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The Blue and White Porcelain Made During the Years of
Kangxi is the Most Outstanding in the Porcelain History

 The blue and white porcelain grew up immediately during the years of Kangxi in the Qing dynasty after undergoing the period of stagnancy momently during the late years of the Ming dynasty and the early years of the Qing dynasty. With the large quantities, excellent quality and wide sale range, the products had already been in a period of prosperity. The Beijing Palace Museum is a basilica in both the Ming and Qing dynasties. It collects more than 1000 pieces of blue and white porcelains made during the years of Kangxi. Compared with the porcelain made during other periods in the Qing dynasty, it fully shows the times characteristic of " the outstanding porcelains in the Qing dynasty" because they not only possess large quantities but also excellent quality.
 The Emperor Kangxi enthroned at the age of eight and came into power at the age of sixteen. Large quantities of high-grade blue and white porcelains are made at the reign of sixty-one-year because he paid more great attention to the firing than other emperors in the Ming dynasty.
 The Imperial Factory was begun to call by the surname of the officials during the years of Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty. Among them, both the Zang kiln and the Lang kiln were the most famous. The Imperial Factory was called Zang kiln from 1680 to 1688 (from the nineteenth years to the twenty-seventh years at the reign of Kangxi) when Zang Yingxuan was dispatched to supervise the Imperial Kiln at Jingdezhen by the Qing court. According to The Jingdezhen kiln Record, the porcelain made in the Zang kiln was produced by Zang Yingxuan(the supervisor) during the years of Kangxi. They have fine clay, thin body and other advantages. The Imperial Factory was began to call Lang kiln from 1705 to 1721(from the forty-fourth years to the fifty-first years at the reign of Kangxi) when Lang Tingji supervised at Qindezhen. Both the Zang kiln and the Lang Kiln are good at copying blue and white porcelain in the years of Xuande and Chenghua.
 Where do the achievements of blue and white porcelain in the years of Kangxi show? According to the condition of the collections in the Imperial Palace, as follows:
 I. The official kiln and the folk kiln
 When talking about the porcelain made during the years of Kangxi, we must clear that the production condition between the official kiln and the folk kiln. The official kiln is begun from the Song dynasty. The famous five kilns in the Song dynasty are all served for royalty. But the porcelain was not fired until they were handed in as tribute before the Yuan dynasty. Down to the second years of Hongwu in the Ming dynasty, the Imperial Factory is built under the foot of Zhu Hill at Jingdezhen initially by the government. From then, the special Imperial factory organism managed by the governmental officials was occurred. It was fired all the years and was sent to basilica at spring and autumn every year. It had already been a practice until the late years of the Qing dynasty. From 1369(the second years of Hongwu in the Ming dynasty) to the 1911(the third years of Xuantong in the Qing dynasty), the official kiln flourished along with the development of feudal society and sagged along with its stagnancy. But it did not interrupt completely all the time. With the great support of finance, the official kiln got much development at the early years of the Qing dynasty. The production of the blue and white porcelain had entered the period of prosperity in the history at the middle and late period of the Qing dynasty because the apparatus had become maturity day by day along with the stable rule of the Qing government.
 The phenomena of " the official kiln and the folk kiln competes each other" in the history of ceramics firing began in the early period of the Ming dynasty. As the strict controlled by the government, the folk kiln had no ability to compete with the official kiln because of coarse quality, dark color and poor appearance. But the official kiln impropriate large quantities of folk kiln down to both the late years of the Ming dynasty and the early years of the Qing dynasty. There is little difference between the official kiln and the folk kiln because the high quality clay, top-class cobalt blue pigment and excellent handicraftsman have flowed into the folk. Even some porcelain made in the official kiln hadn't inscription either. Zhang Qizhong, the manager of the Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, took an order to prohibit potter from inscribing the title of the emperor's reign on the porcelain according to the Emperor's will from the sixteenth years to nineteenth years of Kangxi. According to the Fuliang County Record, Zhang Qizhong, from Yangcheng, prohibited pottery from inscribing the title of the emperor's reign and the handwriting of famous people on the porcelain so as to avoid broking at the sixteenth years of Kangxi. We have no way to investigate the fixed number of using years about the ban after Zhang Qizhong at present. But the title of the reign of Kangxi years is not inscribed on the official ware from 1677-1680 at least.
