Revel in "wucai" in
Years of Kangxi
   The Qing Dynasty, from the early years of Shunzhi to the early stage of Kangxi, occurred unceasing war. Jingdezhen was in the midst of turmoil of war over a long period of time and the masses of the people were fed up with ravage at that time. The porcelain-made industry was also affected badly because of these reasons. Both the official kiln and the folk kiln were in a state of depression and paralytic until the middle period of Kangxi. After the political situation became stability, the social economic got development and the porcelain-made industry just took on the phase of flourish. During the rule of Kangxi, the
   system of clinkering was reformed. It changed the system which the production of the pottery was supervised by eunuchs and cancelled the way which got the local government into trouble because craftsmen were exploited seriously in the Ming Dynasty. Therefore, Jingdezhen got an unexpected expansion in porcelain-made industry.
  "Wucai" is a very important variety among the decorative porcelain of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. The prosperous period of the development of "wucai" is during the rule of Jiaqing, Daoguang in the Ming Dynasty and Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty respectively. "Wucai" is also calle dancient color. It develops from the basis of overglaze red colors and overglaze green colors in the period of Song and Yuan. "Wucai" is usually divided into two kinds: underglaze blue famille verte and five-colored overglaze decoration. Underglaze blue famille verte means combining underglaze underglaze blue-and -white and red, yellow, green and other colors of the overglaze.
   But 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 about Porcelain)
  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.