five colors are not
always appeared on each ware at the same time. Most of the
five colored wares in both Jiaqing and Wanli in the Ming Dynasty
belong to the underglaze blue famille verte. Overglaze blue
colors were invented in the latter part of the Ming Dynasty.
Anyplace needed blue-and -white can be replaced by overglaze
blue colors. Its art effect nothing less than blue-and -white.
Sometimes it even exceeds blue-and -white. But it saves one
technology. Most of the "Wucai" in the years of
Kangxi belong to the five-colored overglaze decoration.
Both gold decoration and black decoration are more used
in the "Wucai" in the years of Kangxi. The light-ink
strokes and draw outline of people's beards ,hairs ,shoes
,caps and of the feather of the birds ,animals and of the
trunks and of the mountains, stones are usually used black
decoration. Gold decoration in the years of the Ming Dynasty
is more used on the ground of the colored glaze such as painting
in gold on a red ground, caramel glazed in gold and so on.
But the gold decoration in the years of Kangxi becomes a component
of the five-colored design and decoration which has magnificent
picture such as five colored fish jar with the design of flowers
and birds. (as picture1).
The design and decoration of the porcelain during the period
of Kangxi often use the famous painter's works as original
version. The style of painting is embodied in the decoration
of the porcelain perfectly. Xu Zhiheng said: " The painting
painted by Kangxi is the best in the Qing Dynasty. Figure
like painted by Chen Laolian and Xiao Chimu, mountains and
rivers like painted by Wang Shigu and Wu Mojing, flowers and
plants liked painted by Hua Qiuyue." (Yinliuzhai Talk
The style, the technique of painting, the choice of color
of the previous period and the latter period about five colored
ware has some differences during the 61 years rule of Kangxi.
The previous period of wares in the years of Kangxi reserve
more unsophisticated style of the latter period of the Ming
Dynasty - deep red and dark green ,single-lined plane coating,
the body of the wares are covered with design and decoration.
The five-colored follower goblet with the design of figure
story in the years of Kangxi(as picture2), that is to say,
is a work of the earlier period. The ware is 55cms in height.
The body of the ware is massive. The ware has a flared mouth,
becomes smaller gradually under the neck, plano-bulge in the
middle part of the body, flat bottom and exposed body. The
follower goblet is developed from the shape of bucket of the
goblet from the years of Chongzhen in the Ming dynasty. During
the early years of the Qing Dynasty, the middle of the body
bulged gradually. Moreover, the plano-bulge part of the body
had become the body of the shape of drum. Figures and stories
are painted on the upper part of the goblet and followers,
pomegranates, peaches are painted in the middle part of the
body. This porcelain belongs to the five-colored overglaze
decoration. The color and lustre of the blue-and-white is
very verdant. Its decoration is single-lined plane coating,
that is to say, the way of delineating and filling in the
color. There is no difference between dark and bright. There
is no uneven stereoscopic sense either.
Put the glue and water into the colored material and mix
them is called "wucai" in the years of the Ming
Dynasty. But a mixed colored material of oil material was
used during the middle period of Kangxi. But there is no historical
record about the variety of oil material. Colored material
mixing by oil possesses proper viscosity and concentration.
When craftsmen fill in color on the smooth cover coat, the
colored material will not spatter all over and overflow the
outline drew. After firing, lustre takes on gentleness, lucid
and lively. Five colored plate with the design of flowers
and birds in the years of Kangxi (as picture 3), is a reprentative
work of the official kiln during the middle period of Kangxi.
At the same time, it is also a material object mixed by oil
material. Its color tone of red colors is very fresh. Although
it is also used alum red with "Wucai" in the years
of The Ming Dynasty, it is not strong dark iron-red. The color
and luster is divided into strong, light, deep and pale obviously.
The colors of peaches are stronger gradually from the tip
of peaches. From light pink to bright red, you will that the
sense of gradation is distinct. There is a clear difference
with plane coating in the Ming Dynasty because the latter
has not gradation. The plate is 26cms in diameter. A picture
about followers and birds fulling of vigor and vitality is
painted in the middle of the plate. Several branches growing
with green leaves in the painting stretched out slantly. A
pheasant perches on the branch. It shows dark and bright of
the leaves by using different green of light or strong, the
feathers of the bird are painted in black, the beak is painted
in red. The composition and the color tone of this picture
are very beautiful. The edge of the plate is design on tapestry-like
ground. There are four small-reserved panel between it. "Many
happy returns of the day to eternity" is written in the
small reserved panel by seal character. Five red bats are
painted on the outer part of the plate. It means be supremely
fortunate. There is a twin circles of blue and white on the
bottom of the plate and "make in the years of Kangxi
of the Qing Dynasty" was written in it.
