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Title: Chats on Oriental China
Author: Blacker, J. F.
Language: English
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  CHATS ON
  ORIENTAL CHINA



  BOOKS FOR COLLECTORS

  _With Coloured Frontispieces and many Illustrations._
  _Large Crown 8vo_, =5s.= _net._

  CHATS ON OLD CHINA.
    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

  CHATS ON OLD FURNITURE.
    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

  CHATS ON OLD PRINTS.
    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

  CHATS ON COSTUME.
    By G. WOOLLISCROFT RHEAD.

  CHATS ON OLD LACE AND NEEDLEWORK.
    By Mrs. LOWES.

  CHATS ON ORIENTAL CHINA.
    By J. F. BLACKER.

  CHATS ON MINIATURES.
    By J. J. FOSTER.


LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN

[Illustration: DESCRIPTION OF VASE.

High-necked vase with melon-shaped body and double protuberance above.
One of a pair. Formal handles on the neck in imitation of bamboo-work.
The body and protuberances decorated with bamboo stems having yellow
and green reserves decorated with flowers and plants. The neck
decorated with diaper pattern, yellow on green. The flattened top
ornamented with black and green triangle-work.  Period, (Kang-he)
1662-1722.]



  CHATS ON
  ORIENTAL CHINA

  BY
  J. F. BLACKER

  AUTHOR OF THE "A B C OF COLLECTING OLD CHINA," ETC.

  ILLUSTRATED

  LONDON
  T. FISHER UNWIN
  ADELPHI TERRACE
  MCMVIII


(_All rights reserved_)



PREFACE


If there is one regret that accompanies the issue of these "Chats on
Oriental China" it is that the illustrations could not be given in all
the beauty of their magnificent colouring. In a photograph, however
fine it may be, it is obvious that only the shape and the decoration
can be given. Roughly speaking, the illustrations represent in its Ming
and Kang-he specimens about £100,000 in value. The pieces represented
are the most admirable and the rarest. The reader is advised to bestow
much attention on the reading of the descriptions accompanying each
picture. There is no form of instruction more valuable than this
analysis, which forms the basis of the sale catalogues of the most
_recherché_ collections.

The collector who masters this book may betake himself to the
museums with considerable confidence that he will be in a position
to understand; in fact, to read the pieces which he wishes to study.
Take for example, the unique Salting Collection at the Victoria and
Albert Museum, South Kensington. To the ordinary visitor interested
in porcelain the specimens present an exquisite, if embarrassing,
assembly of choice pieces whose colour, decoration, and age cannot be
grasped, they can only be admired. The eye may be trained, but the
understanding never. The absence of a catalogue handicaps and indeed
baffles the amateur. But if the knowledge previously obtained is
sufficient to enable him to master the subject, the style, form, and
colour, nothing can give more pleasure than the investigation of such a
collection which has been brought together at a vast expense of time,
money, and knowledge. In the British Museum the descriptive labels are
helpful.

In this book the reader will find some statements repeated perhaps
over and over again. When we chat about anything we do repeat the
points on which we want information, or in which we may be specially
interested. The information is concise, so that, section by section,
the range of Oriental porcelain will pass before the student, the chief
consideration which regulates the letterpress being the space at our
disposal.

Naturally the labour bestowed on repression is considerable. When we
consider the National Collections of England, France, and Germany
alone we find material for many volumes. Perhaps of all the museums
that of Limoges, where the Jacquemart and Gasnault collections are so
well cared for, is one of the most instructive, and the lover of old
Oriental could not do better than spend a holiday at this delightful
old French town with the object of really learning what these two
friends teach.

With regard to books of reference, all of the recognised authorities
have been studied, especially the Jacquemart and Gasnault catalogues
and descriptions, and the _Petit Guide Illustre au Musée Guimet_. The
visitor to Paris should make a point of visiting this museum, so little
known, so intensely interesting, at the junction of the Rue Boissière
and the Avenue d'Iena. Its aim is to propagate a knowledge of the
civilisation of the East, to facilitate the study of ancient historical
religions largely by means of images, statuettes, or figures. There we
see classified methodically, in chronological order, representations
of the various divinities in which form and attitude both have a
meaning. The specimens are old and rare. The catalogue of the Franks
Collection is referred to in the various chapters. Formerly exhibited
at the Bethnal Green Museum, the collection is now distributed in the
British Museum, where the pieces may be recognised as having a printed
description. The two volumes by the late W. G. Gulland are delightful
and very helpful, and it was the privilege of the writer to have spent
some hours in his company shortly before his lamented decease.

I owe sincere thanks to Mr. Edgar Gorer, of S. Gorer and Son, Bond
Street, for his constant courtesy and his kindness in supplying most
of the fine illustrations in the book, and for securing permission
from other collectors to use their photographs. And more than this,
his practical knowledge has been put at my disposal in every way, and
specially in reading the proofs. To Messrs. Duveen Brothers, of Bond
Street, I am indebted for specimens specially noted. To other friends
who have helped recognition is due, especially to Mr. C. H. McQueen,
whose knowledge of Chinese porcelain has been altogether at my disposal.

The marks are those given in the Franks catalogue, in Mr. Gulland's
books, and in the Guimet Museum guide. The vastness of the subject
here shortly treated may bring many collectors into touch with one
another, and the author hopes that they will avail themselves of the
opportunity of using him as the medium for this intercommunication.

Finally, with regard to the illustrations and the lessons they teach,
the reader will note that vases have been selected wherever this has
been possible. Generally speaking the vase, being an ornamental and
purely decorative object, has received from the Chinese potter that
artistic--one is almost tempted to say that reverential--treatment
which embodies all that is best in his ceramic art. For the rest, it
may be that the mythological aspects of the Oriental decoration, its
divinities and their attributes, have received unusual attention. The
Buddhist faith, here feebly exposed, embodies the highest truths, and
Taoism, the more popular religion, cannot be neglected by any student
of Oriental porcelain. The Japanese section is not illustrated.
Japanese collectors are keen in collecting old Chinese specimens.



CONTENTS


                                                 PAGE

     PREFACE                                         5


                     SECTION I

                 CHINESE PORCELAIN

     CHAPTER

       I.   INTRODUCTORY                              21

      II.   HARD PASTE                                29

     III.   RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY                    35

      IV.   A SKETCH SHOWING PORCELAIN CLASSED
             ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF THE
             DISCOVERY OF THE COLOURS AND GLAZES      43

       V.   THE FOUR CHIEF FABULOUS ANIMALS AND
             TWO GODDESSES                            51

      VI.   A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY HISTORY
             OF PORCELAIN                             89

     VII.   THE MING DYNASTY AND ITS PRODUCTS         95

    VIII.   THE TSING DYNASTY, KANG-HE PERIOD        103

      IX.   THE YUNG-CHING PERIOD                    109

       X.   THE KEEN-LUNG PERIOD                     119

      XI.   MANDARIN PORCELAIN, YUNG-CHING PERIOD
             AND LATER                               131

     XII.   KEA-KING, TAOU-KWANG, AND THE LATER
             EMPERORS                                139

    XIII.   CHINESE WHITE PORCELAIN                  147

     XIV.   SINGLE OR SELF-COLOUR GLAZES             153

      XV.   CHINESE CRACKLE                          175

     XVI.   BLUE AND OTHER COLOURS UNDER THE GLAZE   181

    XVII.   CLOBBER WARE OR REDECORATED PORCELAIN    201

   XVIII.   RETICULATED PORCELAIN                    203

     XIX.   DECORATED WITH COLOURED ENAMELS          211

              A.  THE BLACK FAMILY--"FAMILLE NOIRE"
              B.  THE GREEN FAMILY--"FAMILLE VERTE"
              C.  POWDERED AND MAZARINE BLUE WITH
                    ENAMEL COLOURS
              D.  THE GREEN AND YELLOW FAMILY--"FAMILLE
                    JAUNE"
              E.  CORAL RED GROUND--"ROUGE DE FER"
              F.  THE ROSE FAMILY--"FAMILLE ROSE"
              G.  OTHER ENAMEL COLOURS

      XX.   PORCELAIN OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY      285

     XXI.   IMITATIONS OF ORIENTAL PORCELAIN         291

    XXII.   SYMBOLICAL DESIGNS                       297

              A.  EMBLEMS IN ANIMALS
              B.  EMBLEMS IN TREES
              C.  EMBLEMS IN FLOWERS

   XXIII.   DATE MARKS ON ORIENTAL PORCELAIN         307

    XXIV.   SYMBOLICAL MARKS AND ORNAMENTS           323

     XXV.   THE IMMORTALS OR CHENS                   337

    XXVI.   THE DRESDEN COLLECTION                   345


                     SECTION II

           JAPANESE PORCELAIN AND POTTERY

     CHAPTER                                    PAGE

   XXVII.   JAPANESE PORCELAIN AND POTTERY           349

              IMARI, ARITA, OR HIZEN
              HIRADO
              NABESHIMA

  XXVIII.   SATSUMA                                  357

              KYOTO
              AWATA
              MARKS, FIRST SET

    XXIX.   BIZEN OR IMBE                            367

              KUTANI
              KENZAN WARE
              YEIRAKU WARE

     XXX.   KISHU                                    375

              BANKO
              SOMA
              SANDA
              SHEBA
              VARIOUS
              MARKS, SECOND SET


                     SECTION III

    XXXI.  SALE PRICES                               385

           INDEX                                     403



ILLUSTRATIONS


  VASE, IN PROPER COLOURS, KANG-HE             _Frontispiece_

                                                         PAGE

  PAÔ-YUEH-KOUANG AND TIEN-KONG                            40

  THE DRAGON                                               54

  THE TRUE KYLIN                                           55

  THE COREAN LION                                          56

  THE HO-HO OR PHŒNIX                                     57

  KWAN-YIN, MING                                           60

  ANOTHER KWAN-YIN, MING                                   63

  KWAN-YIN, WITH ATTENDANTS                                64

  SI-WANG-MU                                               67

  _OD_-D_PAG-MED_ AMITÂBHA OR AMIDA                        68

  WAN CHONG, THE GOD OF THE LEARNED                        71

  KUAN-TI, THE GOD OF WAR                                  72

  WEN-TCHANG, THE GOD OF WISDOM                            75

  PIU-HWO, TAOIST GOD                                      76

  HAN SEANG-TSE (2) AND CHANG KO-LAOU                      79

  BUDDHIST DIVINITIES (2) AND HAN CHUNG-LE                 80

  THE TAOIST IMMORTALS (8)                                 83

  THE DOG OF BUDDHA OR COREAN LION                         84

  EMBLEMS IN BIRDS, PHEASANTS                              87

  WHITE PORCELAIN, KWAN-YIN                               151

  "SANG DE BŒUF," SELF-COLOUR                            157

  "CLAIRE DE LUNE" CRACKLE, SELF-COLOUR                   163

  TIGER SPOTTED OR SPLASHED GLAZE                         167

  PEACH BLOW, WITH WHITE AND CELADON                      171

  CRACKLE VASES, &C., MOUNTED IN ORMOLU                   178

  BLUE AND WHITE BEAKERS; DISHES AND COVERS               186

  BLUE AND WHITE VASE; WATER EWER AND COVER               189

  BLUE AND WHITE VASES, WITH LANGE-LYSEN                  190

  BLUE AND WHITE GINGER JAR, OR OVIFORM VASE              193

  BLUE AND RED UNDER-GLAZE, CONICAL VASE                  194

  RED UNDER-GLAZE, ENAMELS OVER-GLAZE, CYLINDRICAL VASE   197

  RETICULATED INCENSE BURNER                              207

  RETICULATED VASE                                        208

  BLACK FAMILY, "FAMILLE NOIRE," TEAPOTS                  218

  BLACK FAMILY,     "      " BOWL                                  221

  BLACK FAMILY,     "      " VASES, TAPERING SQUARE                222

  BLACK FAMILY,     "      " VASES, PEAR-SHAPED                    225

  BLACK FAMILY,     "      " VASES, TWO                            226

  GREEN FAMILY, "FAMILLE VERTE," VASE, OVIFORM            230

  GREEN FAMILY,     "      " LANTERN, EGG-SHELL                    233

  GREEN FAMILY,     "      " VASES (3), SQUARE-SHAPED              234

  GREEN FAMILY,     "      " VASE, BEAKER-SHAPED                   237

  GREEN FAMILY,     "      " HEXAGONAL, ARROW-STAND                238

  GREEN FAMILY,     "      " VASE, GOURD-SHAPED                    241

  POWDERED-BLUE, WITH "FAMILLE VERTE," AND BLUE           246
    DECORATION
  POWDERED-BLUE, WITH "FAMILLE VERTE," DECORATION, PLATES 249

  MAZARINE-BLUE, WITH "FAMILLE ROSE," DECORATION, VASES   250

  GREEN AND YELLOW FAMILY, "FAMILLE JAUNE," VASE,         254
    SQUARE-SHAPED

  GREEN AND YELLOW FAMILY, "FAMILLE JAUNE," JARDINIÈRE    257

  CORAL RED, "ROUGE DE FER," VASE, CYLINDRICAL            261

  CORAL RED,    "     "      VASE, CYLINDRICAL            262

  ROSE FAMILY, "FAMILLE ROSE," RUBY-BACK PLATES, &C.      266

  EGG-SHELL, "ROSE" "VERTE," VASE                         269

  APPLE-GREEN GROUND, MING BISCUIT, TEAPOTS               273

  APPLE-GREEN GROUND, LANG-YAO, VASES                     274

  DELICATE GREEN GROUND, VASE, GOURD-SHAPED               277

  DELICATE GREEN GROUND, VASES, KEA-KING                  278

  AUBERGINE GROUND, VASES, FLAT-SHAPED                    281

  MANDARIN CHINA, VASES, CONICAL, EGG-SHELL               282

  THE IMMORTALS: HAN CHUNG-LE; LEU TUNG-PIN               340

  LE TEE-KWAE; TSAOU KWO-KIU                              341

  LAN TSAE-HO; CHANG KO-LAOU                              342

  HAN SEANG-TSZE; HO SEEN-KOO                             343

  FIVE CLAWS; HO-HO BIRD                                  354

  DOG OF FÔ; THE KYLIN                                    355



BIBLIOGRAPHY AND GLOSSARY


BIBLIOGRAPHY

The chief books referred to in this volume are:--

FRANKS, Sir A. W. Bethnal Green Collection. Catalogue of
Original Pottery and Porcelain.

GULLAND, W. G. Chinese Porcelain. 2 vols. With Illustrations.

The small Guide to the Musée Guimet. Paris.


GLOSSARY

=Base.= The solid support or bottom of any vessel either simple or
ornamentally shaped.

=Beaker.= The Chinese beaker is a trumpet-shaped vase, having neither
handle nor spout nor beak.

=Biscuit.= Porcelain unglazed, having no gloss.

=Body.= The part of a vase which corresponds with the body in the
human figure. The shape may be simple, or two or more forms
combined.

=Bottle.= A vase with spheroidal body, long neck and narrow mouth.
The gourd-shaped Oriental bottle may be double, having three bodies
diminishing from the bottom upwards.

=Burnt-in.= A term used to distinguish the painted from the enamelled
porcelain, the first being burnt in with the glaze, the second having
the colours laid over the glaze.

=Celadon.= The soft green colour upon pieces of old Oriental. See
further in the section dealing with colours mixed with the glaze and
burnt in at the first firing. European glaze is nearly always
transparent and colourless.

=China= or Porcelain Paste is translucid, in pottery it is opaque.

=Colours.= Five colours:--green, yellow, aubergine, blue, and red.
Three colours:--green, a curious shade; yellow, varying from pale to
bright; aubergine, also varying in tone.

=Egg-shell China= first appeared in the Yung-lo period, and later it
was as thin as bamboo paper. Under the Lung-king and Wan-leih emperors
pure white porcelain of this kind was called "egg-shell." In many
pieces the paste is so thin as to appear to be only two layers of
glaze.

=Enamel.= Mixed with a glassy composition were certain transparent
or opaque colours which were used in over the glaze decoration. In
pottery they are used in the glaze.

=Fen-ting.= Soft paste, or more correctly, soft glaze porcelain.

=Figures,= Figurines, Magots, Statuettes, are single, grouped, or
attached as ornaments to a piece; such as the eight immortals, etc.

=Forms.= These are diversified. Cylindrical, globular or spheroidal,
egg-shaped or ovoid; apple-shaped or pomiform, pear-shaped or
pyriform; cubical, hexagonal, etc.

=Glaze.= The composition used for coating porcelain or pottery.
It literally means covering with glass or any vitrifiable substance
having similar properties.

=Grand Feu.= The kiln at its greatest heat in which the clays were
acted upon so as to produce porcelain or pottery. The decoration
was often fixed in the "petit feu," or muffle kiln. The hard firing,
when less than the maximum heat was required, was done in the
"demi-grand feu."

=Graviata.= This name is given to patterns traced or cut on the
porcelain or on the enamel.

="Hundred Antiques."= A form of decoration, consisting of utensils,
symbols, vases, &c., called "_po-ku_."

=Kaolin.= Porcelain or china clay, derived from the decomposition
of granite rocks.

=Kiln.= "Grand feu" first baking, temperature about 4717° Fahrenheit.
"Demi-grand feu" for fixing colours which could bear intense heat
which were applied before glazing. More delicate enamel colours were
applied for firing in the "petit feu" or muffle kiln.

=Mandarin.= A term applied to Chinese porcelain decorated with a
certain class of figure subjects.

=Mice China= has ornament, in high relief, of the branches, leaves,
and fruit of the vine, with squirrels or foxes, so-called mice, also
in relief. It is Mandarin eighteenth century as a rule.

=Moulds.= These are used for figures and for the various ornaments
which are fixed upon the piece.

=Naga.= This word translated means Dragon, which is dealt with under
that name.

=Neck.= In the bottle, flagon, and flask, the neck is of different
length and form. The throat may be narrow or wide, inclining inwards
or outwards, or even perpendicular.

=Ornaments.= These are very varied. They may be in relief,
reticulated, impressed, engraved in the paste; or they may be
arabesque, grotesque; or they may be lines in angles, lozenges,
zigzags, ribbons, and paintings of every kind.

=Paste.= The body of which porcelain or pottery vessels is made.
Hard paste cannot be scratched or filed and resists the action of
great heat. Soft paste is easily scratched and is melted by intense
heat.

=Pekin Ware= is graviata of the Taou-kwang period. It was never made
in Pekin, but the name is still used.

=Petuntze.= Pulverised "china rock" forming a white paste (pe-tun)
made into bricks (petuntze). It melts in the heat of a porcelain
furnace into a milky glass.

=Pin-points= are tiny holes found on the bottom of early Chinese
porcelain.

=Porcelain.= A compound of kaolin and petuntze. The kaolin is
not fusible, the petuntze vitrifies and envelopes the kaolin,
producing a smooth compact body which is translucent.

=Pottery.= This is formed of a mixture of clays. Ordinary
potter's-clay is used for common earthenware, and a _blue clay_,
of a greyish colour, is much used in making flint-ware.

=Saucer.= The old Chinese form of the plate is always saucer-shaped.
The flattening of the rim produced the dish and plate. Raising the
sides gave the bowl, basin, and cup. By adding a handle we have the
tea-cup.

=Seggar.= This is the protective vessel or case in which the pieces
of porcelain or pottery are burnt in the kiln.

=Slip.= The liquid clay which is applied to the piece, under or over
the glaze, either by pouring or painting.

=Stoneware.= Hard pottery which forms the link between porcelain
and earthenware. In Chinese products stoneware is used with
self-colours applied in the glaze.

=Vases.= All vessels used for drinking cups and goblets, for
ointments or perfumes, for holding, carrying, or pouring wine, oil,
or water; and similar or varied forms used solely for ornament.

=Willow Pattern.= A popular decoration of Nankin blue services.
There are several varieties, but all have the weeping willow.

=Yao-pien.= The Chinese name for splashed, "shot" silk, or variegated
glazes.