 In fact, we cannot distinguish the official kiln from the folk kiln at the period of Knagxi by discerning the official inscription simply. It is obvious that it possesses great one-sidedness. Reviewed from washing body clay, sorting cobalt blue pigment and designing rough sketch for painting, a lot of big follower goblets, big jars with fitted cover, big flasks, big urns with rolled lip, big pates, fish jar, etc possessing hard body, big size and excellent decoration among the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi takes on the obvious official kiln characteristic. Some figure story plots and verses from the Historical Novel among Wei, Shu and Wu, Xixiang Record, Chibi Ode, the list when dispatching troops and Yueyang Building are painted on some big pencil vases belonging to the imperial studying utensil. Both designing rough sketch for painting and transcribing verse are all from imperial painter. The average artisan cannot do that. A batch of underglazed blue pencil vase made during the years of Kangxi stored in the Imperial Palace porcelain warehouse is the true official ware. But most of the porcelain is not inscribed the title of the reign of Kangxi.
 Under the effect of the phenomena of "the official kiln competes the folk kiln each other", the official ware began to absorb the rich nutrition of the folk art. It forms a kind of fluent write realistically characteristic because the print, drama, historical novels prevailing among the folk are painted on the porcelain. As the innovation, the official kiln has keeping ahead in terms of underglazed blue porcelain painting. The official ware without the title of the emperor's reign can flow into the folk freely if it doesn't come up to the standard. Of course, people who don't hand in their finished products or stimulate good with bad products will be punished severely. The feudal emperor will not permit the local official and the civilian to use more elegant porcelain than them. The top-class porcelain made in folk kiln must be handed in instead of the official ware. This kind of folk wares have already no difference with the official wares except without the title of the emperor's resign.
 To sum up, we cannot distinguish the official kiln from the folk kiln by the title of the emperor's reign simply in terms of the underglazed blue porcelain made during the years of Kangxi. We should analyze the corresponding character of every ware fully and make the analysis correspond with the objective condition to the best of our abilities. This is the fact that the official ware made during the years of Kangxi exists indeed.
 II. The modeling and the body glaze character of the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi.
 Modeling-The modeling of the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi is unique. The modeling in the early years of the Qing dynasty still continued to the relique of the late years of the Ming dynasty. But the great changes and lots of varieties are the most in the history after the years of middle period. Any official kiln at any times cannot produce such quantities and vessel varieties. The forming technique had reached high degree of professional proficiency and new varieties were emerged in endlessly. Among them, the big ones surpass one meter and the small ones just like chestnut. It can be divided into two kinds on the whole: "zhuo" ware and round ware.
 "zhuo" ware usually means the three-dimensional modeling ware. The artisan needs skillful throw technique. Since the ancient times, "zhuo" ware and round ware are two trades possessing definite work respectively at Qingdezhen. "zhuo" means considering and trimming. It must be handled to square, round, flat or fold according to the needs. It mainly produces three-dimensional ornamental porcelain and ritual ware including vase, furnace, kettle, jar, pencil vase, urn, box, statue, stem cup and so on. Every style include tens of varieties at least and more than thirties or forties varieties at most.
 Geng Baochang, famous ancient ceramic connoisseur, depicts true key drawing to the various names of the wares mentioned on the literature in the Appraise the porcelain made at the Mig and the Qing dynasties. Therefore, we can get a through understanding of the style of various kinds of vessels in detail from these key drawing. There records 63 kinds of vase which don't include the different evolvement form of every style. For example, the vase in the shape of wooden club is divided into square, round, soft and hard ones and the plum vase include round shoulder ones, chopping shoulder ones, smooth shoulder ones and slipping shoulder ones. All kinds of the vessel shapes of "zhuo" ware made during the years of Kangxi make people felt dazing.
 Usually, the round wares mean the flat and short ware. It needs not too much changes unless the simple style including ring and the body of the vessel. The vessel kind mainly means some living articles for daily use including plate, bowl, handleless cup, saucer and so on.
 The biggest characteristic of the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi is its fine and skillful technique of body-making. Both the heavy "Zun" in the shape of the tail of phoenix whose body is more than one meter in height and the December decorated glass whose thin body is less than 5cms in size are extremely fine in workmanship. You cannot find any distortion phenomena in them. Even if the big ware can be threw one time by the wheel during the years of Kangxi. We can see the revolving trace of the body fleetly at the inner body of the mouth turned to outer part. It links up the shoulder part and the belly part. But you cannot find any trace because it looks smooth after joining. It shows that both the toughness of the clay and the technique of the throwing are much better than that of the Ming dynasty at that time. The foot of most of wares including "zun", flower goblet, bottle with slender neck carried by Guanyin and so on cave in a circle to the inn part at the outer part of base edge. It forms the shape of "two layer platform". The phenomenon is so popular that you can find it on both the ring foot of big wares and small vases which is only more than 10cms. It should be say that the way handling foot possess the special times characteristic at the years of Knagxi.
