Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 32, Tuesday March 21, 2006














Porcelain Timelines

A room should never be just a place to pass through. Use accessories to lend character to your space and offer a reason to stop and linger. The secret to accessorizing lies in finding interesting and surprising ways to bring things together and to have fun doing it. So now that we agree that accessories are important, this week, we'll focus on blue and white Chinese pottery.

Today, as it always was, porcelain is the epitome of luxury. The term porcelain is derived from porcelain, the Portuguese word for the cowries and translucency of which it so closely resembles.

Porcelain was first invented by the Chinese probably in the Tang dynasty (618 AD 906 AD), but it was not until the Yuan dynasty (1280 AD B 68 AI) that the porcelain that was to become popular in the West was developed.

Today porcelain lovers may be divided into two distinct groups: those collect it as works of art, and those for whom it is primarily for utilitarian purposes as tableware.

Hand-made pottery of the type that can be found today, which is hard fired and burnished, has been found dating back to as early as 6500BC. Wheel-made and decorated pottery, on the other had, goes back to about 3000 BC. Initially pottery was painted (or glazed with advancements) to make it waterproof and safe to store liquids. However, glazing solely for decorative purpose soon follows.

Chinese blue and white pottery: The Yuan dynasty saw many innovations come into the traditional Chinese pottery designs largely due to the Mongol invasion. Shapes changed and so did the usage of color. Pottery painted in two or three colors and decorations carved on the object were some significant changes seen during this period.

Another major innovation in pottery was the use of cobalt blue as the main decoration color. The color was said to have been probably imported and soon this new blue and white pottery become quite the rage. The coarser varieties made in southern China were used for trade.

Blue and white pottery continued to flourish in China. The workmanship improved, with the shapes becoming batter balanced and the glazes becoming even more perfect and brilliant in hue.

Ironically, the best of Chinese pottery is not in China. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "Today two of the most important collections of Yuan and Ming blue and white are in Tehran (formerly the collection of Sheikh Safi at Ardebil). Even in our country people love this pottery for decoration purposes.

Accessories are expressions of your spirit. They are touchstones for memory the items that make a room come alive. Chinese pottery is extremely popular here. You can use these pieces easily on your coffee table, side cabinet top or in the bookshelves and even in the dining table. The lovely blue and white porcelain can add to the old-fashioned country glamour of the decor.

By Nazneen Haque Mimi
Interior Consultant,
E-mail: journeym@citechco.net
Photos: Journeyman Archive



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