I

_SECTION I_

INTRODUCTORY



CHATS ON ORIENTAL CHINA



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY


This book does not pretend to do more than to indicate to the collector
the lines on which collections could or should be made, for "Chats on
old Oriental China" scarcely imply a scientific treatise. Incidentally
one point will lead on to another, but with always this object in
view, to send the collector to the museums to train his eye as well
as his understanding and to bring him in touch with all that makes
for beauty in Oriental porcelain, a porcelain teaming with mythology,
having decorations saturated with that mythology, full of emblems of
all that concerns the best and highest life of the Chinese, pointing,
we may say, to a religion which, although feebly understood in Europe,
has been for centuries a real moving factor in the national life
of the Oriental peoples. Hence, when we find the earliest European
copies framed on Chinese mythology, and birds and flowers and beasts
all unknown to the Occidental mind figuring upon vases at Dresden,
at Chelsea, or at Sèvres we are struck with the incongruity of the
association. All European factories, at the first, strove to imitate
that porcelain which had been in existence in China long before history
in Europe had begun its accurate chronology.

There are collectors of the European productions who revel in the
delights of fine Dresden groups, of marvellous Chelsea or Worcester
vases, of Bristol figures and the other magnificent productions of the
European factories in earthenware and porcelain, but we may safely
say that the collector who takes up the study of Oriental porcelain
relegates all these European productions into oblivion, and has only
one desire, to secure the best possible specimens from the land of far
Cathay.

The collection of Oriental porcelain is not easy, especially with
regard to the finer productions. The old figures, vases and dishes
made hundreds of years ago, decorated with taste and skill beyond all
comparison, these can be purchased only by the few. But there are many
genuine old pieces still unrecognised, but valuable, each telling its
own story, and that story one that can be learnt. We said that there
were dangers to the collector, and this is true; for centuries the
Chinese and Japanese have reproduced with minute accuracy the early
productions--the Ming and the Kang-he--and the European factories
have, in these later times, poured out upon the market many marvellous
forgeries which would deceive, possibly, the very expert. The German
imitations are passable, but those produced in France, especially in
Paris, are so excellent that it would be well for buyers to judge
of them, by daylight only--in fact, in buying any fine porcelain
this rule should be adhered to. Remember this, there is no forgery
existing which would deceive an expert worthy of the name, as there
is, without exception, always a failure in some point, either in the
colouring, glazing, paste, or drawing, which betrays the copy to a
thorough student of Chinese porcelain. The best imitations are those
made in Hungary about forty to fifty years ago; the German copies by
comparison are very inferior and weak. Never buy by artificial light,
for "colours seen by candle-light do not look the same by day." Marks
on porcelain should always be ignored, except when the piece bearing
the said mark is beyond doubt; it is an added interest to have a mark
of the proper period. Not alone are patterns forged, but marks are
forged; hence when pattern and mark both agree with the old example,
something more is required than a mere superficial knowledge of pattern
and mark--that is, the paste or body has to be known, and more, the eye
has to be trained so as to distinguish the special character of the
piece--in fact, it is the _tout ensemble_ which to the finest judges
is the surest guide. They cannot tell why they know, but by a look
they do know. It may be that the atmospheric influences extending over
long years has softened and modified the colours and taken from them
their boldness, so that when paste and glaze and colour all please the
trained eye the purchase may be made in safety. And here we should
advise our readers rather to buy from a respectable dealer than at
auction sales. In the excitement of auction sales higher prices may
be paid than would be prudent, or, indeed, it may be that the quality
of the specimen bid for is not exactly that which the buyer requires,
and the difficulty of changing it is accentuated when the purchaser
buys at an auction. In fact, to a beginner with money to spend, no
advice can be better than that he should put himself in the hands of a
respectable dealer, informing him of his wants, telling him the price
he is prepared to pay, and leaving him to deal squarely and fairly. Not
only is there danger of the marks being forged and the pattern copied,
but really old pieces of Oriental porcelain are often redecorated, so
that upon an old piece is found the most elaborate decoration. This to
the collector is most puzzling. He sees the porcelain is rare, and,
as we have said, really old, and that the pattern and colour of the
decoration is what he has been accustomed to either at Exhibitions,
such as those in the National Museums, or in illustrations as given in
the best books, yet the specimen is not right and it can be tested.
The enamel decoration on a re-decorated piece produces a different
effect from that upon an old piece. In the latter the enamel colours
do not stand out like modern oil painting, but they lie flat and agree
in general character and tone with the porcelain itself. Sometimes, in
these re-decorated pieces, traces of the old decorations, covered up
under the modern enamel decorations, may be found.

Amongst other hints to the collector of old Oriental porcelain must be
one with regard to cracked and mended porcelain. By this we mean not
alone those pieces which are built up as far as some particular part
is concerned, and which can be tested by striking the various parts
with a coin, when the difference between the ring of the original
part and the dull sound from the composition used in mending may be
easily detected. Further, the sense of smell may be brought into play.
Generally, the composition used in mending old porcelain in this way
smells of oil or turpentine. The third test may be applied by means of
a magnifying-glass which will at once reveal the difference between
the smooth original glaze and the varnish glaze added to cover the
mend. But this is not all. Some mending is done at the factories,
where a piece of porcelain of the same tone and colour, with the same
decoration, is built and fixed on to the sound piece in such a way as
to leave no trace that can be detected by sound, sight, or smell. In
this case it really matters very little, as the character of the old
porcelain is so well preserved that the piece may be regarded as being
perfect. A very simple test for detecting a repair in porcelain is to
pass the point of a pin, not too heavily, over the suspected part, when
if the original has been at all interfered with, scratches and marks of
the pin will be easily seen.



  II

  HARD
  PASTE



CHAPTER II

HARD PASTE


Nearly the whole of Oriental porcelain is hard paste. By this we
mean it cannot be cut with a file. Both paste and glaze are hard,
and although some people speak of soft-paste Oriental porcelain our
observation teaches us that it is so rare that it may be neglected by
the ordinary collector, who, if he should accidentally find a piece,
will remember that this soft paste is of a very white colour with
an opaque look, and for painting under the glaze seemed to have the
disadvantage that the colours were more liable to run than on the
ordinary description, which is just like what has been found on early
English soft-paste porcelain, where the colours are liable to run upon
the paste. In the Chinese soft paste better effect was produced by the
hatching and stippling style of decoration which was adopted in later
times and superseded the broad washes adopted in the Kang-he period.

Porcelain in China was usually formed of two materials, of which
one--Pe-tun-tze--resembles our China stone. It is a white fusible
material, a mixture of felspar and quartz, obtained from pounded rock
and formed into cakes or bricks, hence its Chinese name.

The other material is named Kaolin, or China clay. It is infusible, and
is derived from the decomposed felspar of granite. This is also formed
into cakes. When these two materials, China rock and China clay, have
been thoroughly ground, cleansed, sifted and refined into an impalpable
powder, they are kneaded together in varying proportions to form a clay
ready for the potter. The wet clay is turned on the potter's wheel or
table, then is passed through the hands of various workmen who add
handles and other decorations made in moulds, who smooth the surface
and so work upon it that the next process--the drying process--is
preparatory to the under-glaze decoration. In this semi-soft state the
foot remains a solid mass. Any decorations in blue or red or other
colours which can be applied under the glaze are then used for painting
the under-glaze decoration. The glaze is next applied in various ways
by dipping, by blowing on with a tube, by sprinkling, and so on. When
these processes have been completed it only remains for the potter to
fashion the foot upon the wheel and to inscribe any mark which may be
adopted. These being then coated with glaze, the piece is ready for the
furnace.

Porcelain placed in the kiln to be fired has to be protected in strong
clay vessels called seggars, which admit the heat but protect it from
injury. Every piece is placed in the kiln according to the temperature
which is necessary for its complete firing. Some pieces would be placed
at the top of the kiln, other pieces at the tip-top of the kiln, very
much in accordance with the practice in our English potteries at the
present time. The furnace when full is entirely bricked up and the
whole contents of the kiln are kept at a great heat, usually for a
night and a day, after which the kiln is allowed to cool off, and in
due time the porcelain is removed. In speaking of white porcelain,
or porcelain decorated under the glaze, the process is now complete,
but if enamel colours are used further burnings in a kiln take place.
After the enamel decoration has been applied over the glaze--and the
painters who use the enamel colours may take long weeks or months in
decorating a single piece--and until the whole is finished, the piece
is fired again and again in a kiln at a much lower temperature, the
process being quite similar to the previous one, although the heat is
much less. Colours which are applied with the glaze, as we shall see
later--self-colours, such as the Celadons--pass only through the first
process and need no second firing.

In Chinese porcelain it is well to note that no distinction is made
between pottery and porcelain; the European distinction is that whereas
pottery is opaque, porcelain is translucent. It is often difficult
to say when heavy Celadon colours are applied to pieces of Oriental
manufacture whether the body is porcelain or pottery. The pieces
decorated with heavy Celadon colours are very often on a porcellaneous
stone ware, which is generally accepted as marking the evolution
period between pottery and the hard porcelain. There are many examples
of fine pottery--stone ware--dating from the Ming period which are
unmistakable.



  III

  RELIGION
  AND
  MYTHOLOGY



CHAPTER III

RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY


We have noted previously that the decoration of Oriental porcelain
is largely bound up in mythology, nay, more, it is largely connected
with religion. The religions of China must therefore receive some
attention from those who would really understand the beauty of the
decorations used by the Chinese. China possesses three principal
religions, of which two are national--Confucianism and Taoism--one
imported from India--Buddhism. Although Confucianism may be said to be
the official religion of the Court, of the functionaries, and of the
learned, it is not a religion in the sense which we attach to the word.
Confucius was the reformer of the ancient national religion, which was
really fetishism. It is a code of practical morality based upon the
duties and obligations of mankind, and respect for both ancestors and
antiquity. Idols such as images of gods and spirits are put on one
side. Confucius recognised implicitly the existence of a God creator
of the world--Chang-ti, the Emperor Supreme, or Thien, the Heaven; the
Emperor alone as "Son of Heaven" was, as it were, the priest, acting
in the name of all his people, addressing to the Creator of the world
prayers and thanksgivings, at the winter and summer solstices and at
the spring equinox.

Not alone does the God of Heaven partake of these ceremonies in the
Imperial worship, but the goddesses of the earth, and the various
genii of the waters, of the mountains, and stars, and the Imperial
ancestors. No images are made of these, and they are only represented
on the altars by tablets on which are their names. Confucianism orders
respect and veneration for ancestors, who ought to be cherished and
treated as if they were living, so that the ancestral worship was an
incessant witness of gratitude and thanks, which has become the only
real religion of the followers of Confucius in China.

Confucius was born in 551 B.C. After his death the gratitude of the
sovereigns and the admiration of the peoples gave him a rank almost
divine. Every city built temples to him, not as a god whom they
worshipped, but as a man whom they venerated as a benefactor, and as
the master respected by the nation as a great saint in civil life.
There are not to be found many images or pictures on Oriental porcelain
of Confucius or his followers, for the reason stated that Confucius
simply settled a system of morality.


TAOISM.

Taoism differs from the doctrines of Confucius in that it is a gross
religion made of superstitious local beliefs in fetishes and demons
curiously amalgamated with the higher metaphysical doctrines of the
philosopher Lao-tseu, who was born 604 B.C. He included nearly all of
the old Chinese religions, which Confucius had reformed by taking away
its superstitions. This he did in order to fight more advantageously
against the reforms of Confucius. In reality, this religion agrees
with others; we may say that all the doctrines of all the religions
make a great difference between the beliefs of the common people and
those of philosophers and of learned men, for in the higher sense
the doctrines of Lao-tseu and his eminent disciples were able to be
maintained without danger of comparison against those of Confucius or
the most illustrious thinkers of ancient India. Taoism in its popular
form recognised a supreme God creator of the world, similarly named to
the God recognised by Confucianism, Thien, Heaven, or Tien-kong, God
of Heaven, but above him he places a Trinity called the "Three Pures,"
really the "Three Pure Ones," of whom Lao-tseu was one, representing
the spirit of knowledge or of wisdom. Below this Trinity is found a
multitude of gods, genii, demons, spirits of Heaven, of the earth,
of the sea, of the waters, of the mountains, of the rivers, of the
provinces, of the cities, of the villages, &c., all designated under
the collective name of Chens, "spirits." For the most part these are
ancient heroes, literary men or philosophers deified; hence the gods,
such as the eight immortals, are often found as images, or used as
decorations, upon vases and other pieces of Oriental porcelain. We give
two figures as illustrations.


BUDDHISM.

The earliest history of Buddha is an account of his death written
in the Pali language, four centuries B.C. Neither this, nor any of
the other histories ranging through the ages to our own times is an
authentic story of his life and work--it is simply a legend more
or less embellished. The mythology is as follows: Gautama, named
Siddhârtha, the highly gifted son of a Thâkur, or noble of the Rajput
tribe, quitted his father's house in order to meditate upon the evil
in the world--upon its origin and its extirpation. He went to ask the
advice of two Brahmins who were renowned for their piety, but they were
unable to satisfy his yearnings for a higher life. He rested, it is
true, faithful to their doctrines--the fundamental truths which they
taught--transmigration of souls with a final emancipation, but he saw
that their asceticism led only to the enfeebling of the higher powers
of the mind, so he decided to find some place where he might find peace
in meditation. After a long period spent in reflection, he decided
to quit his refuge and preach his faith. He found in Benares, in the
"Woods of the Gazelles," his first disciples, and accompanied by them
he journeyed through Western Bengal, during forty-five years, honoured
by princes, loved by the people, in whose language he preached, till
he died of old age probably about 477 B.C. You will note, later, the
_mille cerfs_ decoration of Chinese porcelain made in remembrance of
this beginning of Buddhism.

[Illustration: CHINESE POTTERY, ENAMELLED IN COLOURS.

  Paô-yueh-kouang, Goddess of the Moon.      Tien-kong, God of the Sun.
]

Buddha taught four truths. First, of evil. Birth, sickness, and death
produce pain, so does the separation from those we love and the
desire to secure what we cannot obtain. These joined to the knowledge
of existence are the causes of evil. Second, of the origin of evil.
The influence of the outside world--suggestion from outside--leads
to covetousness and all that sensuality brings. Third, of the end
of evil. This is only accomplished by the complete suppression of
ardent desires--self-abnegation. Fourth, of the method of suppression.
Abstention from humiliating and unprofitable self-indulgence in any
form on the one side, and the renunciation of any belief in torture
which is ruinous and vain as a means of spiritual growth. Every being
is subject to evil, nature in each is essentially the same. Gods,
demons, men, and animals are only different degrees of existence.
Humanity is the best condition, for only man can attain salvation, he
only can obtain deliverance. Regeneration operates only after death and
is regulated by the actions done during life. The process is secret,
and only step by step, higher and higher, does knowledge of truth
lead onwards through the path of salvation to the place eternal--the
Nirvana. Only in this blessed abode does the soul rest free from the
obligation of being born again, of suffering without cessation the
miseries of life.

Buddhism flourished in India during many centuries, especially in
the third century B.C., when in the reign of king Açoka, it became
missionary, but about 1100 A.D. it was banished from that country and
spread through Eastern Asia, where it has at the present time more
than four hundred millions of believers. In China there are eighteen
principal sects of this religion, so that it is not surprising that
the Chinese Buddhists should commemorate upon their porcelain gods,
goddesses, and religious ceremonies of various types, especially as it
adopted local superstitions and legends, and lent pomp and _éclat_ to
the worship of the dead. Its pliancy and activity are still marvellous.



  IV

  PORCELAIN
  CLASSED



CHAPTER IV

 A SKETCH SHOWING PORCELAIN CLASSED ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF THE
 DISCOVERY OF COLOURS AND GLAZES


Our first task will be to classify the porcelain according to the
order of its discovery, and in this relation we shall be largely
guided by form and colour, which in the oldest pieces is naturally
less diversified than in the later. Perhaps the oldest pottery is that
improperly called _boccaro_, owing to its resemblance to the pottery
which, in Portugal, bore this name, and as we shall see presently the
Portuguese were the first to visit the land of far Cathay. The colours
on boccaro ware are very varied--and some imitate bronze. Many coloured
enamels cover other pieces with a dense glaze which completely hides
the shape or body. These pieces are usually moulded, but examples have
been found where the decoration has been cut with a tool in the paste
when wet. Other specimens have been carved in the paste after it had
been dried in the sun.

The second class in order of age would be white porcelain made of
kaolins from different districts, which gave different tints to the
white, and unequal densities to the ware, some being heavy and some
light. Possibly the light ware of this period gave rise to the idea
of soft paste. The white itself varies in tint from a fine creamy
glaze, which is very beautiful, called "_blanc de chine_." Then there
is a bluish white called "_white of snow_," and a plain white called
"_white of flour_." The creamy white is valued very highly by the
Chinese themselves, and "Franks" mentions an instance where a Hong
Kong merchant, after making many magnificent presents to an English
gentleman, gave him as an object of great value a white cup of this
kind enclosed in a case lined with silk. This "_blanc de chine_" was
highly esteemed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, especially
in France and Spain. It is interesting to notice that this kind of
white ware was imitated by the early makers of European porcelain at
St. Cloud and Chelsea, and many of these specimens of white hard paste
have been ascribed to Plymouth, which, with Bristol, was the only
factory to make hard paste in England. The Chelsea imitation of an
Oriental teapot with raised flowers is the one which has the noted mark
of the raised anchor on a tablet.

With regard to colour applied under the glaze, blue was the first to be
so employed. Cobalt had a facility for cohering with the body itself,
therefore it was utilised for decoration before the glaze was applied.
Sometimes the transparent white glaze was replaced by a blue tinted
glaze. In that case, the blue decoration, applied under the glaze by
painting on the body of the ware itself, could be easily seen through
the blue glaze. Red, derived from copper,[1] was applied under the
glaze, sometimes alone, sometimes with blue, forming the decoration
of two colours under the glaze. With these colours used under the
glaze, as with the blue alone, the blue tinted glaze was frequently
substituted for the transparent glaze. This red was the red derived
from copper. At about the same period the reds, derived from iron
and gold, were applied as enamel colours upon the glaze at a lower
temperature than that used in the main kiln. The second kiln was called
a "muffle" kiln. The glaze and the enamel colours were both melted by
the heat in the muffle kiln, but the body was not affected. Direct heat
was not required, but the melting process was sufficient to unite the
glaze itself and the enamel colours so firmly that in some cases the
coloured enamel might be taken for the glaze. Generally, however, these
enamel colours project far enough from the covering glaze as to be
easily felt by the finger.

[Footnote 1: This copper-red is very brilliant, and has an iridescent
effect when examined by reflected light.]

Next followed the use of gold applied to decorations on the
black--"_famille noire_"--and green families or on other enamels.
Amongst the most beautiful of these enamels was the green, which was
applied upon the glaze by the fire of the "muffle" furnace. This colour
was derived from copper, and is called "_vert de cuivre_." It soon
held a high place in the scheme of decoration of vases, plates, and
dishes, as well as figures of the highest quality, and is recognised
as a distinct family, "_la famille verte_." But whilst the reds and
the greens were enamelled on the glaze, blue was still employed for
decoration under the glaze. These "_familles_" are separately dealt
with and illustrated.

In order of the discovery of the colours next comes violet from
manganese, and the yellows from cadmium and iron, creating a new
series, which is termed the yellow family, "_la famille jaune_." All
these yellows were enamel colours, but they were not often used alone.
Sometimes there is a combination of two groups, as green and yellow
or green and red. These have been classified as "_jaune verte_" and
"_rose verte_." We simply refer to these names in case any of our
readers should come across them in the descriptive catalogue or in
books dealing with Oriental porcelain. Perhaps the most beautiful of
all the enamel colours applied to Oriental porcelain is the rose, a red
derived from gold. Bearing in mind that we are roughly tracing the age
of the colours, that is, the period of their application, this rose
red would bring us to the Yung-ching and Keen-lung periods. Enriched
as the Chinese potters were by this superb tint, they simply revelled
in dominating their productions with it. It is classified as the rose
family, "_la famille rose_." To these periods belong the beautiful
class of pink back plates, to which further reference will be made
later.