 The modeling of blue and white pencil vase made during the years of Kangxi is also very special such as vertical shape, thin waist shape which the mouth turn to the outer part slightly, bamboo section shape and so on. The biggest one is 32cms in height, 26.5cms in caliber and the smallest one is 12cms in height, 6cms in caliber. The number of vertical shape is the most. Usually, there is se ring on the glaze ground and cave in the base part. Most of them are about 18cms in height and about 20cms in caliber. It is glazed on both the inner part and the outer part of pencil vase. The se ring with 2cms in width is scratched a circle at the middle part of the pencil vase. The ring in the shape of qi caves in the center base. The blue and white regular script is inscribed in it such as "made during the years of chenghua in the Ming dynasty" and "wenzhangshandou" or the blue and white double ring, leaves and so on are painted on it. It is worthy to note that the basal part of all big pencil vase takes on the shape of art because it sunken into the inner part. The other parts will not be frayed because its touching spot converges in the edge of the base with the top of the desk. And the inscription will not be frayed because they cave in.
 "Zun" in the shape of the tail of phoenix:
 Its primary rudiment is from decorated pottery flower goblet at New Stone Age. The bronze goblet was very popular between the Shang and the Zhou dynasty. The porcelain flower goblet had already occurred down to the years of the Song dynasty. The mouth part of flower goblet made during the years of Kangxi takes on the shape of trumpet turning to the outer part. It has a wide and round belly and foot with turning to the outer part. It is called "Zun" in the shape of the tail of phoenix because the curve of the vase is very elegant just like the tail of phoenix. It is one of the most "zhuo" wares produced during the years of Kangxi. The bronze liner made by production department at the Qing dynasty is put in the vase. It is used as ikebana at room in winter. It is glazed at the base part of "zun". It has a ring foot in the shape of "double layer platforms". There isn't inscription in it or only blue and white double ring lines are painted in it. "Made during the years of Chenghua in the Ming dynasty" is inscribed in the ring foot of most "Zun" in the shape of the tail of phoenix. It is six Chinese characters written in horizontal regular script. There are only one or two pieces inscribed by "Made during the years of Kangxi in the Qing dynasty".
 "yitong" vase:
 It is also called "elephant-legshaped vase". It is developed into slipping shoulder, long belly and straight style from elephant-legshaped vase in the style of round shoulder in the Ming dynasty. It is as high as "Zun" in the shape of the tail of phoenix. The big one is usually more than 60cms and the small one is only 16cms in height. There is no glaze on the base part. It shows hard sandy ground. "qi" glaze and biscuit throwing pattern are often seen at the middle part of the base part.
 General canister:
 It is called general canister because the lid of the canister is like the helmet of the ancient sergeant. It has been produced at the Yuan dynasty. The shoulder is wider, the belly is longer and the ring foot is much frapped down to years of Kangxi. It looks both upright and grandness.
 Bottle with slender neck carried by Guanyin:
 It has a short neck, slipping shoulder, round belly which becoming narrow under the belly and the foot turning to outside slightly. It is called bottle with slender neck carried by Guanyin because it is like the standing statue of Guanyin. The big ones reach more than 80cms and the small ones is only about 10cms. Most of the ring feet are glazed. Blue and white double ring lines are painted and there is not inscription in it.
 "Benba" kettle:
 It is also called Tibetan-grass vase. It is made according to the style of gold "benba" vase which is a kind of musical instruments used in Buddhist passed by Tibet. It is made to order present specially by the Emperor Kangxi in order to award the religion leader in Tibet. It looks like tower. Both the mouth part and sidepiece have the exquisite lid with beaded border edges. There is a high base under the ball belly. There is no inscription in the base.
 "duomu"kettle :
 It is made according to the style of kettle filling tea with milk used by Mongolia nobility. It is also a present awarded by emperor to the Mongolia leader.
 In order to lasso the religious leader of minority, Emperor Kangxi ordered the Imperial factory to fire these two kinds of wares corresponding the local custom specially so as to reach his political intention stabling border area. The blue and white vessel shape creating and popular at that time also include "youlan" vase, vase in the shape of the handle of wimble, vase in the shape of wooden club, oblate vase in the shape of chufa, radish shaped "zun", "yaolingzun", lute "zun", cracker vase and so on.
