow, green and purple but not restricts to the three colors. It is also called "plain tricolor" because red is not included. The body should be first fired into biscuit porcelain in high temperature, then glazed and painted with veins and designs by pigments. Finally, it will be fired again in low temperature. Another way for producing san-cal is like this: the designs will be first painted and sculptured on the body, and then the body will be fired into biscuit porcelain. Afterwards, you should put on the ground glaze and cut off part of the glaze where pigments should be painted. Finally, color will be drew on the biscuit porcelain which is going to be fired in the decoration furnace later.
San-cal was first fired in the folk kiln during Zhengde period in Ming dynasty and improved a lot in Kangxi period of Qing dynasty.
Wucai refers to the colors of
red, yellow, green, blue and purple which are painted
on the glaze according to the design. It is a kind
of gu-cai which was fired twice. By the way, it
is also called famille verte because of its few
levels. Wucai was invented during Xuande period
in Ming dynasty. While during Chenghua period, wucai
porcelain with blue and white was rarely seen. The
well-known decorative porcelain of Hongzhi period
included wucai pine, bamboo, plum and so on. In
the years of Zhengde, there are also onglaze wucai,
but only a few. With the emergence of famille rose,
the amount of wucai porcelain gradually decreased
but still prevailed during Yongzheng period.
Famille rose is also called "soft colors". It absorbed the skills of traditional Chinese painting in designing and made good use of it flexibly. As a result, different levels can be obviously seen on it. After drawing the outline of the picture, "bolibai" will be painted on the body. Then, you should mix the pigments with water or a special kind of oil and then use them to paint on the "bolibai". Finally, it will be fired in the kiln.
Famille rose developed from wucai and was another achievement in Qing dynasty. It was invented during Kangxi period but the products were tough at that time. It was not until Yongzheng period that famille rose was widely fired and became delicate.
If you touch it, you will find that it
is flat. Color enamels are high-grade artistic works which
are delicate in coloring and firing. They were invented
during Kangxi period and flourished in the years of Yongzheng
and Qianlong. Besides, it was once regarded as one of the
wonders in the world.
Color enamels were first fired in the middle years
of Kangxi period. Its color, design and style are
the same as those with copper body which were marked
"made in Kangxi period". In the years of Yongzheng
and Qianlong, the products were more exquisite than
ever. The so-called color enamels was a kind of
pigment concocted with enamel. The main characteristic
is that the color remains unchanged after the body
being fired. The color is thin but provides with
a sense of prominency.
Onglaze red colors include allite
red and gold ruby. Allite red was invented in Song
dynasty. Most onglaze red colors belong to this
kind. While gold ruby was introduced from foreign
countries and first seen on the porcelain with color
enamels during Kangxi period in Qing dynasty. Allite
red is a traditional red color in the field of ceramic
producing. The name was given according to its material-green
alum and the producing procedure of firing and fulling.
Moreover, it is also called "iron red" because of
iron oxide's being its main coloring agent. While
being used, allite red should be mixed with lead
powder and pastern. Its color is in connection with
the degree of delicacy. The more delicate, the more
thunder-and-lightning it will be. Besides, the firing
time and temperature also play an important role
during the process. If they are well controlled,
bright red color will be obtained; if not, yellow
will be mixed in it accidentally. Allite red was
not only used as red colors, but also used in mixing
colors. For example, in antique green and antique
yellow of wucai, about one percent vitriol should
Green is the color generation
for copper in the oxidized condition. The traditional
green enamels in China were of various kinds and
colors because of the different amount of copper
included in the pigment. Besides, other staining
elements, such as iron, chromium, stannum, etc.
may be added. For example, in the color enamels
during Kangxi period and famille rose in the years
of Qianlong, some green enamel appeared a little
bit yellow just because the antimony was added.