Onward from this time, the trading relations between Europe and China
becoming more and more intimate, foreign influences began to make
themselves felt in the Chinese potteries; in fact, the Europeans
demanded and paid for European shapes and European designs, so that
European subjects were reproduced with more or less fidelity, and
"armorial" porcelain, on which the arms or crests of European families
were painted in enamel on vases, table services, and decorative pieces
of various kinds.

At this period, too, we find evidences of the influence of the
Christian missionaries in China, as shown by the religious subjects
enamelled or painted on plates, such subjects, for instance, as "The
Crucifixion" and other scenes of biblical history. We have stated that
the decoration was modified to meet the wants of the European market,
and we note also that the various shapes were also modified to suit
that market. The Chinese used saucer-shaped dishes, but these were
largely replaced, for exportation only, by dishes and plates with
rims, so that we finally reach the last class, the porcelain called
"East India Company" china, decorated with subjects not armorial,
nor scriptural, but European. The Chinese themselves were faithful
copyists, imitating exactly the pattern from which they had to work. We
shall deal with this subject more fully in a later chapter.



  V

  FABULOUS
  ANIMALS
  AND TWO
  GODDESSES



CHAPTER V

THE CHIEF OF THE FABULOUS ANIMALS AND TWO GODDESSES


We have dealt shortly with the religions of China, and it is necessary
to note in this connection how the emblems of the various religions
became embodied as part of the decoration of porcelain; in fact,
figures of the gods and goddesses were made associated with the symbols
which seemed to indicate their work, and these comprised the dragon,
the kylin, the lion, and the Fung-Hwang, Fwang-Hwang, Fong-Hoang or
Ho-Ho Bird. N.B.--Variously spelt.


THE DRAGON.

The dragon is a familiar object on Chinese porcelain, and being the
Imperial arms it typifies all that is powerful and indeed terrible.
Especially sacred is the dragon of heaven--_lung_; but _li_, the dragon
of the sea, and _kiau_, the dragon of mountains and marshes, are also
worshipped and feared. The dragons are either scaly, winged, horned,
hornless, or rolled up before rising to the sky in spring, or plunging
into the water in autumn. The Imperial dragon is armed with five claws
on each of its four members, and is used as an emblem by the Emperor's
family, and by princes of the highest two ranks. The four-clawed dragon
is used by princes of the third or fourth class. Mandarins and princes
of the fifth rank have, as an emblem, the four-clawed serpent. The
three-clawed dragon--the Imperial dragon of Japan--is, in China, the
one commonly used for decoration. The sacred pearl, adorned with the
Yang and the Yin, representing the male and female elements in nature,
always appears to be attracting the dragon.

[Illustration: THE DRAGON.]


THE UNICORN, KYLIN, OR KILIN.

The kylin, or k'i-lin, was an animal symbolising longevity and good
government. It is often found upon porcelain as a part of the
decoration. Its form is more like a deer than anything else, though it
has the hoofs of a horse and the tail of an ox. Its head is like that
of the dragon, and the body may or may not be covered with scales. In
its mouth a bundle of scrolls or some symbol may often be found. Other
monsters, notably the Corean lion, also called the Dog of Buddha or the
Dog of Fô, are called kylins, but the true kylin is as described above.
Though hideous in aspect, it shows the kindest disposition, and is so
gentle that it would not step upon a worm.

[Illustration: THE TRUE KYLIN.]


THE COREAN LION.

This animal, often miscalled kylin, is the habitual defender of
Buddhist altars and temples, hence its name, the Dog of Buddha or the
Dog of Fô. Its appearance is almost always menacing with its sharp,
powerful teeth and claws. In reality it is a sort of lion transformed.
It has a bushy, often a bristling, mane and a tufted tail. It is found
painted on vases, or modelled in relief on the top of the covers for
vases. When found as a figure the lion is usually playing with a ball,
the lioness with a cub. He is one of four animals representing power
and energy. The others are the elephant, leopard, and tiger.

[Illustration: COREAN LION OR DOG OF FÔ.]


THE FUNG-HWANG, OR PHŒNIX OR HO-HO BIRD.

This bird, pre-eminent for elegance and benevolence, seems to have been
a kind of pheasant, or some say a bird of paradise. It would neither
injure living insects nor growing herbs, but lived in the highest
regions of the air, and only descended to earth as the harbinger
of good tidings--happy events to individuals, prosperous reigns to
emperors. On Chinese porcelain either one or two birds are used with
a decoration of rocks, trees, and flowers, and in such decorations
it is known as the _Fong-Hoang_, or _Ho-Ho_ bird. It is frequently
represented carrying a scroll. In the illustration this scroll has
fillets around it.

[Illustration: THE PHŒNIX.]

Amongst the goddesses were two who were especially esteemed.
Si-Wang-Mu, the goddess of the Kuen-lung mountains, was a being of
the female sex, the head of troups of genii who held from time to time
intercourse with favourite disciples amongst the emperors. She is
usually represented as riding upon the Ho-Ho amongst the clouds with
her attendants, or she rests by the borders of the Lake of Gems, where
grows the peach-tree of the genii, whose fruit confers the gift of
immortality which Si-Wang-Mu bestows upon those favourite beings who
for self-abnegation and devotion to the needs of others have deserved
to be admitted into her presence. From this Lake of Gems, too, she sent
out winged birds with azure blue feathers who served as her attendants
and messengers.

Perhaps even more popular than Si-Wang-Mu was Kwan-Yin, to whom full
reference will be made later. Both Si-Wang-Mu and Kwan-Yin are found as
decorations upon Oriental porcelain and also as figures, some of the
finest of which, shown in our illustrations, date from the Ming period.
The eight Immortals will also be spoken of later. These are found in
sets of figures or in a group of eight or nine. In the group of nine,
Lao-tseu, the founder of Taoism, is the ninth figure.


[Illustration: KWAN-YIN. MING. This example is very rare, inasmuch as
the two attendants form a part of the actual figure, and this, if not
unique, is exceptionally rare. The robe in this instance is decorated
with the 100 Shows or Cheous (emblems of longevity) in black on an
apple-green ground; the cape has a small floral design in black on
aubergine with green border; the head-dress is of brilliant green with
lotus flowers in aubergine, yellow, blue, and black; the head, neck,
and hands in biscuit. The small figure on the knee is in a yellow robe,
relieved with a small design in black; the attendant on the right of
the figure has an aubergine robe with a collar in blue; the head-dress
and peach which she carries in her hand are in black; the attendant
on the left has garments with a small black design on a green ground;
the upper portion of the body is in biscuit, except the hair, which is
fashioned in a knob at the back and is enamelled black. The pedestal
has in the centre panel a reserve containing a sacred carp arising from
the waves; this is enamelled in black, yellow, aubergine, and green,
on a white ground, and is surrounded with a margin of blue. The front
side panels have Joo-e-heads, from which ribbons are depending, in
green, black, and yellow, on white ground. The two back panels have
chrysanthemums and leaves in aubergine, green, and black, on a white
ground.]

[Illustration: ANOTHER KWAN-YIN. MING. So many references are made
to the goddess Kwan-Yin, and she is represented in such a number of
statuettes, that no collection of Chinese porcelain would be complete
without her. Sometimes she is seated, at others she is standing. Often
she is found in white of various tints, but the finest specimens are
painted with coloured enamels. Here we have a most beautiful and
valuable example in enamel colours of a seated figure of Kwan-Yin.
The robe is of pale green relieved with a formal floral design in
aubergine, yellow, and black. The neck is adorned with a necklet of
beads in yellow enamel. The head-dress is of rich apple-green decorated
with a swastika in yellow and with Cheou characters in black. There
are also medallions, each containing a hawthorn leaf in green on an
aubergine and black ground. The hair is of black enamel; face, neck,
hands, and sceptre in biscuit. The figure is supported on an oblong
pedestal, which is surmounted by an upturned lotus flower; the leaves
of this are in pale green and aubergine. The front is represented as a
sunk panel, on which is a very early diaper design in yellow, green,
aubergine, and black. The four corners are incised. The sides of the
pedestal are decorated with branches of hawthorn blossoms in green,
black, and aubergine, on a white ground, whilst on the back is a
river scene with junk, rock, trees, &c., in yellow, green, and black,
unglazed on a white ground. Ming period.]

[Illustration: KWAN-YIN. The third illustration of this goddess--the
queen of heaven--shows her again in connection with the lotus, the
emblem of purity, also the symbol of creative power. The fish, too,
is often associated with her and with the gods. There was a noted
carp which lived at the bottom of Buddha's lotus pond, but generally
the carp is an emblem of longevity, and figures of fish are amongst
the charms which frighten away bad demons. The flowers which rise
from behind the nimbus or halo round the head of the goddess is the
magnolia, the emblem of sweetness and beauty, which, like the prunus,
shows its full blossom before the leaves appear. The illustration is
the model of a shrine, the back representing a rock in rich aubergine;
this is relieved with bamboo plants in green. In the centre, on an
upturned lotus flower, is a seated figure of Kwan-Yin in robes of green
and yellow; the other portions of her body in biscuit, as are also the
leaves of the lotus flower; under these is a giant leaf supporting the
whole; on either side of the Kwan-Yin are two male attendants, the one
standing on a lotus flower, the other on a leaf; these figures are in
biscuit relieved with green enamel. Under the figure of the goddess is
a carp in yellow enamel rising from the waves, which are in green, and
immediately in front is a sacred vessel in green enamel on an aubergine
base.]

[Illustration: SI-WANG-MU. This fabulous being of the female sex,
dwelling at the head of the genii, is often represented in the
decoration of Chinese porcelain, attended by two or four young girls,
either floating in the clouds or riding on a _fong-hoang_, or phœnix.
The illustration gives an important figure of Si-Wang-Mu. The flowing
robes are decorated with the 100 Cheous in black, and panels of
flowers in _rouge de fer_, yellow, and bright green. The whole of
the background is of brilliant green enamel, the reserves having a
pencilled design in black on a pale blue ground. The vest has white
hawthorn blossoms on black and green. The under-garment, which reaches
to the feet, has a formal floral design in green and _rouge de fer_
on a brilliant yellow ground. The lining of the sleeves is also in
brilliant yellow. Around the shoulders, and reaching to the ground on
either side, are lotus stems in rich aubergine. The hair is enamelled
black, with yellow and aubergine ornaments. The face, hands, and feet
are in a rich white glaze. The base fashioned to represent waves in
black and white on pale green; on one side of this is a lotus bud, and
on the other a large leaf. In the centre of the back of the figure is
one of the Buddhistic emblems in green and black on a white ground. The
figure is covered throughout with large Crackle.]

[Illustration: BUDDHIST DIVINITY.

_Od-dpag-med, Amitâbha or Amida. Amida in the attitude of bearing
witness and holding the pâtra or bowl to receive alms._

The position of the hands designates the functions which are being
carried on by Buddha or by his followers at any given time. These
gestures are each illustrative of some idea, and are classified under
the name "mudrâs." For instance, the hands placed over one another or
reposing wrapped up in the lap indicate meditation; the right hand
raised, left hand extended downwards, both with palms outwards, imply
teaching and charity; the same with the index fingers only extended
is a sign of the possession of the world; right hand extended and
palm outward signifies charity; fingers clasped with tips together is
the world-wide expression of adoration or of prayer for mercy; right
palm on the leg of sitting Buddha with left palm held upwards and
outwards is the position for bearing witness; the right hand raised
palm outwards with fingers extended is the attitude of blessing; the
right hand clasping the index of the left is the habitual attitude of
the Buddha supreme and eternal; the head resting on the right palm
turned upward signifies meditation on the means of saving mankind.
Other magical or mystical positions are: Palms upwards, tips of the
thumbs and fingers of each hand touching each other, indicating
teaching and direction; right hand extended downwards palm outwards,
left hand closed, signifying perfection of conduct; right hand elevated
and left closed, as in the last attitude, showing love to others in
active charity. The study of the "mudrâs" is quite interesting though
unfamiliar.]

[Illustration: THE GOD OF THE LEARNED.

Amongst the figures of the gods, in a country where literature is the
sole passport to success, where examinations on the knowledge of that
literature lasted for days, and where the results of the examinations
meant so much, it would be quite natural that a high place should be
given to the god of literature. Here we have a magnificent specimen,
possibly worth about £4,000. It is a figure, of extraordinary size, of
Wan Chong (God of Literature). The robe, of exceptionally brilliant
green enamel, is decorated with clouds in aubergine, white, yellow,
and black; the centre having a large panel containing a flying stork
and clouds in _rouge de fer_, yellow, green, and aubergine, on a white
ground, the whole of this surrounded by a narrow margin of aubergine
and black. Above this panel, and going round the waist, is a girdle in
high relief; this is decorated with small hawthorn blossoms of _rouge
de fer_, raised from a ground of rich aubergine; the borders of the
garment contain hawthorn blossoms in aubergine, yellow, blue, and
black, on a deep green ground. The exposed hand, which is movable, is
of white biscuit, whilst the face is glazed in white, and the head-dress
and feet are of brilliant black enamel. Attention may be called to the
sublime expression and modelling of the features in this figure, which
can without doubt rank as one of the finest and most important pieces
of the period.]

[Illustration: THE TAOIST DIVINITIES.

The first of these divinities is Laò-tseù, the founder of Taoism. He is
usually represented holding a book whilst seated on a buffalo. He lived
to a great age in a hermitage situated on a mountain side, when one day
a buffalo, ready harnessed, came where he was, and when he had mounted
it he was carried away to the west. Chang-Ti, the god of heaven, is
represented seated upon a horse and holding a tablet. Héou Tou, goddess
of the earth, appears in the dress of an empress. The gods of the stars
have various names, but they may be found as images, and we give some
of them. Sou Sing, god of the Pole Star and of the North, is usually
seated on a stool; before him lies a tortoise enveloped in the coils of
a serpent. Koéï Sing, the god of the Great Bear, carries the writing
pencil, or brush, and an ingot of silver, symbol of the fortune which
is secured by knowledge. He also carries a bushel measure. Nan Kiun
Lao, or Chô, is the incarnation of Laò-tseù and the god of the Southern
Cross. He holds a sceptre and rides upon a mule.

Amongst the very old statuettes may be found some that are very
ancient, dating from the Sung dynasty (960-1279). These are of violet
and blue Celadon. Fou Hi, the first Emperor of China, is a specimen
of these figures in the Musée Guimet at Paris. To him is ascribed the
invention of agriculture and writing. Chen Noung, the inventor of
medicine; Fô, Lô, and Chô, the three gods of happiness, and many others.

The illustration is an exceptionally fine and rare figure of Kouan-ti,
the god of war, seated on a horse. The armour is in green with yellow
edgings, belt, &c.; the under-garments in aubergine, and black boots.
The head-dress is green. The horse aubergine and black. All the
trappings, including saddle and saddle-cloth, in green and aubergine.
Period, Ming.]

[Illustration: WEN-TCHANG. CHIEF OF THE FIVE GODS OF LETTERS.

A figure of the god of Wisdom; the robe decorated with clouds in
aubergine, green, and white, on a brilliant yellow ground; the cape
on the shoulders has a gold tracery design on deep _rouge de fer_,
whilst at the back the ornamentation is carried out in formal flowers
in green and aubergine on a white ground; on either side of the robe
are two sacred dragons, finely drawn and enamelled in green, aubergine,
and blue; the under-garment, which reaches to the feet, is decorated
with flying storks in black and white, and peaches in _rouge de fer_
and green, on a plain apple-green ground, and the border has a light
pencilled design on deep green. Above the folded arms is part of
another garment, decorated in the centre with a cheou in gold on a pink
ground; the remainder of this has small yellow flowers on stippled
green; the left hand, which is hidden under the folds of the garment,
contains a Joo-e in gold; the head is of white glazed porcelain, the
crown in biscuit, whilst the hair, eyebrows, whiskers, beard, and
moustache are in brilliant black enamel. The third eye, which is seen
in the centre of the forehead, is supposed to represent the faculty
possessed by this deity of seeing more than any other person or god,
for with the aid of this third eye he was able to see not only what
took place externally, but to read into the innermost depths of a man's
soul, as well as the past, present, and future. The figure is supported
on a rectangular stand, the front of which is decorated with a bold
diaper design in aubergine, yellow, and black, on a pale green ground,
whilst in the corners are Joo-e heads in yellow, green, and aubergine.
The panels at the sides have in each a large flower in yellow and
aubergine, with green lotus leaves on a white ground; in the back panel
of the upper portion of this pedestal is a large drawing of a running
dragon, which has a yellow head, aubergine tail and mane, and a green
and black body; the four remaining panels have flowers and leaves
in green, aubergine, and yellow, on a biscuit ground. Ming period.
Possibly another form of Wan Chong.]

[Illustration: ANOTHER TAOIST GOD.

A figure of Piu-hwo carrying his fly-whisk, with which he was supposed
to have the power to revive the dead. He is represented in a flowing
robe of a brilliant brownish-black enamel. The head, fly-whisk, hand,
feet, and base in unglazed biscuit; the features and expression
remarkably well portrayed.

The Taoist divinities are the chief objects of attention amongst
Chinese figure-makers, who in beautiful bronze and no less beautiful
porcelain commemorated the traditions of past ages. Kwan-Yin, Amitâbha,
or Amida, and some others are Buddhists both in China and Japan, but
the great Taoist divinities, headed by Laô-Tseù, the founder of Taoism,
seem to be specially honoured by the potters. The deities of heaven
and earth, the sidereal gods of the constellations, the secondary
divinities, such as Fô, Lô, and Chô, the three gods of happiness, and
the gods of fortune and letters are all to be found in porcelain. The
eight immortals belong to the inferior rank of _Chens_ or _Esprits_.
They are described in a special chapter elsewhere, still, we must
remark that in blue and coloured decoration on vases, dishes, &c.,
they are constantly met with, so that it is well to be familiar with
their appearance and with their symbols. Han Chung-le, the president of
the _pâchens_, and Tsaou Kwo-kiu carry fly-whisks beside their proper
symbols, and so do the others occasionally.

There still remain the divinities of the earth, of whom Si-Wang-Mu was
the chief. The gods of the seasons, the cities, the mountains, and the
sea, all had their functions duly recognised. One word of advice is
here necessary. The old Ming figures are valuable, and forgeries are
numerous. So are the early Kang-he figures such as this.]

[Illustration: THE IMMORTALS.

These Pa Sien are eight in number. They attained immortality in various
ways, but the eating of the peach, which is carried as an emblem by Han
Chung-le, the god of longevity, and whose fruit confers the gift of
immortality, seems to have been indispensable. The illustrations show
three figures of two of these gods bearing their emblems.

On the right is a figure of Han Seang-tsze. This personage was a nephew
of the great philosopher, Han-Yu, who lived in the first century.
The robe is of rich green enamel relieved with medallions, each of
which contains a fabulous animal in aubergine, yellow, and white, on
very pale green ground; the collar is of aubergine with black tracery
design; the under-garment, the skirt of which reaches to the feet, is
of yellow with a small design in black. In his right hand he carries
his flute (Tieh); this, as well as the hand and head, in biscuit.

Another figure of the same god in quite a different style of
decoration. Note the flute emblem. It belongs to the same set as the
next.

In the centre is a figure of Chang Ko-laou, who is supposed to have
lived in the seventh century. His robe is of aubergine, decorated with
flowers and flying birds in pale blue, yellow, white, and black; the
undergarment, which reaches to the feet, is stippled green ground,
with a formal design in black. The head-dress is a brilliant black
enamel, as are also the bamboo tubes and rod which he carries in his
right hand; the latter and the face are in biscuit, and the beard is
aubergine. All of these are Ming.]

[Illustration: BUDDHIST DIVINITIES AND HAN CHUNG-LE.