 In short, the general modeling of the blue and white porcelain made at the period of Kangxi is upright, steer and powerful. Both "zhuo" ware and round ware are all regular, clear and neat. Neither of them are the same with smooth characteristic made during the years of Jiajing and Wanli in the Ming dynasty nor with the soft and numerous during the years f Yongzheng and Qianlong in the Qing dynasty. It possesses uphill and stouthearted times characteristics between them.
 Just like we cannot use corn when cooking, the quality of porcelain body depends on its porcelain-made material and temperature when firing completely. The body of official ware made during the years of Kangxi possesses the white, hard, fine characteristic. The test result shows that the white chroma of porcelain body made during the years of Kangxi reaches 73.50% by scientific devices. After observing hundreds of fracture plane of official ware made during the years of Kangxi, we find that they possess the same characteristic, that is, the surface of the porcelain body is very smooth, fine and glossy. It shows a kind of luster just like sticky rice juice. The warm luster cannot be seen after the years of Kangxi and in the Ming dynasty.
 The washing procedure to the clay is much complex during the years of Kangxi than in the Ming dynasty.
 To sum up, the blue and white porcelain body during the years of Kangxi is divided into four kinds: thick body blue and white, middle body blue and white, thin body blue and white and soft paste body blue and white.
 1. The thick body blue and white:
 It mainly includes large pieces of fish jar, big plate, big vase, big bowl and so on. The thickest one can reach 1.5cms.
 2. Middle body blue and white:
 Most "zhuo" wares and round wares chose the appropriate porcelain body belonging to this kind. Usually, it is about 0.5cms.
 3. Thin body blue and white:
 It include half bodiless. It is only used in small wares including small cup, small bowl and so on. The thinnest one, extremely thin and transparent, is only 0.1cm.
 4. Soft paste body blue and white:
 It, made of fine plasm mud, is also called "wei porcelain". The thin and soft body, suffused with pale yellow, full of close cracked design. There are snuff bottle, inkpad box and other products.
 The glazed material used by Jigndezhen during the years of Kangxi is from Fuliangsiqian xiang. It, surrounded with lime rock, is 15kilometers away from Jingdezhen city area. The glaze is made of limestone, quartz, sericite and chai firewood ash. Usually, the glazed material for top-class porcelain includes much glaze fruit and less glaze ash. Or a basin of glaze ash plasm is confected by 15 basins of glaze fruit.
 Usually, the color of glaze of the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi three kinds, as follows:
 1. The "qingbai" glaze at the early period:
 The glazed juice, suffused with blue in white, is not only thick but also transparent. It is suffused with bluish white because the composition of the glazed ash occupies a large proportion.
 2. The pure white glaze at the middle and late period
 It is also called white glaze. The color of the glaze, possesses powerful luster, is white, smooth and semitransparent.
 3. Hard and light celadon glaze:
 The color of the glaze is suffused with light green in blue slightly. We call it hard and light celadon glaze in order to distinguish light celadon glaze in the Ming dynasty. Its color of glaze is much thinner and lighter than that of in the Ming dynasty. It has been used many times in the late period. The cover coat of the blue and white porcelain made at the period of Kangxi has a conspicuous characteristic, that is, it has a close conjunction between body and glaze. The dynasty which has a closest conjunction between body and glaze on the history of Chinese porcelain history is during the years of Kangxi. It should be said that the typical characteristic of cover coat is transparent, thin, bright, and tight.
 III. The material and stage of the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi.
 Usually, people thought that "zhuming" material from Yunnan and part Zhejiang material from Zhejiang are used in the official ware during the years of Kangxi. Cobalt and blue pigment is also produced in Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and other places. But they are not chosen by official kiln because most of them are not only murky gray in color but also contains much impurity. Therefore, it is usually used to produce porcelain used for the folk. According to Tao Ye Tu Shuo written by Tang Ying, a famous ceramist in the Qing dynasty, records that the blue and white mazaring blue glazed porcelain is made of cobalt and blue pigment. The material is from mountains in Shaoxing and Jinhua in Zhejiang Province.
 Because of its clear, the coloring pigment of the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi has a reputation of underglaze blue with five colors. Unless the factor of using the superior cobalt and blue pigment, its original characteristics still include the uses of fenshui technique successfully. The technique is from the theory of "the Chinese ink includes five colors" in the traditionally Chinese washing painting. The Cobalt and blue pigment is divided into many kinds of different shades of color tune including the strongest, stronger and so on. It will be confected according to the different needs.
 Stages: the period ruled by Kangxi reaches 61 years. Hundreds and thousands of blue and white porcelain was produced during the years. At present, we also have collected thousands of porcelain possessing official level. Hereon, according to some wares possessing exact title of an emperor's reign in the Imperial Palace, we summarize a general rule belonging to the early period, middle period and the late period respectively.