The subject matters of painting about "Wucai"
in the years of Kangxi are wide. The tableaus are grand. Novels
and dramas, folk stories, mythology and tales, large painting
of figures, painting of mountains and rivers, painting of
flowers and birds are often painted on the porcelain. Its
art quality exceeds the Ming Dynasty. It pursuits an effect
painted on the paper and silk. Porcelain paintings are often
painted by artisan-painter in the factory of the kiln. Few
famous artists paint them in person. But there are a lot of
elegant works among the five colored porcelain in the years
of Kangxi. The artistically accomplishment of these craftsmen
should be admired. The five colored vase in the shape of wooden
club with the design of the stories of the Sui Dynasty and
the Tang Dynasty in the years of Kangxi(as picture 4) is the
best porcelain produced by folk kiln during the middle period
of Kangxi. The vase in the shape of wooden club is a new vessel
shape in the Qing Dynasty. It is called the vase in the shape
of wooden club because the body of the vase likes the wooden
club used by people when washing clothes. The vase is 44cms
in height, pan mouth, short neck, round turning shoulder,
the form of bucket in the middle part of the vase, ring root,
vessel shape edges and corners clearly. The firm model, sturdy
decoration and rich colors are integrated in the harmonious
keynote. The bananas, mountains and stones, figures are painted
on the part of the bottle neck, the designs on tapestry-like
ground are painted on the part of the shoulder, music instrument,
chess, book and painting are painted in the four small-reserved
panel and the story about Qin Qong fight against Yu Chigong
at Meilianchuan in the Historical Novel of the Ming Dynasty
and the Qing Dynasty is painted in the middle part of the
vase. You can see that both of them are on horseback. They
are fighting. Neither of them can get the upper hand. It can
gives you a feeling of hearing the sound of bumping between
the weapons. The atmosphere of the tableau is tense and lively.
The skill of the painting is superb. The principal color tone
of the vase is green colors and grisaille painting. It does
not like the "wucai" in the Ming Dynasty because
red hold great proportion in the latter. The five colored
plate with the design of Fengyi pavilion in the years of Kangxi(as
picture 5) is also a five colored porcelain using novel story
as subject matter. It is 35cms in diameter and 6cms in height.
It is flared mouth, shallow in the middle part of the vase,
wide and flat of the internal bottom, double foot-ring. Basal
foot is double -ring fence of blue and white and a leave is
painted in it. Balustrade, mountains and stones, ancient trees
and young grasses are painted in the plate. Lu Bu and Diao
Chan are smuggling up to each other beside the Fengyi pavilion.
Dong Zhuo sinister in appearance by anger and stamp his foot
with fury. The story is drawn material from "Lu Bu takes
liberties with Diao Chan at the Fengyi pavilion in the Historical
Novel of three countries. Both of the above mentioned wares
posses the style of woodcut. Lines are the principal part
in the tableau. Various kinds of the images, postures, sense
of quality and so on are all showed by thick and thin, pause
in the painting, density, long and short. Then, the strong
fine brushwork lines are filled in five colors. After finished
firing, black-line is concealed inside it. It is similar with
the style of fine woodcut of folk and illation in the novel.
Besides "wucai" with white ground, "wucai"
in the years of Kangxi still involve many other grounds of
"wucai" such as "wucai" with bean green
ground, "wucai "with rice ground, "Wucai"
with Geware glaze ground, "wucai" with china-ink,
"wucai" with blue ground and "wucai" with
cassius ground. Cassius blue glaze began to fire at the Xuande
years in the Ming Dynasty. It belongs to the single color
glaze variety. It is called sprayed blue in the historical
record. It blows blue glaze on the white glaze ware finished
burning, just like snowflake sprinkle. Therefore, it is also
called labasterblue. Five colored general canister with fish
pattern on cassius ground (as picture 6) is a fairly elegant
ware. It is called general canister because its lid of the
canister rises high, a treasure bead handle on it just like
the helmet of general.
The canister is straight mouth, full shoulder, thin in the
middle part of the canister, outslant at the bottom, plat
bottom and exposed body, the vessel shape is tall and big,
serious, full and round. Four fish moving about lively are
painted on the body of the ware in red, green, yellow and
brown. cassius blue glaze is ground color just like the color
in water. A circuit of white rim at the mouth of the bottle
and the edge is distinct.
In the 53 years under the rule of Kangxi, the prohibition
of the sea was nullified. Thus, it stimulated the development
of overseas trade and large quantities of elegant porcelains
were exported to Europe. There is also a kind of porcelain
for export among "wucai" made during the years of
Kangxi. Some of them were made to order according to the special
requirement of foreign tradesmen. Its form-made, design and
decoration differed from domestic porcelains such as five
colored kettle with the design of bees and butterflies in
the years of Kangxi (as picture 7), five colored plate with
the design of flowers and birds of eight reserved panels in
the years of Kangxi (as picture 8), five colored plate with
the design of branches-binding in the years of Kangxi(as picture
9). It has exquisite brushwork and the composition of the
picture is dense. Most of these wares were exported to abroad.
It could hardly be found in the domestic market.
People like "wucai" in the years of Kangxi because
its unique painting style and rich colors. Five colored porcelains
handing down to nowadays are numerous. A lot of people are
seeking and collecting five colored porcelains in the years
of Kangxi. At present, a lot of imitations are occurred at
the market. When appreciating, collecting and determining,
we must observe carefully to the vessel shape, color tone,
pattern, design and decoration. Guard against be tricked.