Images in porcelain of Buddhist divinities are exceedingly rare.
Gautama Buddha may be found in pictures surrounded by sixteen Arhats
and four guardians of the world. These Arhats are five hundred in
number, and the sixteen occupy a rank superior to the others, under
the name of Sthaviras, or "the seniors." Unfortunately, the details of
their lives are little known. In Mr. Salting's Collection there are a
number of Arhats, which should be seen.

A pair of seated figures of Buddhistic deities. The robe of one has an
aubergine skirt, and the other bright green; the body is ornamented
with sacred jewels in biscuit, as are the head, hands, and feet; one
has the Buddhistic crown and coronet in green and yellow, whilst the
other has only a crown. Supported on pedestals fashioned as tree
trunks, on which there is a vase in aubergine and a bird in green and
white. In the centre of each panel of the base, which is of bright
green enamel, are Kylin heads, yellow in one instance and aubergine in
the other. These are early Ming.

In the middle is a figure of Han Chung-le, the first and greatest of
the Taoist immortals, who is supposed to have found the Elixir of
Life, and lived to attain the great age of 127 years. The robe is of
brilliant green enamel, decorated with flying storks and clouds in
aubergine, green, yellow, white, and black; the head and hands are in
biscuit, the flowing beard is in black, as is also the fan with which
he revived the souls of the dead. Ming of a later type.]

[Illustration: THE TAOIST IMMORTALS.

A large arbour or shrine in brilliant green and yellow enamels. In the
various sections are the figures of the eight immortals, wearing green,
yellow, and aubergine robes; on the right-hand upper portion is a small
figure of a dove in biscuit. At the base, rising from the waves, is a
carp, and also a frog.

Although the Chinese potters had at their command an endless list of
gods, goddesses, saints, and devils in their mythology, they appear
to have loved to draw and to model the eight immortals, Kwan-Yin,
Si-Wang-Mu, and other Taoist divinities, to the exclusion of all except
a few Buddhist gods. This seems to be due to their intense desire
for a long life as the highest good. Constant use is found for the
character Show, which is written in a hundred different ways, as shown
in the robes of Kwan-Yin and Si-Wang-Mu in the illustrations of those
goddesses. Such pieces as those given here are rare, although these
divinities and the eight immortals are very often depicted on pieces
in blue and white, and on many specimens in coloured enamels. It is
curious to notice how, when they are in the heavens, they are carried
upon the clouds; when upon earth Han Chung-le and Han Seang-tse ride
upon a fan; Tsaou Kwo-kiu on a log; Chang Ko-laou stands on a frog; Lan
Tsae-ho on her basket, and carries her symbol, the lotus; Leu Tung-pin
stands on his sword; Ho Seen-koo on a willow-branch, and Le Tee-kwae
sits on his gourd. Ming.]

[Illustration: FABULOUS ANIMALS. THE DOG OF BUDDHA, THE DOG OF FÔ, OR
THE COREAN LION.

The fabulous animals and birds are few; most of them are, however,
met with so frequently on porcelain that it is necessary to be quite
familiar with these fantastic creatures in order to grasp the meaning
of the Chinese decoration. The _fong-hoang_, a singular and immortal
bird, is dealt with elsewhere. The animals are four in number--the
dragon, the kylin, the dog of Fô, and the tortoise with a hairy tail.
The last was an emblem of longevity, and is usually an attendant on
the god of longevity. Another power was its ability to assume various
transformations, and still a third was its enormous strength. We shall
only emphasise here the differences between the kylin and the dog of
Fô, to which the name kylin is so often erroneously applied. The kylin
resembles a stag in its body, whilst the dog of Fô is much more like
a lion; in fact, with its head, face, mane, teeth, and claws, it does
not require a vivid imagination to take it for a lion. The lion and the
unicorn may fairly indicate the dog of Fô and the kylin.

We show a pair of so-called kylins, the one playing with a cub and the
other holding a sacred ball; the bodies of brilliant green enamel,
with decorations of aubergine, yellow, and black; supported on square
pedestals, the fronts having a bold diaper design, the sides decorated
with butterflies and flowers in aubergine, green, yellow, and black, on
a pale apple-green ground; on the back of each pedestal are four sacred
emblems in aubergine, green, and yellow, on biscuit. Ming.]

[Illustration: EMBLEMS IN BIRDS.

Amongst the symbols used in decoration a bird on a perch is frequently
found. The meaning of the symbol depends upon the kind of bird.
The parrot--the speaking bird--warns women to be faithful to their
husbands. The stork and crane are emblems of longevity, ducks and
geese are types of conjugal affection, and as such they are carried in
wedding processions. Quails were valued because of their fierceness in
fighting. The magpie was a bird of good augury, which is regarded as
sacred by the present reigning family, whilst the crow was a foreteller
of evil. The peacock is largely valued for the tail feathers, which
designate official rank. A piece of coral and two feathers indicate
the promotion of a mandarin three steps at a time, a similar coral and
four feathers means five steps at a time. The pheasant is an emblem
of beauty, it is often used instead of the phœnix or _fong-hoang_.
Amongst the Chinese, gold and silver pheasants of extraordinary beauty
give the _motif_ for the rich decoration of "pheasant plates," and the
varieties of the colours remind them of the duty of practising the
various virtues.

Here are a pair of pheasants, the plumage in yellow, black, brown, and
green, the bodies of pale apple-green. Each bird is seated upon a tall
rock enamelled in rich olive green; this is covered with flowering
branches in high relief, or decorated in varied colour enamels.
Supported on ormolu bases, Louis XVI. period. Other birds, such as
eagles, falcons, and hawks, may be found in figures or groups. Early
Kang-he.]



  VI

  EARLY
  HISTORY OF
  PORCELAIN



CHAPTER VI

A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF PORCELAIN


Perhaps what we have said will inspire our readers with the desire to
know something of the origin of the potter's art in China. This cannot
be definitely fixed. It is lost in antiquity. Far back, centuries
before the Christian era, possibly when Egyptian civilisation was at
its height, legendary history refers to the invention of pottery and,
indeed, places the invention of pottery thousands of years B.C. We have
no definite information as to what was made, but we may fairly assume
that in those remote times the vessels made were only course clay, rude
in form, sun-dried or badly baked in an open fire. Then, possibly, the
first efforts at glazing were produced and ornamented, the surface
was decorated by drawings with a stick in transverse scratches or
concentric rings, and simple bits of clay stuck on to the soft surface
formed the first applied ornament, gradually developing, and ever far
in advance of Western barbarism. The manufacture reaches the period
where actual records were available during the Wei dynasty, 220 A.D.,
when two potteries were recorded as making porcelain for Imperial use.
The string of dynasties which follows have but slight interest for the
collector. The marks we give (see Marks) range from the Sung dynasty,
960 A.D., to the Tsing dynasty, which came into power in 1644 and
continues to the present day. Though we read of porcelain blue as the
sky, shining as the looking-glass, thin as paper, giving a sound like
a musical stone, we could scarcely hope to find a specimen after the
lapse of so many hundred years. Besides, if we did, the piece would be
unique and even the experts would doubt its identity. Still, the tiny
fragments of this precious ware are recognised in China, and are so
valuable that the Chinese have them mounted as personal ornaments.

The first of the dynasties shown in our list has a real claim for
consideration, that is, the Sung dynasty, which lasted from 960 to 1279
A.D. The Emperor Chin-tsung, who reigned from 954 to 1007 A.D., adopted
as his title name, or _nien hao_, on coming to the throne, King-te,
and he founded the royal manufactory at Chang-nan-Chin, henceforward
known as King-te-chin. This city remained for many centuries the
greatest manufactory of Chinese porcelain. Here, then, we have definite
history of a city in the Chinese provinces of Kiang-si, with a present
population of 500,000, in which porcelain has been manufactured for
centuries, and where the manufacturing is still carried on, although,
through wars and insurrections, the work has now and then been
suspended for varying periods. There were numerous other factories in
thirteen other provinces, notably in Ho-nan, which had no less than
thirteen. Historical incidents occur which show that Oriental porcelain
was by slow degrees making its way Westwards. Saladin (1137 to 1193),
Sultan of Egypt and Syria, who defended Acre for two years against the
Crusaders, sent forty pieces of finest porcelain to Nur-ed-din Mahmud,
who recovered Syria from the Crusaders. That celebrated Venetian
traveller and author, Marco Polo, writing in 1280, described a visit
to a Chinese factory, and stated that the porcelain was exported all
over the world. The Yuen dynasty (1279-1367) saw the advent of Roman
Catholic missionaries and Florentine traders. They came to Pekin and
Hang-chow; and far off Cathay, the land of mystery, romance, and
poetry, first made acquaintance with the Western barbarians. We read
of porcelain of this period having been moulded, modelled, and painted
with flowers. The most noted potter, Pung, was not famous for his own
individual work of designing new forms or inventing new colours, but
for copying the older wares, and we shall never have an opportunity of
seeing his work, which, though beautiful, was very thin and brittle.



  VII

  THE MING
  DYNASTY



CHAPTER VII

THE MING DYNASTY (1368-1644) AND ITS PRODUCTS


The story of the overthrow of the Mongol dynasty by a rebellion headed
by a native named Hung-woo, the son of a labouring man, introduces the
great Ming dynasty. This man, a former Buddhist priest, captured Nankin
in 1355, and thirteen years later he took the title of Emperor. During
this dynasty, which lasted till 1644, the progress of the manufacture
of porcelain was very marked; indeed, the Chinese themselves are keen
collectors of the Ming products, considering them to be the finest
ever made. They scarcely exist outside the treasures of the cabinets
of princes or of the collections of mandarins. Whether this is due to
the extreme devotion of the nation to past history and to their love
of ancient relics more than their appreciation of what we consider
beautiful, the fact remains that, in the early times, Ming porcelain
was rarely exported, so that we have very little to guide us in
determining what is or is not porcelain of the Ming period. True, there
are the marks, but the marks were copied just as much as the forms
and decorations were. The best periods of Ming porcelain arranged in
order of merit, and not in order of date, were Suen-tih (1426-1436),
Ching-hwa (1465-1488), Yung-lo (1403-1425), Kea-tsing (1522-1567).
Ching-hwa is the first in order of reproduction; his mark is most
frequently copied.

At about the period of Ching-hwa, Europeans were making efforts to
reach the East by sea, and in 1498 Vasco de Gama sailed round the Cape
of Good Hope, and thus made an opening, by which eventually trade
was carried on by sea to China. The Portuguese were the first to
settle in China in 1516. From their factory or settlement in Macco,
or Macao, at the entrance to the Canton river, the first sea-borne
pieces of Oriental porcelain were sent to Europe by way of the Cape.
The conclusion, therefore, must be, in view of these dates, that the
earliest pieces found in England and on the Continent were carried
overland, by camels, thousands of miles over mountains and through
deserts, till at last they reached their European owners. The earliest
porcelain found in England--that is, a Celadon bowl presented to New
College, Oxford, by Archbishop Warham, and the bowls of Oriental china
given in 1506 by Philip of Austria to Sir Thomas Trenchard--came by
land. The Portuguese vessels were not content to sail only to China
and to exchange its products for those of Europe, for in 1542 they
appeared in Japan. Fernam Mendez Pinto in his "Travels," published in
1545, states that he and his companions were cordially received by the
Prince of Japan. Evidently, then, at the time when Queen Elizabeth
was reigning in England the Portuguese were pushing their trade in
the East as the Spaniards were in the West, and, as we have seen, the
Portuguese, amongst other commodities, sent Oriental porcelain home,
and brought European products back. They brought the Jesuits too.
Christian teachers had been at work in China for long years before the
Jesuits came, but the activity and knowledge of these gave them great
influence amongst the reigning class practically from the close of the
sixteenth to the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is said that
they had much to do with the evolution of the beautiful enamel colours
of the next dynasty, the "Tsing," though the evidence of this is of
the slightest. On the contrary, the development appears to have had
purely a native origin; an unusual step, it is true, to be taken by a
nation which seemed all along the line to be reproducing earlier forms
and earlier decoration. From the period when the vases of the Yung-lo
period were in demand, painted as they were with lions rolling a ball,
with birds or with dark blue or red flowers, we find progress being
continually made.

Suen-tih, whose reign is the most celebrated for the production of
Ming porcelain, produced very fine examples, with flowers in pale
blue, having red fish moulded as handles. Then comes the fine colour
paintings of Ching-hwa, through which we reach the perfection of the
Kang-he in the Tsing dynasty. It is remarkable that only a few Ming
specimens seem to have been identified with enamel colour decoration,
though in recent, indeed, quite late times, authorities are ascribing
many pieces with green and yellow enamel set in black outline to Ming,
rather than to Kang-he. White, green, and crackle pieces are often
mentioned in the historical records.

We read that Lord Treasurer Burleigh, William Cecil, Secretary of State
for nearly forty years to Queen Elizabeth, offered as a New Year's
gift, in 1588, to his royal mistress "one porringer of white porselyn
garnished with gold," and another gift of a similar kind was made to
the Queen by Mr. Robert Cecil, "a cup of grene pursselyne." Later, we
read that amongst the effects of Lady Dorothy Shirley were "purslin
stuffe, Chinese stuffe, two dozen of purslin dishes."

It will be noted that it was only with the advent of Shakespeare and
the Authorised Version of the Bible that our English spelling took
anything like uniformity. The last note regarding Lady Shirley's
possessions was made in 1620. In the time which had elapsed between
these records much had occurred in the Orient. The Dutch, in 1595, sent
out their first expedition to the East Indies, and Queen Elizabeth, not
to be outdone, despatched three English ships to China in 1596. Three
years later the East India Company was founded, a company which at
first could not trade in India or China owing to the fierce opposition
of the Portuguese and Dutch. They therefore made their headquarters at
Gombron in the Persian Gulf. The china ware was brought overland or by
coasting vessels to Gombron, which gave the early name "Gombron ware"
to porcelain which was universally used before the adoption of the name
"china."

During the Ming dynasty the practice of placing marks upon the
porcelain was first adopted, though the rule seems to have been to
mark only one piece in a set, yet the method of marking porcelain was
far from being universal or methodical. In acquiring Ming porcelain
the buyer must be especially careful. For many centuries the old forms
were copied, and in counterfeiting the porcelain and decoration it was
quite easy to imitate the mark. Here, then, we must once more advise
the collector to rely upon sight and touch. We have stated that it is
the inspiration of the educated eye regarding the _tout ensemble_ which
was largely to be trusted. On the other hand it would not be well to
dispense with the necessity for actually handling the piece with the
view to detecting differences between the old and the new work. In
dealing with fine pieces there is one advantage: they are submitted to
expert after expert, whose opinions may vary, but truth is great and
will prevail.

The end of the Ming dynasty was rapidly approaching. The Tartars, with
shaven head and pigtail, were "as the storm clouds which had been
collecting for some time," and at length they "burst over the Empire."
The space of time between the years 1616 and 1644, when the struggle
for supremacy between the Ming and Tsing dynasties was at its height,
leaves the identification of porcelain made during that period a matter
of considerable difficulty. In a national struggle, art manufactures
are the first to suffer, so that it is quite probable that only a
small output of porcelain took place during those troublous years. In
revising the Ming period note should be made that Hung-woo preferred
black, blue, and white ornaments; and that gold used as the decoration
for a dark-blue ground was first employed. In Yung-lo's time intense
patches of colour were used, and there was a development with regard to
the reds; a dark red was widely adopted. The paintings of flowers and
of birds and beasts, mainly used figuratively as emblems, became far
more delicate.

The Ching-hwa potters seem to have adopted a delicacy and a mastery
over the art of porcelain decoration scarcely ever met with in history.
It is true that the supply of blue failed, the cobalt was of an
inferior quality, but the coloured painting reached high perfection.
The marks and designs of the Ching-hwa period furnished unexampled
opportunities for copying, for although the later Kang-he showed,
without doubt, the finest blue and white with regard to colour that was
ever made, the pattern generally adopted can be distinctly traced to
Ching-hwa.

Kea-tsing was noted for the use of enamel colours of a beautiful depth
and quality. About this time pure white cups were made imitating white
jade, but the quality of the porcelain is inferior to many of the other
periods because one of the sources of supply of porcelain earth failed.



  VIII

  THE TSING
  DYNASTY



CHAPTER VIII

THE TSING DYNASTY. KANG-HE PERIOD (1661-1722)


Bearing in mind the struggle between the Mings and the Tartars, which
lasted, as we have seen, from 1616 to 1644, we may take Shun-che
(1644-1661) as the first real Tsing Emperor. Properly, the title of
the dynasty, which has existed to our own times, would be the Manchu,
Manchoo, or Tae-tsing or Ta Tsing dynasty, which is the twenty-second
Imperial dynasty. The most distinguished Emperor in connection with the
manufacture of porcelain was the second, named Kang-he, who had a long
and peaceful reign from 1661 to 1722; in fact, he is the only Emperor
who reigned for a complete Chinese cycle of sixty years, and we shall
find amongst our marks that the sixty-first year is distinguished by a
cycle mark and not by the "_nien-hao_," or name mark. Note Fig. 1 in
the marks.

Under Kang-he's guidance the porcelain manufacture received an immense
impetus. Many improvements were adopted and new colours introduced,
especially the enamel colours. Amongst the noted potters living long
before his reign were two whose names have come down to us, although
identification of their work is impossible. The famous Pung, as before
noted, was an excellent potter, but he was only copyist of old forms.
Chow was a later potter who, near the end of the Ming dynasty, also
excelled in imitating ancient vases. The work of these two old potters
were copied at first by potters of the Kang-he period. "Franks" says:
"It is probably to this reign that we must refer most of the old
specimens of Chinese porcelain that are to be seen in collections, even
when they bear earlier dates."

What generally were the qualifications and characteristics of the
productions of King-te-chin in this reign? Our illustrations, which
should be read carefully, will give guidance to the careful student
regarding the Chinese porcelain that was then produced. There seems
to have been little doubt that the three-coloured pieces, decorated
with yellow, green, and aubergine, were direct copies of the Ming
products. Aubergine is a puzzling word and requires explanation. It
is a transparent enamel resembling the egg plant in the variation and
gradation of its colours, from grey to purple or having various shades
up to a rich brown. It will be found in the trees, stems, and branches,
forming a principal part of the scheme of colour decoration. The black
family--"_famille noire_"--is of the same period. The black may be
composed of other colours, but it is usually coated with a transparent
green enamel. Notice that there is a dull black, a mirror black, and
this black covered with green enamel. Kang-he black will receive due
attention in the illustrations. It is rare and very valuable.

Perhaps the finest porcelain produced during the Kang-he period was
the green family, sometimes used with blue under the glaze. Wan-leih,
the Ming Emperor, is sometimes credited with introducing this green
enamel. This, however, seems very improbable, for twice in his reign
the Japanese invaded Korea, and the Tartars were always in rebellion.
On the whole the balance of evidence points to the green family as
being a genuine product of the Kang-he period. Another product of the
same period was the green enamel used with blue enamel over the glaze,
so that it is well to note that the fine greens which are classified
as "_famille verte_" are usually ascribed to this period. The blue and
white of the Kang-he period has been noted before. The most lovely
quality of this decoration must be always referred to this period.

Whether we consider the cobalt blue as a colour, as in the celebrated
ginger jar with prunus flowers sold at Christie's for 5,900 guineas,
or such pieces as we show in our illustration from Mr. Duveen's
collection, worth £2,000 each, from 1720 right down to our own times
this ware has been copied and ever recopied, but there is something in
the blue used for decoration, something, too, in the quality of the
white porcelain itself, and again something in the glaze, an intense
brilliancy. These furnish a combination which has never been rivalled.