 The Early period usually means the period before the nineteenth years of Kangxi. Basically, the blue and white porcelain made at the early period inherit the relics in the Ming dynasty. It would be very difficult to distinguish it with the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Shunzhi if it did not inscribe the title of the emperor's rule. There is a piece of blue and white cloud and dragon design incense burner with three feet with the title of the first year of Kangxi's reign in the collections. It has a round shoulder, wide belly and no glaze at the sandy ground. There is another blue and white cloud and dragon design incense burner made at the sixth years of Kangxi. "Made during the years of Dingmo at the period of Kangxi" is inscribed on the burner. As to the underglaze blue the Eight Immortals in the legend figure incense burner made at the sixteenth years of Kangxi, the inscription has already turned into the cover coat of the bottom of the incense burner from the body of the ware. All of these incense burner are ritual wares firing at Jingdezhen specially. There are still other incense burners which hasn't inscription. The general characteristic they have is that the form is simple, the modeling is stocky and the body is fairly heavy. The ground glaze takes on blue. The luster of the blue and white is gloom. The style of drawing of the design lacks of sense of layer because it still maintains the way of single line flat painting used in the late period of the Ming period. The small and fine of grain of sand can be often seen at the place of exposed body on the bottom of incense burner. It is also suffused with fire stone red. Most of them are with Jiang mouth.
 The modeling of the blue and white porcelain made at the early period of Kangxi was rather monotone because the production ability of the Imperial factory didn't resume completely. Therefore, its body is rather heavy and the cover coat is not clean enough because there are small black spots on them. Most of them have Jing mouth and the handling of the foot is rather coarse. It, suffused with fire stone red, has small sand grain. The trace of jump knife can often be seen in the ring foot. The luster of the blue and white isn't floridity and the painting lacks of the sense of layer.
 The middle period means the period between the nineteenth years and the fortith years of Kangxi. It is also the flouring period of the blue and white during the years of kangxi. The Imperial factory had great changes. It is mainly because the court sent off official to supervise the official kiln in person. The firing of blue and white porcelain in the middle period includes many kinds. For example, there are 30 kinds of bowls at that time. The luster of the blue and white takes on floridity because it adopts "zhuming" material from Yunnang and Zhejiang material from zhejiang. The cover coat, suffused with blue, with black spot also become purge and white. The fire stone red shows at the exposed body disappear gradually. The ring foot takes on round and smooth. Foot also takes on clean and bright after trimming carefully.
 The pencil vase made at the middle period has turned into fat pencil vase which has the same width with bottom from pencil vase which has a falling mouth and thin waist in size at the early period. It is mainly divided into two kinds: the ones with "yubi" foot and glazed foot.
 Most of the bottom of the pencil vase caves in gradually. The upper part of the body is thin and the lower part of the body is thick. The ink of the blue and white is divided into five kinds of colors. Most of the handwriting painted on the pencil vase can shows the charming of famous people. The mountain, water, and figures are more like the painting painted by literator.
 The blue and white porcelain made during the middle period of Kangxi shows the highest making level during the years of Kangxi. They possess white ground glaze, fine and hard body clay and rather heavy handle. The cover coat divides two kinds: pink white and bluish white. The luster of the blue and white is sterling. It takes on bright blue and has on impurity. The wares with Jiang mouth have not occurred. The modeling and the varieties increase greatly. The bottom of plates and bowls become thinner. Underglazed "xuanpi" design can be seen dimly. The quality of formal official ware with the title of the emperor's reign increases. After nineteen years, the Imperial factory sends the imperial ware to Beijing according to quota in both spring and autumn respectively. The most splendid period the Imperial factory possessed is in the middle period of Kangxi.
 The late period means the period between the fortieth years to the sixties years of kangxi. The manufacturing of the blue and white has become more and more improved and standardized. The same goblet, vase, canister, plate and bowl in size increase. The official ware with the inscription "made during years of Knagxi in the Qing dynasty" inscribed in the ring foot increase much. But the wares with the exact title of the emperor 's reign are less.
 The body of the blue and whiter at the late period is light, thin and hard. The cover coat is clear. The luster of the blue and white is quite. It began to transit to the blue and white during the years of Yongzheng gradually.
 To sum up, the blue and white porcelain made during the years of Kangxi collected by the Imperial palace shows the highest level in the Qing dynasty. It has both large quantities and varieties. The official kiln and the folk kiln effects mutually at the same developments at that time. It composes a new canto in the history of blue and white porcelain.