The Kang-he period was noted for a very rare biscuit Celadon, in which
the surface of the panels in relief is unglazed, though the remainder
of the decoration is blue under the glaze. Another fine quality of
porcelain was that with archaic decoration having conventional flowers
and bands in black and green. The marks of the Kang-he period vary. In
the earlier part of his reign the double blue circle and the Kang-he
_nien-hao_ are frequent, but collectors must note that many specimens
of this period have no date mark at all. If the two blue rings are used
there are no letters inside. The reason of this is rather curious. In
1677 the superintendent of the works gave an order to the factories
at King-te-chin, in which he forbade the inscription of the Emperor's
name or the characters which gave the history of their sacred great
men. This order was given because it was thought that if the porcelain
was broken it would be reflecting upon the honour of the Emperor
or of these sanctified persons who were represented not alone by
inscriptions, but by paintings used in the decoration. However, this
law did not remain in force for a very long period. When a piece is
found with empty rings or with the symbol marks of the fungus leaf,
&c., it can be assigned to a few years later than 1677. The importation
to Europe had reached considerable dimensions before this.

We read that in 1664 nearly 50,000 pieces of rare Japanese china were
imported into Holland and about 17,000 more of various kinds from
Batavia by the Dutch East India Company. In this connection the rivalry
between the Dutch and the Portuguese must be noted, because it affected
the Oriental trade in porcelain very considerably. Stirred up by the
Dutch, the Japanese, in 1640, excited by their fears of the ultimate
designs of the Portuguese and the Spaniards, who had later appeared
upon the scene, banished them in favour of the Dutch. Some thousands of
Christian converts were massacred, and the Dutch were fully established
at Nagasaki, where they laid the foundation of that progress towards
Western civilisation to which the world, and especially Japan, owes so
much.



  IX

  THE YUNG-CHING
  PERIOD



CHAPTER IX

THE YUNG-CHING PERIOD (1723-1736)


The Yung-Ching period (1723-1736), though only thirteen short years,
was peculiarly noteworthy, because the Emperor himself took a personal
interest in the Imperial factories at King-te-chin, and also in the
head of the establishment, Hien-Hsi-yao, who, in 1727, was entrusted
with the management. In porcelain much depends upon the potting, and
in the actual potting the products of Yung-Ching were far superior
to any that had before appeared. The drawing, too, was in every way
better, the colours, though not so brilliant, showed such care and
taste in blending that even the fine "_famille verte_" suffers by
comparison. As a rule, the decoration was so applied that the porcelain
could be admired--that is, the whole surface was not covered by the
ornamentation. In some of the smaller pieces the result of this plan is
beyond all praise. Only one product suffered. The blue was far inferior
to that of Kang-he.

We have already praised the quality of the cobalt applied as decoration
to vases, ginger jars, &c., of the Kang-he period. As if to balance
this default the rose colour from gold was discovered, which gave
birth to the rose family, "_famille rose_." Other products which had
their beginnings in this reign are worthy of notice. First there was
a black decorated with colour, mainly with arabesques or curl work.
The porcelain was of fine quality and the scheme of colour so subdued
as to be entirely pleasing to the eye, the black being relieved by
pattern in faint green and further decorated in white, pale yellow,
and aubergine of such an admirable character that one wonders why
Yung-ching porcelain is not more appreciated. Still the rose decoration
begun so successfully in this period, under the succeeding Emperor,
received such attention as placed it in the front rank of Oriental
porcelain In fact, we may say more. Collectors of the rose family care
nothing for Ming with its greens and yellows, nothing for Kang-he with
its "_famille verte_" and black, but they esteem and value above all
the "_famille rose_," the Yung-ching _chef d'œuvre_, which we shall
deal with later when we come to Keen-lung. The pieces of the Yung-ching
period, decorated with blue under the glaze with enamel in colour
over the glaze, exhibited the same distinctive features which typical
china of this period showed--that is, excellent potting and a skilful
blending of the under-glaze blue with the enamel colours over the
glaze. There is this noteworthy distinction, too, the decoration on the
backs of bowls and dishes is almost equal to that on the front. This is
a helpful hint, to which careful note should be given.

Perhaps one of the most puzzling and at the same time interesting forms
of decoration was the blue used in conjunction with peach bloom. These
specimens were ornamented with combinations of three lines either long
or bissected, called the Pa-kwa, the single mark forming a trigram
essentially male if the long lines were in the ascendant, and female
when the half lines were most numerous. The later marks or symbolical
devices will deal more fully with the Pa-kwa. Peach-bloom was
undoubtedly first introduced in the reign of Kang-he, and the really
valuable and fine examples belong to this period only. It is altogether
a misleading term to those who are not experts, who expect to find the
delicate pink of the peach blossom or flower. Peach bloom is nothing of
this kind. Imagine a dark reddish brown of unusual but beautiful tone
pierced through its surface in flecks of dark green and spots of pink
such as the flower would be when the first touch of spring coaxed it
from the dark-coloured sepal with flecks of green and a touch of pink.
It is the colour of the bud when the peach begins to bloom, not the
pink of the peach blossom so prettily tinted with yellow. Peach bloom
and "_clair de lune_" are the two very finest self-colours which take
precedence even of "_sang de bœuf_." We shall have occasion to occur
to this again in the chapter on self-colours.

The next class is black with coral red under the glaze; in fact, two
colours are found under the glaze in the Yung-ching period, blue and
red. The red is of a brilliant tone, not so striking as the red from
gold, but still very lovely in its combination with blue. Sometimes
these two are used together with added enamel colours, but frequently
in under-glaze decoration that favourite ornament, the five-clawed
dragon in pursuit of the crystal ball or pearl, may be found. The
circular device ball or pearl showing the Yang and the Yin, signs for
the male and the female elements in nature, were at this period raised
on the surface, and in over-glaze enamels both the waves and the clouds
were tinted with various shades of green and purple and aubergine
edged with black.

We have already referred to the rose family, in which the enamel
decoration was most carefully and artistically carried out in all
its detail. The preponderating influence was a brilliant rose colour
accompanied by green, yellow, and blue, all in enamel colours, which
were not less striking because still subordinate to the beautiful
pink. When waves were used in the decoration they were of a charming
sea-green Celadon enamel. The blue painted under the glaze has already
been referred to as being inferior in quality, in colour and brilliance
to the products of Kang-he. In fact, we must repeat that no blue and
white was ever equal to the Kang-he ginger jars and vases decorated
with the prunus pattern, usually called the hawthorn, with the lip
unglazed on the outside and partly glazed on the inside.

Present day potters produce blue and white ginger jars, but the blue
of Kang-he is unapproachable, the paste is exquisite, and the glaze
is incomparable. The Yung-ching potters did well in blue and white,
and the blues, though less brilliant, were very bright and pleasing.
The distinctive feature of the period is that the borders of the vases
were incised after the manner of the Ming blue and white, a pattern
which appears at no other periods. Let us try to explain this. About an
inch from the top of the vases there is an incised pattern, a pattern
cut in double incised lines, altogether forming a band about half an
inch wide. A similar incised band is found round the base. Yung-ching
blue, and white often has a decoration of rocks, waves and curious
conventional ground in blue of a carefully painted peach-tree springing
from the rocks, painted blossoms of a rich red tone with reddish or
yellowish brown spots distributed over the white as if to emphasise
the form of the decoration. The contrast between the delicacy of the
detail is striking when compared with the broad treatment of the
Kang-he period. On the one hand there is fine stipple work. This is
Yung-ching. On the other hand there is a broad, bold wash of colour.
This is Kang-he. One of the most effective forms of decoration is what
is widely known as powder or powdered blue, in which the cobalt was
sprayed through gauze or dabbed either upon the whole surface, or upon
all of the surface except that which by mechanical means was reserved.
Students of Oriental china will often come across the expression
"painted in reserves or compartments." By this is meant that the scheme
of decoration of the whole surface has been so far modified that
certain panels have been left in white for further decoration. Hence we
get reserves of various shapes with varying decorations--powder blue
vases with reserves decorated in blue; powder blue vases with reserves
decorated in "_famille verte_," and so on. The apparently granulated
surface of the powder blue is due to the colour having been blown
through the fine gauze or dabbed on the whole portion that was not
reserved.

Celadon was brought to great perfection in this reign. Not only the
various tints of green usually known by that name, and not only the
brilliant white Celadon glaze with raised decoration in which a Celadon
green is effectively employed, but various glazes in which the colour,
being applied in the glaze, was included in the same term Celadon. The
decoration, often floral, was noted for its subdued tones of pink,
mauve, red, and orange. Vases of the Ming dynasty, especially the
Suen-tih and Ching-hwa periods, were copied and recopied in every
detail. Beautiful bowls were largely made with Celadon or coral
grounds, with figures or other ornaments in coloured enamel; sometimes
reserves or compartments in white had special treatment of figure
decoration. Other specimens imitated jade or agate or cornelian or some
other stone. The well-known pale green Celadon is the only one known to
the trade by the name Celadon. Red or blue Celadons would be classed
under self-colours.

We have noted the green family, "_famille verte_," of Kang-he. The
Yung-ching products of the same class differ from it in the quality
of the colours used. The green enamel itself was much thinner and not
so brilliant; it often had a blue shade, but it too was applied as an
enamel in conjunction with the under-glaze blue decoration. Instead
of the reds from copper the reds from iron were effectively used.
A colouring like the red of rusty iron was used in several shades,
ranging from an orange red to a bright orange, or even to a salmon
pink. Other colours in soft tones were used, but a chief point to
remember is that whilst the design was usually drawn in blue under the
glaze, all the enamel colours were applied over the glaze, so that a
blue tinge is conspicuous, and it is a help to identification.

A reference was made earlier to the rose family. This was a red from
gold, and perhaps its highest development is seen in the brilliant
ruby-back plates of the Yung-ching and Keen-lung periods. This colour
had its origin in Yung-ching's short reign, and the shades of it vary
from pink to purple. As enamel, the rose colour is most wonderfully
applied to flowers, drapery, &c., and really it is far more decorative
than the green, the powder blue, or indeed any other colour. It has
their artistic merit, and the additional one of being a soft and most
attractive tint, if green represents the leaves, rose pictures the
flowers; and perhaps the most lovely combination is "_rose verte_,"
where both of these are used in harmony.



  X

  THE
  KEEN-LUNG
  PERIOD



CHAPTER X

THE KEEN-LUNG PERIOD (1736-1795)


During the first seven years of the reign of this Emperor there was
but little variation in the character of the porcelain manufacture at
King-te-chin. In 1743, however, a new director was appointed to the
works--Thang-ing--who continued the high quality of the manufacture
of the two previous reigns, and brought the rose family to the most
perfect state. Indeed, though the European influence exerted by the
Jesuits may possibly have been more powerful than before, yet no
European china quite reaches the glowing brilliance of these Chinese
vases and dishes. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and
Chelsea tried to copy the rose colour, the result being the fine claret
colour of the Chelsea china. Sèvres came nearest with the _Rose du
Barri_, but, after all, the lover of old Oriental porcelain devotes
all his energies to the acquisition of specimens made and decorated in
the old times, imitations perhaps of very early Chinese products, but
perfectly Chinese in instinct and impression.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate Keen-lung china from
Yung-ching in unmarked pieces before the full developement of the
"_rose famille_," but the reign of Keen-lung was so much longer
comparatively, and during the period the porcelain manufacture was so
active, that it will be safe to ascribe the fine specimens of this rose
family to it as well as to Yung-ching, when the invention of the rose
enamel took place. In the last reign we considered, but only shortly,
this "_famille rose_." The exquisite delicacy of these specimens lies
in the combination of an elaborate, but refined, style of decoration
in which the painting was most artistic, with the graceful shapes
of the pieces themselves. There are other types, bolder in colour,
broader in execution, and, it may be, equally beautiful. Take, for
example, a vase; its body would be covered with large sprays of
flowers in rose, yellow, and other enamels, but the rose predominates
and gives an effect which is very rich and striking. Chrysanthemums,
peonies, irises or flags, anemones, pumpkin vines with flowers and
fruit--all these were in common use with birds and butterflies, fishes
and insects no less finely coloured, and, as it were, thrown up into
relief by the use of black with that transparent green enamel which we
have before described, and here and there a black spot is applied for
the same purpose of enhancing the value of the coloured enamels. The
porcelain body of the Keen-lung period is very fine and white, many
of the specimens having a style of painting peculiar to the Chinese
artists of this period. Flowers such as those we have mentioned--the
chrysanthemum, peony, and rose--seem to be ribbed, as if when the
enamel was not quite dry a tool was used for the purpose of breaking up
the enamel and in this way getting finer effects from reflected light.
The porcelain itself sometimes assumed a wavy appearance, such as would
be left by the potter's fingers when the piece was turned on the wheel.
A similar wavy appearance is found on characteristic pieces on Bristol
hard paste porcelain when turned upon the wheel.

Amongst the rarest decoration of this class of porcelain in this period
is what is called "_mille fleurs_." In this class the whole surface
is covered with a thousand flowers in variety painted exquisitely in
enamel colours of every conceivable hue. Yet though the colours are so
varied there is nothing but the most pleasing and harmonious effect.
Pale lilac, reds and yellows, alternate with delicate shades of greys
and blues. When the panels are left in reserves, a figure decoration is
freely applied to them, and the figures depicted represent the spirits
of the flowers. On the bases, which are covered with pale sea-green
enamel, are found the square seal marks of the Emperor Keen-lung. It
is scarcely possible to have the privilege of seeing such perfect work
of Ceramic art, but the collection of the late Mr. W. G. Gulland, of
Brunswick Terrace, Hove, was especially rich in "_mille fleurs_" pieces.

The class allied to this, but probably later in date, is "_mille
cerfs_"--that is, a decoration consisting of numberless deer ranging
in a forest. The colour is not nearly as brilliant as in the "_mille
fleurs_" class, though the same wavy porcelain is to be noted. The
green, bluish in tone, like the greens of the Yung-ching period, are
harmonised with browns; in fact, the aubergines merge into sepia
or brown. The hills are green and brown with some hilltops in blue
enamel. The birds are painted quite thinly in rather dull reds. This
glaze could be fairly described as late "_famille verte_." In this
period the Celadons show considerable advance. Celadons were produced
late in the Ming and early Kang-he periods, and cover a range of
tints which are difficult to describe, as we have seen in the case
of peach bloom and "_clair de lune_." The "_sang de bœuf_" is
also difficult to describe, so that a pilgrimage should be made to
any Museum which has a genuine specimen. For instance, in the British
Museum, Oriental Section, in the centre of a large cabinet, there is a
small bottle-shaped vase which is a real "_sang de bœuf_," a glaze of
a brilliant colour shaded towards a deeper claret and the base shading
away into a pale yellow, pink towards the lip, which retains the
soft, natural tone of the body or paste. Then just below the neck the
"_sang de bœuf_" seems to glow with the intensity of the ruby, just
before it falls from the shoulder of the piece towards the base. Other
colours of this period are known as pigeon's blood and chicken's blood,
crimson, crushed strawberry, and so on. To nearly all of these colours
the remarks which apply to the shading of the "_sang de bœuf_" can be
noticed upon the specimens themselves. Here the glaze starts at the top
of the vase or vessel; there is a yellowish tinge, and the colour has
several gradations until it ends at the base. These reds originated
in the late Ming period, reached high excellence under Kang-he, and
continued through Yung-ching's reign, and under Keen-lung maintained
their high perfection.

The Keen-lung red Celadon has a somewhat blue shade when the light is
reflected at an angle. It is well to remember that all those colours
which are called Celadon, or self-coloured, have the tints mixed in
the glaze. Besides the reds, there are blues of many shades, violets,
mauves, &c.--in fact, any colour that could be applied in the glaze
was used as the sole decoration of fine porcelain. It is true that in
many of the fine vases the body is moulded with flowers or dragons or
other patterns, yet the glaze was a whole glaze and therefore Celadon.
Notwithstanding this, the Celadon surface was itself frequently
decorated by designs in enamel colours outlined in black. As we have
before shown, it is easy to know whether a piece is decorated with
Celadon or with enamel, because all enamel colours stand out from the
glazed surface to which it is applied, and by passing the fingers over
the decoration the enamel can be felt. This brings us to certain facts
that must be remembered.

Enamels, like Celadons, may be of any colour. They are always burnt in
so as to amalgamate with the cover glaze, even if that cover glaze be
itself coloured and therefore Celadon. Also there are but a few colours
which can be applied before glazing, that is, upon the paste or body
directly. We have seen that blue and red were so applied. This brings
us to the other development. The Keen-lung class of blue and red under
the glaze was derived from that discovered in the Yung-ching period.
Its application was developed with surprising skill by the finest
workmen, so that the application of copper red under the glaze, in
combination with blue, gave splendid opportunities for these artists
to display their pre-eminent skill for freehand drawing in applying
designs upon the biscuit porcelain before the glazing took place. If,
for example, you pass your hand over a piece decorated under the glaze,
you will find a surface perfectly smooth, the colour has sunk into the
paste.

The next note is worth remembering, because it may be applied as a
practical test to distinguish between the old and the modern blue under
the glaze. This test of modern blue is to be found with the finest
strokes, whereas in the old work each stroke is perfectly smooth or
uniform in its outline, never laboured, never hatched, but simple
strokes which plainly follow the American plan of never taking three
strokes when one stroke will do. Most of the modern work reveals a tiny
blue dot at the pull-off of the fine hair brush or pencil. The drawing
and writing of the Chinese was always done by means of a pencil held
perfectly upright by the fingers, so that by examination of the pencil
marks it is quite easy to see whether the blue lines have inequality,
especially at the point where the brush is removed, and our readers
may detect forgeries of the old marks as well as the old drawings by
noticing this blue dot at the end of the stroke. It is never found upon
an old piece.

The coral red family, which belongs peculiarly to this period, is
extremely pleasing, and a very fine result is secured when used with
blue under the glaze, leaving the design outlined in red, so that
the red, white, and blue harmonise perfectly. But the coral red was
also used under the glaze as a ground colour. Then it was thickly
powdered with white chrysanthemum leaves and flowers, and it had white
reserves often decorated with sprays of conventional white lotus,
chrysanthemums, and magnolia. The Chinese varied the colours in their
decoration with wonderful effect. Blue under the glaze was, as we have
seen, associated with reds under the glaze, but it was quite effective
with enamels over the glaze, and we may take this as the next class of
the period. The design, or any part of it, was applied to the paste,
then the piece was glazed and fired so that on coming from the kiln
it was simply a white porcelain piece having blue, or red and blue,
decoration under the glaze. Then enamel colours were used to complete
the design, such as green enamels with the blue designs showing through
them and thin dull reds under the glaze, as before noted, whilst the
rest of the piece was coated with decoration in yellow, blue, or even
white enamel colours.

Perhaps the most--and here adjectives fail: charming, lovely, famous
are words which arise in the mind--ruby, pink, rose eggshell plates
really should be seen rather than described. These all belong to the
"_famille rose_." But eggshell was not confined to this family. Dated
specimens seem to indicate that the two earlier reigns had seen the
origin and progress of this beautiful ruby porcelain, but there is no
doubt that many of the finest of the marked pieces belonged to the
Keen-lung period, though Yung-ching produced excellent specimens.

Let us give a few examples from the sale-rooms. But first we could
wish that all who will read this chapter could betake themselves to
the Victoria and Albert Museum, to the British Museum, to Duveen's or
Gorer's in Bond Street, and see for themselves what Chinese eggshell
plates really are. The Salting Collection in the Museum at South
Kensington has very fine specimens, and the British Museum has similar
specimens in two flat cases, which, unfortunately, do not allow the
full value of the ruby back to be appreciated. At Duveen's there
are two cases filled with the loveliest specimens ranged before a
looking-glass, which enables the visitor to see both the design on the
front of the plate and the lovely colour at the back.

It is surprising, and yet not astonishing from the point of view of
the collector who will have the best, to notice the prices which have
been paid for these plates, which are quite small, ranging from 7¾
in. to 8½ in. diameter. A few examples will help in enabling us to
estimate their value. One eggshell plate, enamelled with chrysanthemums
and a sparrow, and with sprays of peonies round the border, on pink
diaper-pattern ground, 8 in. in diameter, sold at the sale of Louis
Huth's Collection for £105. The other prices realised at the same
sale are no less striking. Saucer dishes, pair, eggshell, with ruby
backs, enamelled with branches of chrysanthemums and peonies on a white
ground, 8 in. in diameter, sold for £80, but a better pair, enamelled
with cocks and peonies in the centre on white ground, with pale green
trellis border, 7¾ in. in diameter, realised £400. One saucer dish,
enamelled with a pheasant, quail and peonies in the centre, and a
pale green marble border with pink prunus blossom, and three panels
containing flowers, 8 in. in diameter, brought £135. The first and last
of these were not pink-backed, but they were certainly beautiful.

Other eggshell plates at the same sale with ruby backs, which we will
describe shortly, even at the risk of appearing monotonous, were:
one enamelled with ladies and children in the centre, diaper border,
with three panels of flowers, 8¾ in. in diameter, which realised
£150; another, enamelled with quails and chrysanthemums in the centre,
with pink and green diaper borders and three panels of flowers, £155;
another, enamelled with a lady and two children by a table, in a
leaf-shaped panel, on gold ground, with border of various coloured
diapers, 8¼ in. in diameter, £200. Two saucer dishes, enamelled
with peonies and persimmon fruit in the centre, and shaped border of
diaper ground, the border on green ground, with pale pink trellis edge,
7⅝ in. in diameter, £310. A similar pair, but enamelled with ladies
and children and vases in the centre, on a white ground, with pale
green trellis pattern border, and three panels of black, 7¾ in. in
diameter, fetched the same price, £310. The gem of the whole collection
was a plate, finely enamelled with a group of ladies and children,
vases and utensils in the centre, with seven borders of various
diapers and small panel of flowers, 8⅛ in. in diameter, £280.

The plate with the seven borders is the most famous of these eggshell
ruby-back plates. The centre panel or reserve is leaf-shaped, having
in enamel colours, very delicately painted, a lady seated with two
boys; near her is a table on which are books; vases behind her and two
vases on her left. This panel is surrounded by six diaper borders of
various widths, of which the two chief are a deep ruby, interrupted
by four reserves in blue enamel, and the other a pale lilac with four
reserves enclosing flowers. Between reserves are four dragons in
white. The diaper around the leaf is the seventh border. There are
other diaper patterns in the five and four border plates which have
in the leaf-shaped central panel a decoration which is very similar.
Some, however, of these eggshell plates have no diaper work, the
sole decoration consisting of two cocks, beautifully enamelled, near
rocks and foliage. Indeed, these birds are often found in plates with
borders. Similar eggshell plates may have landscapes or flowers as the
central decoration with or without diaper borders. The name ruby back
is given to these plates because the whole of the back, excepting the
centre inside the rim, is enamel with a beautiful ruby tint. Indeed,
we may say that these plates are amongst the very finest creations of
the Yung-ching and Keen-lung periods. To the eggshell china belong the
delicate Mandarin vases which, probably, were made for exportation.



  XI

  MANDARIN
  PORCELAIN



CHAPTER XI

MANDARIN PORCELAIN--KEEN-LUNG PERIOD (1736-1795) AND LATER


A mandarin is a Chinese official, either civil or military, but the
word itself is not Chinese. It is a name given indiscriminately by
foreigners to designate any Chinese official of whatever rank. The
recognised official grades of mandarins are nine, each distinguished
by its dress. The so-called button on the hat--the mandarin button--is
conspicuous. It is really a very valuable jewel, and, like the rest of
the dress, is worn under precise regulations. It will be interesting to
notice how the mandarin's rank is shown by the dress. The coats were
always embroidered with gold and were of coloured silk.

In the first order, the button on the hat was a bead and above that
an oblong button of transparent ruby red--_transparent red_. The coat
was violet, with a square plaque on the breast and back decorated, in
the civil class with a pelican, in the military class with a kylin,
whilst the belt was ornamented with four agate stones set in rubies.
In the second class, the button was a red coral button resting on the
ruby bead--_red opaque_. The coat had embroidered plaques decorated
with a hen for the civil class, and a lion for the military class.
The belt was ornamented with four embroidered plaques with rubies.
The third class had a sapphire button--_blue transparent_. The coat
had embroidered plaques decorated with peacock's plumes, each feather
having only one eye. The symbolical peacock represented the civil
class, and the panther the military class. The belt was ornamented with
four plaques of worked gold. In the fourth class an azure-coloured
button of lapis lazuli--_blue opaque_--rested upon a small sapphire
bead. The coat had embroidered plaques decorated with the crane for
the civil, and the tiger for the military mandarins. The belt was
ornamented with four plaques and a silver button.

The fifth class had a rock crystal button--_white transparent_--resting
on the small sapphire bead; the embroidered plaques were decorated
with the white pheasant for the civil, and the bear as the symbolical
emblems. The belt was similar to the last class. The sixth class had a
button of white polished opalescent shell--_white opaque_--with a blue
feather. On the embroidered plaques of the coat were the emblems of a
stork for the civil, and a little tiger for the military divisions.
Four tortoise-shell plaques and a silver button ornamented the belt.
The seventh class had a button of plain gold--_yellow brilliant_--on a
crystal bead. The embroidered coat had a partridge for the decoration
of the civil division, and a rhinoceros for the military. The belt
was ornamented with four round silver plaques. The eighth class had
two buttons, one upon the other, of worked gold--_yellow opaque_. The
embroidered plaque of the coat bore the quail as the symbol of the
civil division, and the stork as the symbol of the military division.
The belt had four ram's head plaques and a silver button. The ninth
or last class had the second button of worked silver--_blank opaque_.
The embroidered coat showed the sparrow as the emblem of the civil
mandarins, and the sea-horse as the emblem of the military. Four black
horn plaques and a silver button decorated the belt.

It will be seen that Chinese porcelain decorated with figures such as
these dressed in their robes received the name of Mandarin china. The
actual word comes from the Portuguese "Mandar, to command." Much could
be said upon the subject of Chinese dress, as applied to porcelain in
decoration, but it is only necessary to contrast the style of the Ming
and the Tartar dresses.

The Ming long, flowing robes are held up with sashes, and the hair,
turned up over the head, is either covered with a soft head-dress or
with the Court ceremonial head-dress.

The Mandarin dress of the Tartar shows the robe principally, but there
are besides the pantaloons and the high boots with thick soles. The
hair is dressed in pigtail fashion, for from their earliest youth the
Chinese children are shaved. The boys are shaved all over the head
except at the top, and in the case of girls two tufts are left, one
over each ear. These facts, while furnishing no actual clue to the
age of Mandarin china, showed that at least it could not have been
manufactured before the Tartars came into power in 1644. Probably the
date of its manufacture is later.

We can understand that these Tartars, who had enforced their own dress
upon the conquered people, but who had at the same time adopted their
religion, would continue copying the holy persons such as the eight
immortals, the genii, &c., in the same dresses which had been in use
for hundreds of years. More than this, there seems to be a strong
element of truth in the statement that the Mandarin decoration was due
to the desire of the European traders to carry home porcelain which
should illustrate the people, and the style and the colour of their
clothes. If this is so, then the Yung-ching period would be the first
in which Mandarin china was produced. At any rate we do know that most
of it was made in Keen-lung's reign, and that the potters of the later
Emperors, to our own times, have been manufacturing large quantities
for commercial purposes.

In Mandarin china the figures vary in boldness and in general
character, but the colouring is of one class--pinks, reds, yellows,
blues, and greens, so distinct in tone as to receive the name of
Mandarin colours. The decoration of this kind of china includes boys
and men at games, such as kite-flying; warriors fighting, marching,
or resting; men and children in masks; figures walking, riding on
horses or on vehicles; lantern shows with scores of people, besides
many other designs. This Mandarin decoration is associated with great
varieties in the ground colours and patterns. Such are the swastika
ground, the red ground, the blue ground mottled over the glaze, and
the scroll ground. There are also many diaper patterns and a variety
of borders of flowers, butterflies, dragons, sometimes in low relief,
whilst often examples are met with in which the vases are recessed
so as to furnish a flat surface in which the decorative painting of
figures, flowers, and birds lies flat in a shaped compartment or
reserve, which may be joo-e-shaped, leaf-shaped, kakemono-shaped, or
makemono-shaped. In studying the vases given as illustrations these
varieties of shaped panels should be noted, as they are constantly used
in catalogue descriptions of the decoration. Amongst the most beautiful
vases of this period are the conical-shaped eggshell vases with short
necks, covered with the most delicate scroll work in gilt, having
large reserves decorated with Mandarin figures painted with the utmost
delicacy, and the small reserves with rose and other flowers most
carefully drawn.

The question has been raised as to whether transfer printing as a
mechanical process was ever applied to Oriental porcelain. In England,
Dr. Wall, of Worcester, is said to have invented transfer printing as
early as 1751, and Sadler and Green, of Liverpool, lay claim to the
honour of its discovery at about the same time, whilst on the Continent
a similar honour is claimed for the factory at Marieberg in 1760. There
is no proof that any blue and white Oriental china, except during the
most recent times, was ever decorated on a transfer-printed ground. All
of the blue and white Nankin and Canton ware was painted by hand under
the glaze. When we consider the immense amount of labour necessary
to keep up the supply of porcelain to Europe, and also to the United
States early in the nineteenth century, it is astonishing that no
process work showing transfer printing can be discovered, although the
invention must have spread to China before 1796 when Keen-lung died.

We shall treat of "_blanc de chine_" later, when we discuss the colours
of Oriental china, but it must be remembered that most of the Chinese
ware of this type was made during this period. Such were the statuettes
of Kwan-Yin and many other gods and goddesses. This cream-white
porcelain may date from any period even before Kang-he. The earliest
specimens are distinguished by being transparent, although thick, and
by the creamy smoothness of their glaze. Some authors, however, ascribe
the origin of this ware to the Keen-lung period.



  XII

  KEA-KING,
  TAOU-KWANG,
  AND THE
  LATER
  EMPERORS



CHAPTER XII

KEA-KING, TAOU-KWANG, AND THE LATER EMPERORS


KEA-KING (1796-1821).

When any country is disturbed by internal divisions or by external
invasion, the inhabitants pay less and less devotion to art. The reign
of this king was certainly disturbed. The people suffered from misrule,
and though the traditions of the Chinese potters did still keep up,
in a measure, the high standard of the previous reign, the neglect
of the governing bodies, of the Emperor and Court, took away much of
their devotion to the development of the porcelain so conspicuous
in Keen-lung's reign. The porcelain, however, remained good in the
quality of its paste, and now and then it reached excellence with
regard to the decoration, which became characterised by conventional
designs. Coloured enamels and gold were largely used for ornamentation,
the turquoise blue, "_famille rose_," and a good blue-green were
conspicuous. Mandarin china still continued to be made, though the
modelling was comparatively clumsy and the paste thick, still, however,
having the wavy surface always noticeable in Mandarin china, which was,
as we have said, largely made for the European market. The influence
of Western art made itself felt in the decoration. Many scenes were
painted with European subjects, especially in the small reserves or
vignettes. Some of the finest forms, too, of the early Sèvres and early
Wedgwood and Adams' styles were copied and decorated with festoons
of raised husks with a landscape in a medallion. This wavy porcelain
seems to be specially connected with a comparatively thick blue enamel
and a style of decoration usually called Lowestoft. Of course it is
not Lowestoft. Lowestoft was a soft paste porcelain imitating early
Bow and Worcester. The porcelain of the Keen-lung period, then, might
be named the porcelain of commerce. European forms of pieces not used
by the Chinese themselves are often found. The process seemed to have
been something like this. The East India Company, all the captains and
officers of the East India Company's ships, when visiting China took
with them orders for services to be decorated with crests or armorial
bearings, with English landscapes, or with sporting or religious
subjects. Blue and white was made in vast quantities owing to the
demand from Europe. It needs but one sentence of description. It was
poor. About this time the Chinese potters copied the Japanese. Imari
ware, with its flowers in conventional forms, various Celadons in blue,
lilac, grey-white on good fine porcelain, are traced to this reign.
Perhaps it was most celebrated for the reproductions of the porcelain
of earlier periods in which both pattern and mark were constantly
recopied.


TAOU-KWANG (1821-1851).

In this period there was a special development of the enamelled rice
bowl, although beautiful vases so decorated with enamel as to cover
the whole surface are not uncommon. The use of two shades of green
produces a very pleasing and comparatively new effect. Unfortunately,
the Chinese potteries, as in the previous reign, seemed to have
devoted much of their time to reproductions. The rice bowls were often
decorated in graviata, graffito, or sgraffito patterns, in which the
enamel was scratched with a point into a variety of twists and turns,
forming beautiful variations from the ordinary plain enamel surface.
This surface was also painted with flowers and figures. The process
seems to have been first adopted by Keen-lung, and many pieces have
the Keen-lung mark. In a set of four very fine examples which came
under our notice three had the Keen-lung mark, and the fourth that
of Taou-kwang. In all probability the majority of them were made in
the later reign and the earlier mark was copied. The copying during
this reign included all the older forms from the Kang-he period, and
it excelled in reproducing the "_famille verte_" and the "_famille
rose_." Perhaps the Yung-ching green enamel received the most special
attention, for the outline of the design is often found first painted
in blue under the glaze, so that the blue shows through the transparent
surface enamels and gives a bluish tint to the decoration generally,
which was quite the effect produced by a similar decoration in
Yung-ching's reign.

To the same class of rice bowls belong the pierced porcelains with
patterns filled with glaze. Here the rice pattern is cut through the
paste while the paste was soft. Then as usual the blue decoration was
applied painted on by hand, and certain parts received a coating of
white enamel before the whole was carefully glazed. The skilful glazing
is shown by the evenness with which the pattern, in glaze, matches
the general surface of the piece itself. The rice or star pattern is
the most common of all these pierced porcelains. Some specimens have,
however, a diaper pattern, and more rarely a dragon design with flowers
and leaves, so cut that portions only are filled with glaze, which
gives a very unusual and striking effect. These pierced specimens are
not supposed to be earlier than the eighteenth century, and of course
they may be very much later.


HEEN-FUNG (1851-1862).

Very little porcelain was made during this reign, owing to the Tai-ping
rebellion, during which King-te-chin was destroyed. The first Chinese
war with England took place in 1860. The rebellion ended in the next
reign.


TUNG-CHE (1862-1875).

With peace after the wars the manufacture of porcelain was resumed.
Generally, the best pieces were copied from the antique, though a pale
turquoise ground with decoration of flowers and butterflies was made
for exportation. Sepia drawings showed some distinction, but there was
no new departure of importance. This period is modern, and these later
Emperors are only mentioned in order to bring the history up to date,
and to call attention to the marks both on ordinary and seal character.


KWANG-SHIU (1875- ).

In the present reign much more importance has been given to the
improvement of porcelain, which is largely made for export, high prices
being obtained for imitations which are sold as antiques. The largest
customer is the United States of America. The intense conservatism of
the Chinese has been largely broken down by the influence of outside
pressure. The almighty dollar holds the field. Yet, if it is still true
that "for ways that are dark and tricks that are vain," "the heathen
Chinee" is "peculiar," he holds no monopoly of such qualities. Western
civilisation runs him close. On the other hand, the honour of a Chinese
in trade is generally of a high standard, and the people have a natural
instinct for artistic decoration, which has come to them as the legacy
of ages past. And with this power they have, too, an unlimited supply
of the very finest kaolin. Let us hope that happier times will bring
back the glories of the past.



  XIII

  CHINESE
  WHITE
  PORCELAIN



CHAPTER XIII

CHINESE WHITE PORCELAIN


M. Gasnault, the friend and pupil of M. Jacquemart, has put on record
the results of their united work in the Museum at Limoges. The
collector is able to see how he has tried to reconcile and combine the
elements of a complete history of Oriental china, how he has collected
specimens of all the manufactures, even the smallest, how Oriental
porcelain holds the first place in the collection, being represented
by most remarkable specimens of industry which in the Celestial Empire
to-day is on the decline, after having had a brilliant career through
so many ages, that it seemed as if nothing could have led to its
failure.

If the Chinese have not yet returned to that state where they have
forgotten entirely the art of making porcelain, at least they have
lost the secret of those admirable productions--the forms so pure,
the glazes so marvellous, the enamels so sparkling, the decoration so
diversified, and the paintings so exquisite--which remained with us as
monuments of an age when there must have been such art in the Ceramic
world as has never been seen since. It will be advantageous to say
something about the collections at Limoges and the lessons we may learn
from them. The first place in the collection is given to the white
china known throughout the world as "_blanc de chine_." This kind of
porcelain was highly esteemed in France, and the Oriental artists and
potters from a material which seemed to offer but little resource
proceeded to work wonders. By the side of the small sacrificial cups
destined for religious uses with the glassy glaze and a tone which
recalls that of wax or ivory, in the form of the horn of the rhinoceros
or of the flowers of the lotus, which was the plant pre-eminently
sacred, one is able to admire examples perfect in execution of which
the texture is so thin and fine that it seems dangerous even to touch
them. The greater part is decorated with ornaments in white or in white
slip, which by a few simple strokes, or by a delicate tracery, almost
inconceivably beautifies the limited surface. Garlands and detached
bouquets of flowers have been engraved upon the wet or the dry clay so
finely--indeed, so exquisitely, that they cannot be seen unless held
up to the light. Here the sacred dragon winds round the cup as if he
wished to defend it from profane hands, and a Buddhist god only appears
when a coloured liquid is poured into the cup, which then shows up the
lines, before invisible, engraved in the paste.

Again, we find little bottles decorated with dragons and symbolical
dogs of Fô or Buddha cut deeply into the paste with a patience and
an art unequalled in the productions of the Western Hemisphere. The
statuettes of the gods and goddesses are also made in this white
porcelain, amongst whom is one to whom we have before referred,
Kwan-Yin, a mysterious being, the personification of mercy and
goodness, who protects the sailors and saves them from shipwreck, who
takes pity on those who suffer in hell and intercedes for them. She
also gives children to those who are sterile.

Kwan-Yin has many attributes and emblems. Sometimes she has a diadem
on her head ornamented with images of Buddha, or she rests seated on
a throne of lotus in memory of the miraculous bridge which the gods
constructed to enable her to cross the sea. The god of riches is often
found as a white statuette, so is Poutai, the god of contentment, with
a broad smile and round, uncovered stomach; Cheou, or Chow, the god of
longevity, with an enormous bald head. Other figures of emperors and
empresses are all of the same type, with the accompanying Ho-Ho birds.

[Illustration: KWAN-YIN. WHITE PORCELAIN.]

Amongst the finest white porcelain is one kind having a hard and
compact paste which lends itself easily to the mould, but is not
suitable to the turning wheel. Nearly all the pieces of this ware are
moulded into figures, incense burners, &c., and on looking into the
interior the roughness and unevenness of the paste can be easily seen,
even the marks left by the fingers of the workmen are quite plain,
whilst the bottom always preserves the imprint of the canvas on which
these pieces are placed after having been moulded. Then there is a
white biscuit class, very rare, often having two walls or divisions,
of which the outer one only is biscuit, reticulated or pierced with a
fine network or trellis of various patterns, through which the interior
wall can be seen. Amongst the trellis many Chinese characters are to be
found, such as the emblem of longevity, the mark called Cheou, Chow, or
Show. We shall have more to say of reticulated porcelain later on, but
here we may mention that the reticulation on the outer wall is often
elaborate, and the cover glazes give a variety of colours equal to that
found upon ordinary china. The whole white porcelain family, whether
we consider the beautiful creamy ivory ware, or the dead white, or the
blue tinged white, is rarely marked, and when a mark is used generally
it is a seal character moulded or cut in the paste. A very rare form
of decoration is met with in white, but only occasionally. The surface
is covered with minute white points like the points shown in shagreen,
only it is not green, but white. Such china has been termed "_chair de
poule_," or chicken skin. It may be noticed that these points are not
enamelled, either because they were applied upon the glaze or because
the enamel ran off them in the firing.



  XIV

  SINGLE
  OR SELF-COLOUR
  GLAZES



CHAPTER XIV

SINGLE OR SELF-COLOUR GLAZES


Following the white in order is the remarkable series of single colour
glazes of various hues, beginning with the sea-green or Celadon,
which is a pale green, or even a greyish green; and the yellow,
especially the Imperial yellow, which is reserved for the Emperors
of the Tsing dynasty; camellia-green like the leaves of that plant,
painted in proper colours; light brown, a bright colour with quite a
metallic lustre, was known as "_feuille morte_," or dead leaf colour.
So copper-reds give various self-colours such as haricot, various
_flambés_, and through a long range it reaches eventually a pure
black. Then there are the blues, covering a range no less varied and
interesting. Turquoise-blue, a tint which can only be obtained by
applying it upon the biscuit china which has already passed through the
kiln; the other blues, _fouetté_, _soufflé_, _trempé_, are brushed on,
blown on, or dipped according to the method used in applying the colour
glaze. Another way of applying the glaze was by its being powdered on
through a fine gauze or dabbed on by means of a wet swab dipped in the
colour which was to be used as the single colour glaze.

[Illustration: "SANG DE BŒUF." SELF-COLOUR.

A tall _sang de bœuf_ fungus-growth, wonderfully true to nature. Yung
Ching period. This example bears on the base the mark of Ching-hwa
(1465-1488). Round the base and under the feet it is lacquered. The
fungus, which grows at the root of trees, when dried, was so durable
that it became the symbol of longevity and immortality. Hence large
specimens are preserved in the temples, and it is both painted and
modelled with figures of the immortals. It may also be found in the
mouth of the deer, another emblem of longevity. The example given is
in the finest _sang de bœuf_ with all the characteristics of that
lovely Celadon colour. This brilliant red was a Kang-he discovery. It
is included in the Lang-yao class, being so called after Lang Ting-tso,
superintendent of King-te-chin.

The special point to which attention should be given is the lacquered
pattern round the base, which is inlaid with pearl shells, in the
style known as "_Lac burgauté_." In Chinese porcelain this process is
uncommon, but in Japanese porcelain and pottery cloisonné enamel is
frequent, applied either with or without the metal cloisons. Lacquer,
too, may be frequently found as a coating--black with flowers in gold
and silver; black with Ho-Ho birds and flowers; a rich red; brown;
green; gold, &c. Nearly all of these pieces are comparatively modern
Japanese ware, being made largely at Kioto, Seto, Yashima, Yamato,
and other factories in Japan. To this class, which includes porcelain
in combination with other substances, must be ascribed those delicate
Japanese, egg-shell, covered cups and saucers, painted with flowers
in colours, and having an outside covering of the finest basket-work.
These are made chiefly at Yamato.]

[Illustration]

The purples as glazes are no less rich in variations, and in these
tints the Chinese have never been rivalled. These self-colour pieces
are decorated with symbolical figures or sacred animals, whilst flowers
and inscriptions from the sacred books are found as a decoration in
gold, which unfortunately lies upon the glaze and is more or less
easily removed by hard wear. Again, similar designs are engraved in
the paste, or modelled in relief and painted with such colours as
are able to resist the temperature of the furnace. Many pieces have
spaces reserved in white for further decoration, and sometimes the
decoration is executed in white slip on the paste itself after its
first firing has brought it to the biscuit state. These lovely single
colour glazes are certainly amongst the finest Oriental specimens
of porcelain which are worthy of the collector's attention; their
softness, their brilliancy, their range of colour alike entitle them
to a high place in any scheme of decorative treatment either in the
home or on the collector's shelves. We call them china or porcelain
vases, &c., and in that we are only following the Chinese usage, though
the colour glaze is often so thick as to hide the material or body
of the paste altogether. The thickness prevents any transmission of
light; they have an opaque more or less coarse clay white or red body,
and amongst our English products would be classified as stoneware.
But the colour is _the_ thing, and here we shall repeat ourselves a
little, because it is necessary to really understand not alone what the
colours are, but generally the order of their invention. The oldest
colour was, as we have said, Celadon, or sea-green, which reached a
high state of perfection about 1500. No doubt there are many Celadon
pieces of great antiquity still awaiting identification. It was in the
Seuen-tih period of the Ming dynasty that this Celadon became a famous
product. The porcelain is very thick, and to this thickness it owes its
preservation. Like the English ironstone china, it stands hard wear.
All the Persians and the Turks value Celadon not for its intrinsic
beauty, but because they thought it to be infallible as a test for
poison in their food.

The yellow glaze is the colour adopted by the present Tsing dynasty
as the Imperial colour. Fine specimens covered with yellow may then
be regarded as having been destined principally for the use of the
Emperors, but it does not follow that the use of this colour was
proscribed in the decoration, either as a yellow or as a partial tint.
Blue was one of the highly esteemed colours as well as one of the
earliest. We have dealt with blue as an under-glaze decoration. It was
not alone used for decorative purposes in drawings of figures, birds,
animals, foliage, and landscape, but it was used in various forms as a
body colour either on the biscuit itself, before glazing, for with the
glaze as a self-colour, as a Celadon, in fact--that is, the blue was
applied _in_ the glaze or _in_ the enamel.

We read that in 954 A.D. the Emperor Chin-Tsung ordered some vases to
be made which should be "blue as the sky after rain when seen between
the clouds," and it is said that his celebrated porcelain was of this
blue, fine like a looking-glass, thin as paper, and giving a sound like
a musical stone, the only defect being that the feet of the pieces were
of a coarse yellow clay. Alas for the romantic story!

The most recent catalogue of the Musée Guimet at Paris, drawn up by the
national experts with the assistance of such Chinese experts as were
available, states that the story is all a mistake. The word which was
translated "blue" should have been translated "green," which brings us
back again to Celadon.

During the Sung dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) it appears that a fine red was
discovered from which porcelain was made resembling chiselled red jade.
This may be the celebrated "_sang de bœuf_," which is red, but, as we
have seen, red with qualifications.

The purple or lilac glaze before referred to seems to have been made
quite as early as the Sung dynasty, but with this, as with all the
other glazes, colour alone is no indication of age.

About the year 1600 there lived that famous potter called Chow, whose
fame was obtained by his excellence in skilfully imitating ancient
vases. All the records that have come to us show very clearly that from
the earliest times the potters were in the habit of copying the works
of their predecessors. So well was this continually done that they were
able to impose upon the best experts of their own country.

The brown glazes, according to Père d'Entrecolles in a letter dated
1712, were at that time quite recent inventions, and he applied the
same remarks to the coffee-colour glazes. The black glaze has been
noted. It has several varieties--the dull black itself, the dull black
glazed over with green so as to make a bright black giving a green
tinge only at the edges, and the Tsing black, which is an uncommon
brilliant black familiarly known as mirror black.

[Illustration: "CLAIRE DE LUNE" SELF COLOUR. CRACKLE PORCELAIN.

Another production of the Chinese which has never been successfully
produced in Europe is this crackled or crackle ware. They were very
proficient in producing regulated crackles, large, small, or medium,
and that which was no doubt at first accidental became one of the most
important and successful means of decoration. Some pieces, indeed,
are really marvellous, showing successive bands of crackle ornament,
coloured decoration, self-colour, and white, others have a double
network--_double réseau_--with the crackle coloured simultaneously in
two tones. Historically this ware is of great antiquity, being noted
during the Sung dynasty (960-1270). As a rule, the clay employed is
very coarse, of a buff or a pale red colour merging into white. It
comes under the designation of porcelain because the Chinese do not
differentiate between that which is opaque and translucent.

The illustration, unfortunately, does not show the colour, the
beautiful _claire de lune_, which is so rare and so indescribable. The
specimen of _sang de bœuf_ given under "Self-colours" is, like this,
a fungus of the genus _Agaricus_, the emblem of longevity, because it
was practically indestructible. It was also emblematical of fertility.
Emerson wrote, "Nobody cares for planting the poor fungus; so Nature
shakes down from the gills of one poor _agaric_ countless spores." The
fungus is used as a mark, as decoration, and, as we have shown, in vase
form. Probably its shape and symbolism gave rise to the Joo-e sceptre
and to the wide adoption of the Joo-e-head form in ornament. Note that
red-coloured crackle glazes are rarely found, and that apple-green,
turquoise-blue, and _clair de lune_ are the most desirable colours in
crackle. Feen-lung.]

[Illustration]

There are many other self-colours or single glazes to which fanciful
names are given. We have referred to "_clair de lune_" and the peach
bloom. It is very doubtful whether there is any real value in the
names themselves, so we advise our readers to examine specimens in the
Museums, when such colours as liver colour, pigeon's blood, crushed
strawberry, &c., will be found to be purely arbitrary. Perhaps the
widest term applied to these variegated self-colours with a single
glaze is splashed or shot silk. These various mottled or splashed
glazes are named by the Chinese Yao-pien, by the French _flammé_ or
_flambé_. They have curious yet very beautiful veinings like flames of
a fire, hence the name given to them by the French. One colour runs
into the other in the most capricious and yet in the most charming
manner. The first results were no doubt accidental, but soon experience
gave certainty to the master mind of the potter, who was able to define
and measure the combination of the various metallic oxides which would
give him exactly the colouration he desired. The glaze of these pieces
was usually applied upon the dried vessel by dipping or brushing or
powdering, or, as some say, by blowing on with a tube. Or, again, it
may have been a combination of these processes. The potter now had
the means of producing an endless variety of splashing by the proper
application of the prepared glazes: of violet and blue; of turquoise
passing into green; of sea-green, brown, and blue; of maroon, green,
and white; of, in fact, any colours within the range of his knowledge.
He only had to be sure of the furnace. He had to know how his metallic
oxides would combine under the action of heat. The glaze upon vessels
having intricate designs in relief was applied only after the potter
was sure that the pot in its biscuit state was suitable and correct in
form. With most ornaments the danger of damage was thus considerably
reduced. When the biscuit was withdrawn from the kiln the coloured
glaze could be easily applied before the second firing took place. We
have noticed that a much lower temperature was needed in the second
firing and that the heat of a muffle-kiln would suffice. As in the case
of the single glazes, a number of fanciful names have been applied to
the ware, such as tiger-skin, iron rust, &c.

[Illustration: CELADON GLAZES. SINGLE COLOURS AND SPLASHED.

The coloured glazes in the pieces of one colour which we have described
are called "self" or "whole" colour, and they were applied directly
on the dry paste or body so that the whole was fired at one time. The
great heat required for this process caused variations in the tints,
which were partly due to the running of the glaze itself. Where the
glaze lay thickest, the colour would be deepest. Practice led to
perfection, so that the Chinese potters acquired skill in using the
colour with precision and, further, they were able to extend the range
of their operations by using several colours on one piece. Greens of
many hues, blues in various shades, all kinds of reds and yellows,
purples and browns gave to this class great variety and brilliancy.
It must be borne in mind that these coloured glazes were also applied
to biscuit porcelain, that is, to white porcelain, without any glaze,
which had been fired in the kiln for the purpose of fixing the shape.
In this division the paste is generally much thinner than in ordinary
pieces of Celadon, and much more elaboration was given to engraved and
embossed patterns and to reticulated or pierced work. Moreover, it, was
easy to leave some parts of the design in untouched biscuit.

Our illustration shows a set of three splashed Vases (two flat-shaped
and one hexagonal) painted with enamels of green, yellow, and
aubergine, in blotches on a white ground. The handles, which are
monsters, are in apple-green. This style of decoration is known as
tiger-spotted or splashed. Kang-he period.]

The process of decoration by blowing is said to produce a curious
colouring. Take, for instance, red blown on blue. Pieces so decorated
appear to be covered with a soft violet glaze, but on examination it
will be found that the opaque blue is sown all over with minute red
rings formed as a network resembling the finest lace. By the use of
a simple magnifying-glass these rings can be easily traced. It seems
difficult to produce such a marvellous decoration, and yet it is quite
simple. The colour blown on that is the red, which is driven with force
sufficient to form minute bubbles, which burst by the heat of the kiln,
and by their bursting form little rings varying from the size of a
pin's head to that of a pea.

It will be well to give just a little time to a summary of the
colours which are used on Oriental porcelain of all kinds, first in
the under-glaze blue and red, second in the single colour glazes,
including all those which are known by the terms splashed, variegated,
transmuted, or _flammé_ or _flambé_. Preserving the same order set out
in the colour enamels which are used in over-glaze decorations, we find
that the blacks, as before stated, were three in number--a common dull
black, a mirror or metallic black, and the first of these covered by a
thin transparent green glaze, so as to make a shining black. The dull
black was produced from manganese which had some impurities in it,
whilst the mirror black was made of manganese having cobalt in it mixed
with white glaze and an earth containing iron.

The various greens, such as the dark green or _gros vert_, sea-green
or Celadon, apple-green, emerald-green, pea-green, cucumber, and
snake-skin were all derived from iron, copper, and a little cobalt.

[Illustration: PEACH-BLOOM, OR PEACH-BLOW.

The under-glaze reds belonging to the Celadon class differ from the
under-glaze painted reds. The Celadon colours are applied in and with
the glaze, and the other class is, like under-glaze blue, painted on
the biscuit china and then glazed. The range of Celadon reds is very
great, from "Peach-blow," commonly termed "Peach-bloom," to "_sang de
bœuf_." About sixteen of these beautiful shades are within this range.
"Peach-blow" is used as a self-colour glaze, covering the whole of the
piece, but, like all other colours, it is employed also with other
coloured glazes in the decoration of porcelain--white or Celadon. Dr.
Bushell describes peach-blow as "a pale red, becoming pink in some
parts; in others, mottled with russet spots displayed upon a background
of light green Celadon tint." This and many other colours were invented
by Ts'ang Yeng-hsüan, the director of the Imperial works towards the
end of Kang-he's reign. Around the feet of many fine vases of the
Yung-Ching period there are waves in this darkish red, with occasional
flecks of green. In these cases the body of the vases is white.
Examples occur where peach-blow is used as a Celadon colour in pieces
decorated with blue under the glaze.

On the left is a Vase with large bulging body and short expanding neck
of a clear white glaze, on which are blossoms painted in peach-bloom,
with leaves and branches in blue. Kang-he period (1661-1722). Height
with stand, 10½ in.

A circular shaped Vase with tapering neck, expanding mouth, and a
bulbous body. This is decorated with pomegranate fruits in peach-bloom;
the leaves and stalks in rich blue; the whole on a Celadon ground.
Kang-he.]

The many shades of blue-dark blue and that peculiar tint known as
mazarine, powder-blue, sapphire-blue, sky-blue, turquoise-blue,
peacock-blue, "_clair de lune_," and kingfisher-blue--were all secured
from cobalt and copper mixed in various proportions.

In dealing with the important red family we have to distinguish between
the reds derived from copper and those derived from iron and from
gold. The range of tints is very extensive. Those derived from copper
give the more or less fanciful names of "_sang-de-bœuf_," "_sang de
poulet_," "_sang de pigeon_," crimson, crushed strawberry, maroon,
liver colour, and that curious tint known as peach bloom or peach
blow. The reds secured from iron are vermillion, the well-known coral
and the tomato tints. From gold, those beautiful shades of colour to
which we have referred as being crowning triumphs of the Yung-ching and
Keen-lung periods were procured. These, known as ruby, rose, and pink,
were really covering a large range of colours from a very faint pink to
a red purple.

The yellows have a no less extended range. At the head of the list we
find Imperial yellow, then citron or lemon-yellow, eel-skin yellow,
straw, canary, mustard, orange, and sulphur-yellow. Thus we see the
yellows vary from a faint tinge of that colour to a strong shade which
seems to include a little red. All these yellows were derived from
antimony, and the variation was largely secured by the addition of iron.

The next class, the brown colour, was derived from iron or from clay
in which iron in various proportions was present. These browns include
various shades such as bronze, chestnut, chamois, chocolate, coffee,
"_café-au-lait_," dead leaf--"_morte feuille_"--old gold.

The colours on English china for the purposes of contrast are given
next. They were derived from oxides of various metals in various
proportions. The blacks are secured from cobalt, nickel, manganese,
iron, and chromium. The greens are variously derived; the yellow-green
and the emerald-green are secured from chromium and sodium; the
blue-green or celest from chromium, cobalt, silicon, and zinc; whilst
other greens are derived from copper and chromium.

Blues come from cobalt and silicon, except the mat blue, which was
procured from cobalt, lime, and zinc. The reds were made from gold
and iron, which secured many shades of those colours. The blacks were
derived from chromium, iron, and manganese. Another class of European
colours--the purples--came from cobalt, chromium, tin, and calcium.



  XV

  CHINESE
  CRACKLE



CHAPTER XV

CHINESE CRACKLE


The crackle porcelain is a distinct class, though it will be found that
many of the pieces having a single glaze are also crackled. They are
covered with a clay or enamel which having been burnt in the kiln is
taken out and subjected to the action of a current of cold air, or they
are dipped in cold water, so that by unequal contraction cracks are
formed with a regularity which, although in the first place accidental,
became, in the skilful hands of the Chinese, science. Small crackles
like the herring's roe, and large crackles like the ice cracks, could
be produced by the potter as he chose. The cracks were filled with
Indian ink, red or black, which made them stand out clearly. By further
burning, possibly at a lower temperature, the entire surface seems to
be covered with a clear glaze quite transparent, which to the touch
offers no unequalities of surface. These wonderful potters have so far
pushed this unique form of decoration, never successfully imitated in
Europe, that it became one of the most important and striking means
of decoration. Some of their work in this direction is marvellous and
shows successive bands of enamel or glaze, crackled, self-colour and
white all in one piece. Other pieces show a crackled network of
two tints. Some of our English potters are making good attempts to
imitate the fine old Chinese "_famille verte_," and surely for crackled
porcelain there is still inspiration to be drawn from the East. The
glaze was of white or coloured; the body was somewhat coarse in paste,
resembling red or white stoneware. History takes us back to the Sung
dynasty, when this kind of ware was first known, and the accidental
discovery was converted into an exact method of working. A pretty form
of crackle resembles the scales of a trout, and is by the French called
_truité_. All the colours that were employed as single glazes in that
class seem to have been similarly employed as crackle glazes, with the
possible exception of red, which did not lend itself to this process;
all the Celadon shades and the blues, including turquoise-blue. The
most celebrated crackle is that known as apple-green crackle. This ware
has, in addition to the beautiful effect of the crackling, a lovely
soft tint of green, which was applied as the glaze.

[Illustration: VASES MOUNTED IN ORMOLU. JONES COLLECTION, VICTORIA
AND ALBERT MUSEUM. TWO CRACKLE VASES AND ONE IN COLOURED ENAMELS.]



  XVI

  BLUE
  UNDER
  THE GLAZE



CHAPTER XVI

BLUE UNDER THE GLAZE. NANKIN BLUE


Many collectors are immensely attracted by what is known as the old
blue and white. It is such a widely distributed product, extending over
a long series of reigns. We noted before that it reached its highest
excellence in the Kang-he period. It was at first reserved for the
Court, for Emperors and high dignitaries, but since Kang-he's reign
blue and white may be said to belong to all dates, and the blue and
white ginger jars of the present time which may be bought for one or
two guineas show how the demand has been a constant one throughout the
whole of the time. At a very early period after the Dutch had imported
this blue and white from China their potters set about imitating it and
produced the fine old blue and white delft which is now valuable, but
there is no specimen of delft which reaches anything like the price of
the old Chinese blue and white from which it was copied. The honorific
inscriptions, the sacred emblems, the immortals and their attendants
were quite meaningless to the mind of the Dutch potter, just as they
were to the Italian, who was also an Oriental copyist. To the Oriental
the decoration of each piece meant something, something it may be of
their history or of their religion. High thoughts were set out as
inscriptions, and inspirations were given by the story on the vase or
dish, which when represented on a European copy became only a scheme
of decoration, or at its best a germ from which an original scheme of
native work might have its birth. So the Dutch, though they at first
made delft ware in servile imitation of Chinese patterns, soon saw
their way to utilise purely Dutch designs and with these to produce
work as fine as that which they had made under the inspiration of the
Chinese model.

At King-te-chin, the classical home of porcelain, a city with 3,000
kilns, the best of the blue and white was made; and although there is a
large class called Nankin blue which must not be neglected, the latter,
in decoration, is immensely inferior to the products of the Imperial
factories. It is quite certain that there were many other factories
besides those at King-te-chin which produced porcelain, but history
leaves few records of them, so that it would be quite fair to include
Nankin blue as a product of King-te-chin perhaps decorated at Nankin.
It is quite interesting to note how at first this blue and white, now
so valued, was not esteemed by Europeans with the exception of the
Dutch. Much of it was redecorated on the glaze and the pattern burnt in
so as to hide the decoration.

[Illustration: BLUE AND WHITE.

(_a_) A pair of tall blue and white trumpet-shaped Beakers. Under the
neck are four shield-shaped panels connected with an arabesque design;
below this is a broad band ornamented with conventional flowers running
round the body. Towards the feet are the stiff leaves of the sweet-flag
running down to the base. The whole done in a liquid, translucent blue
on a most beautiful white ground. Kang-he period. The sweet-flag is
often used for the decoration of porcelain vases, &c., and because its
leaves are long and slender and come to a point the Chinese use them
to represent swords, which, indeed, they resemble in general shape.
On the morning of the first day of the fifth month every family nails
up a few leaves of this plant on each side of the doors and windows
of the house, so that when the evil spirits come near, they see the
leaves, which they mistake for swords, and are thus frightened off. The
superstitions of the people as well as their religion are put under
obligation to furnish designs for the potter, in which the same idea
is represented in a permanent form. In fact, only when we are fully
cognisant of Chinese mythology shall we fully appreciate the wonderful
stories set out in their porcelain. When will the Chinese connoisseur
place before us his stores of knowledge?

(_b_) A pair of Butter Dishes and Covers in fine quality blue and
white. The dishes and lids have the four seasons design, which are
separated with a trellis-work diaper pattern. Note the difference
between the two diaper patterns. The handles are coming from the mouth
of a monster. Kang-he period.]

[Illustration: BLUE AND WHITE.

(_a_) A fine quality blue and white Beaker vase with expanding neck and
bulging body. The neck is ornamented with blue bands and flowers; the
body divided into four panels and filled in alternately with domestic
utensils, flowers, and foliage. Kang-he.

(_b_) A blue and white Water-ewer and Cover, of fine quality and
elegant shape, decorated with "Lange-Lysen," domestic utensils, and
landscapes. Seal mark, "Ching-Hwa." Kang-he period.

Blue was employed for under-glaze decoration amongst the Chinese from
time immemorial, though scarcely a specimen earlier than the Ming
period can be identified with certainty, owing to the copying and
recopying that has been continually practised by the Chinese. True, we
often see the Ming marks, say of Ching-hwa or Kea-tsing, but probably
the best of them are of Kang-he origin. Even if the pieces are really
old they will be often found re-decorated with modern colours. Perhaps
amongst the blue and white of the Ming period, those pieces decorated
with the soft but rich "Mohammedan" blue, as it is called, are the
best. Yet, though the colour is never flat or dead, there are certain
qualities missing which are quite charming in the later Kang-he. The
gradation and modulation of the blue, indeed, even the quality of the
blue itself, are all better in the later pieces. Whether, again, the
fine Kang-he blue was made early or late in the period, lasting from
1662-1722, is a further matter of doubt. Our readers will remember
that in 1677 and for some years after no date marks were allowed to
be inscribed, so that only patient study and careful observation will
enable any one to place the old blue and white.]

[Illustration: BLUE AND WHITE.

These specimens of blue and white Vases answer the tests which are
applied to the best porcelain decorated with different designs of
flowers, trees, birds, &c., in blue, painted under the glaze. What
are the tests? First, the material forming the paste or body must be
so fine as to give a perfect surface. The surface must be a brilliant
white when covered by the glaze. The drawing and painting should reveal
the best qualities of cobalt blue. The shape of the piece must leave
nothing to be required. Now, it is well known that blue and white was,
and is, the most common of all Oriental porcelain, and modern work is
good, so that it becomes quite easy to make mistakes; in fact, it would
not be too much to say that old blue and white is most difficult to
judge. Though the glaze is so much a part of the paste that it lasts
practically for ever, yet it does get slightly dulled; the extreme
brilliancy of the new pieces contrasts with the softer and more
beautiful old porcelain. The glaze should not be too thick, for the
fine, even quality of the paste is just as much an element as the glaze
in giving the old lustre. The blue decoration under the glaze shows a
perfect command of outline as well as colour. There is no soaking in
of the colour, but the outline is applied by the brush with absolute
equality.

The two specimen vases show "Lange-Lysen" or "Long Elizas" and flowers
in fluted lotus-shaped medallions covering the whole surface, except
under the lip and neck, where there are two bands of triangle-work
diaper pattern. The mounts are in French ormolu, Louis XVI. Kang-he
period.]

[Illustration: BLUE AND WHITE. GINGER JARS.

There are several varieties of prunus (so-called hawthorn) blossom
in the well-known blue and white ginger jars. The one given in the
illustration has the pattern known as the "ascending stem" hawthorn.
Then there is a "descending stem," and a third pattern showing the head
or centre of the blooms arranged in groups. This is "blob hawthorn,"
and may consist of three small blooms around a central larger one,
forming, roughly, a triangular group; or four blooms again around
a central one, forming a cross-shaped group. This pattern is also
known as "spray hawthorn." The ground is a brilliant cobalt, in which
the colour is laid on very much as if it had been rubbed on by the
thumb, or still more, as if the colour, when wet, had been so rubbed.
Afterwards a network of blue lines was added on the blue ground. The
suggestion is that the "blob pattern" imitates the fallen prunus
blossoms resting upon the crackled ice in the early spring.

Our illustration shows a Ginger Jar with dome cover. The body decorated
with large and small sprays of white prunus, rising from the base and
falling from the shoulder. Very brilliant crackled ice ground of deep
cobalt; a narrow band of white encircling the mouth, with a line of
blue within, the space between decorated with a formal ornament. The
lid with similar decoration to that on the jar, the top encircled with
a ring of white. Height, 10 in. Period Kang-he. Value, about £2,000.
Record price, 5,900 guineas.]

[Illustration: BLUE AND OTHER COLOURS, UNDER-GLAZE.

The finest quality of blue and red painted under the glaze were
made during the Tsing dynasty, though during the Ching-hwa period
(1465-1488) of the Ming dynasty many good pieces having this decoration
must have been manufactured, as the mark of that reign is frequently
found in reproductions. Even Kang-he and Yung-ching copies have the
Ching-hwa mark.

The illustration--a conical Vase with short neck--shows the four-claw
dragons of the sky. These are drawn in blue, as far as the head and
body are concerned; the scales are in a soft red. The curious forms
meant to indicate clouds are in blue, whilst the fireballs are in
red. Variations occur where the nebulæ are in red, or even the whole
under-glaze may be covered with a bright coral-coloured ground, with
the decoration in blue. When this is so the pieces are classified as
"coral-red." Again, amongst the various shades of red and brown under
the glaze some are found in peach-coloured red. These form a class of
"peach ware." Notice the care with which the scales on the dragons are
drawn, and even from the photograph the white seems wonderfully pure.
Yung-ching period.

The dragon decoration sometimes represents the _li_ or dragon of the
sea swimming in the water or rising from the waves. It was from such
a dragon that Fuh-hi (2852-2738 B.C.) learnt and developed the eight
diagrams or symbols called the Pa-kwa, which see under "Symbols." The
Pa-kwa is used for decoration, usually as a raised design, seldom as a
mark. The dragon is never used as a mark.]

[Illustration: RED UNDER THE GLAZE.

This magnificent, tall, cylindrical Vase is an example of red--_rouge
de fer_--under the glaze, with enamel colours in exquisite harmony
applied over the glaze. The merest glance will reveal how artistically
the decorator applied his design to the surface at his disposal. Each
branch, each leaf, has its value in the scheme of ornamentation. The
surface is well covered, but there is no overcrowding. The Vase is of
exquisite proportions, decorated on pure white glaze with a bold design
of Ho-Ho birds, the plumage of _rouge de fer_, green, yellow, and
aubergine; one bird is partly hidden by rocks drawn in various greens,
aubergine, and blue, whilst springing from the back are large flowering
branches of the peony flowers and blossoms. The drawing throughout is
of the highest merit. The flowers and boughs are shown in yellow, blue,
aubergine, creamy white, and black. Underneath the rocks and on the
left of the large bird is a large peony in _rouge de fer_ and foliage
in various greens, whilst on the right are two other flowers, one of
_rouge de fer_ and the other of fine stippled yellow with an aubergine
centre. The rest of the vase is decorated with a bold design of
flowering peach-bloom branches and other large flowers in deep _rouge
de fer_, aubergine, green, and yellow; the neck, which is divided from
the body of the vase by a narrow black band, contains peonies and other
flowers decorated in colours similar to the remainder of the vase.
Period, Kang-he.]



  XVII

  CLOBBER
  WARE, OR
  REDECORATED
  PORCELAIN



CHAPTER XVII

CLOBBER WARE, OR REDECORATED PORCELAIN


Many lovely specimens of blue and white with the Kang-he marks, with
the double rings or with the leaf symbol inside the double rings under
the glaze, genuine specimens of old Kang-he, have been irretrievably
spoilt by being plastered over with thick enamels of red, green, blue,
&c. The old English word "clobber" means a paste to conceal cracks in
shoes, and the pity of the clobber decoration was that the enamels,
having been burnt in, are to all intents and purposes irremovable.
Before me, as I write, is a Kang-he vase with a leaf symbol within the
double circle, showing a real old Kang-he blue and white production,
but unfortunately the clobberer has plastered coloured enamel over the
blue decoration, now faintly visible, and only where a transparent
green or pink glaze has been applied; the rest is absolutely hidden by
opaque glazes of rose and yellow, white, lilac, and blue, until the
character of the Oriental piece has been entirely destroyed. The number
of pieces so spoiled seemed to indicate that there was a demand for
clobber ware, or that, as we noted, blue and white was not popular,
or that it was imported for redecoration in the absence of white
ware which could be used for the same purpose. Chinese porcelain in
its white state was freely imported into Europe and decorated in the
factories of Holland, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as in this
country.

Every one who collects china is familiar with the so-called Lowestoft
decoration, not a thousandth part of which ever saw Lowestoft; in
fact, that researches which have been made at Lowestoft indicate that
the manufacture was soft paste resembling early Bow and Worcester.
Of course, some white Oriental china may have been decorated there,
though no traces of broken hard paste seem to have been found in
the excavations. It may be that Bow, Chelsea, and Worcester did
decorate white Oriental china, but the information we have on this
point is singularly weak and inconclusive. The clobber decoration is
not alone in enamel colours or gold, but even lacquer is used for
the same purpose. It is needless to say that the change is never to
the advantage of the piece, and often the under-glaze blue may be
seen peeping, as it were, reproachfully from beneath the overlying
transparent enamel.

Another, but similar name, is sometimes applied to this style of
decoration. It is said that an enameller named Globber--hence Globber
ware--redecorated white and blue porcelain with enamels at Soho during
the latter part of the eighteenth century.



  XVIII

  RETICULATED
  PORCELAIN



CHAPTER XVIII

RETICULATED PORCELAIN


The porcelain called reticulées comes into the category of blue and
white because some of it was decorated with blue under the glaze.
The pieces have double walls, of which the outside one is pierced
with a pattern, often a network of exceeding fineness, a lace-work in
porcelain through which may be seen the exquisite blue design upon the
internal wall. It seems just as if the potter had two pieces made to
fit at the top and bottom only. On the foundation piece--the internal
wall--he expended the art of decoration in blue. On the other piece,
even more care must have been shown in cutting the clay into delicate
tracery, so minute as to be marvellous. Then the fitting of the two
walls together was completed, and finally the firing process took
place. Such pieces are pre-eminent in curiosity, in interest and in
skill, and their variations are wonderful. Some are only blue and
white, some are blue and white with reserves in biscuit. All had the
outside wall pierced with a pattern. We are giving as illustrations two
magnificent pieces of reticulated porcelain, but these are coloured
with enamel colours.

[Illustration: RETICULATED INCENSE BURNER.

_Of Very Fine Quality._

Specially interesting and exceedingly valuable, this vase deserves
careful study. It is a pity that it cannot be given in all the beauty
of its colouring. At the top is a large panel containing the figure of
a man offering the "Fruit of Life" to one of the immortals, at whose
side is a deer; the remainder of this has rocks, foliage, a tree, and
clouds, richly enamelled in green, aubergine, blue, and _rouge de fer_;
the whole surrounded by a border of formal design in _rouge de fer_.
The remainder contains sixteen panels. Each of the top eight contains
a figure of the eight immortals with their various insignia; the robes
of the figures are enamelled in _rouge de fer_, aubergine, blue, black,
yellow, and various greens; whilst the lower portion has figures
of boys playing various games, similarly enamelled. Dividing each
panel is a broad band containing formal flowers and leaves in blue,
green, and black, on bright yellow, whilst at the top of the base and
bottom of the cover are aubergine bands with black tracery design and
formal flowers in _rouge de fer_, blue, and yellow. The whole of the
reticulated work is of brilliant yellow enamel. At the base is a broad
plain black band, above which is a design of Joo-e-heads in apple-green.

NOTE.--This example is believed to be the largest specimen of
reticulated work of the Ming period known to exist, and is equally
remarkable for the high quality of its artistic work.

From the Collection of G. R. Davies, Esq.]

[Illustration: VASE. RETICULATED PORCELAIN.

A very rare and fine quality reticulated bulbous-shaped Vase with
short neck. The body is decorated with figures, trees, &c., in a bold
design. The shoulder, which is supported from the top by a band of
blue, is decorated with various flowers and leaves. The base, which
is a conventional design, is also supported from the centre by dark
and light blue bands. The whole vase is brilliantly enamelled in
aubergine, blue, yellow, &c. Ming period. This piece is a specimen of
the coloured glazes on biscuit in which, after the piercing of the
pattern on the air-dried clay has been carried out, it is fired in
the kiln before being glazed. In classification this would be in the
"Celadon biscuit" class. The reticulation in this specimen, though not
so fine as in the other example which we have given, is very wonderful.
How skilful the potter must have been to carve such an intricate
pattern from a sun-dried vase! How each stroke of the tool must have
had careful attention, so that, whilst aiming at a lace-like effect,
the body of the vase should still be strong enough to bear the biscuit
firing without breaking! Of course care had to be exercised in the
painting, which was rarely in monochrome; generally, yellow, green,
blue, maroon, and aubergine were employed. Then the second firing took
place. In nearly all biscuit Celadon the paste or body is thinner than
in ordinary Celadon, because the pattern had to be cut into and through
it. To this class belongs the Ming Celadon, having the figures and
other ornament in relief.]



  XIX

  DECORATED
  WITH
  COLOURED
  ENAMELS



CHAPTER XIX

DECORATED WITH COLOURED ENAMELS


The section of porcelain which deals with decoration in colours is a
revelation of the ingenuity, art, and industry of the Chinese potter.
The difference between the Chinese productions and European china are
striking; in fact, they cannot be compared. With the Chinese, the
porcelain manufacture was a matter of custom, almost of religion. The
gift of a piece of porcelain marked every solemn ceremony--the new
year, the birthday, the marriage never passed without the presentation
of a cup or vase which bore an inscription or a symbol of good wishes,
or a character meaning either longevity or earthly happiness. Indeed,
the visitor to the Chinese home could see not only cups and vases,
but teapots, dishes, and plates with varied decoration and brilliant
colouring, each telling its own story. Sometimes the teapots were made
in the form of Chinese characters. On some pieces were the familiar
scenes of the home life or of the public life which give us glimpses of
the manners of a people, still imperfectly known and less understood,
who for centuries opposed the strongest barriers to the curiosity of
Europeans. On other pieces were depicted subjects drawn from the sacred
legends or from the principal scenes of well-known wars.

Then the birds and animals each with its meaning, each a symbol!
The peach blossom, the lotus, the dragon of the Emperors or of the
princes appear side by side with the kylin, the Korean lion or dog
of Fô, the sacred Ho-Ho birds, or Fong-Hoang, &c. On the plates and
dishes specimens of the Oriental flowers were spread out in all the
glory of vivid colour--peonies and chrysanthemums, lotus and azalea,
with insects and butterflies no less gorgeous and certainly no less
emblematical. Other specimens had for decoration rocks and trees with
birds of rich plumage, and fishes with scales of golden hue.

Amongst these dazzling enamel colours four are most attractive and
seem to dominate over all the others. Arranging them in families and
placing them in order of age, we should take the black family, the
green family, the yellow family, and the rose family. These all show
the brilliant tones of a perfected production, and singularly enough
they were, with one exception, ascribed to the Tsing dynasty; they
began to be made in the Kang-he period of that dynasty. Such was the
generally received opinion. Further investigation has shown that, with
the exception of the "_famille rose_," most of these were made during
the Ming dynasty, and attention is being drawn to this fact more and
more as time reveals many undoubtedly fine pieces of the older dynasty.
It may be objected that these fine pieces are later Chinese copies
with the old dates, and the objection has certainly some grounds,
but we must remember that the invention of translucid porcelain and
its decoration was quite fabulous with regard to its antiquity, and
we must further bear in mind that the regulations of the social and
political life of the Chinese, the organisation of the family, which
scarcely permitted the son to follow any other profession than that of
his father, perpetuated the trades of a calling or trade. The routine
practice, if this expresses the idea better, forbade all initiative in
the mere worker. Inspiration creating new forms and colours depended
upon the genius who presided over the Imperial manufactories. These
and other causes brought this result, that art and industry rested
almost stationary, reproducing the same types, the same forms, the
same decoration, which responded to the demands, habits and customs of
a people whose needs scarcely varied. Under these conditions, which
furnish food for reflection, when we inquire, "Is this old china or
not?" we must note that the mere inspection of hard porcelain made
of kaolin, which is almost unalterable with time, will never reveal
to the most expert the date of its creation. It is true that certain
pieces bear an inscription indicating this or that date, but the number
of these is very limited, for the use of date marks does not appear
to have been adopted by the Chinese before the end of the fifteenth
century. Although it may be objected that these marked specimens are
later Chinese copies, and that similarly decorated specimens have
simply the old dates recopied, it is quite possible that many of them
which are thought to have been imitations may be really old. It will
be difficult even for the expert to be certain in his differentiation
between fine old Ming and Kang-he.

Coming in the same period as the three Kang-he enamel colours are
the two underground glaze grounds powder-blue and coral-red. True
powder-blue is Kang-he, but it has been copied, and badly, right on
to our own times, whilst in coral red--"_rouge de fer_"--the later
Keen-lung specimens can fairly be said to rival those of the earlier
period. It is doubtful whether this rivalry would apply to any other
class of porcelain.


_A._--THE BLACK FAMILY--"_FAMILLE NOIR_."

This magnificent production, of which we give examples in our
illustrations, is usually ascribed to Kang-he, possibly it may be
earlier. Its characteristic quality was a black ground covered with
almost invisible green glaze. The body of these pieces was decorated
with flowers in yellow, green, and white, and with butterflies. A
common form of decoration--if any can be called common in dealing with
such a rare product--was that the panels were decorated with emblems
of the seasons. A tree of peony with green, white, and grey blossoms
appears to us to be fantastic, but the peony in China grew to the
height of 12 ft. The chrysanthemum with flowers of similar colours
formed a second panel, the guelder rose with green and white blossoms
made the third, whilst the fourth had the lotus flower with tall green
and grey flowers growing at the foot of green rocks at the edge of a
green lake. The prunus blossom in white or pale green was often used
for floral decoration, and yellow finches with green wings, white
storks, white butterflies and bees are often found. So, too, is a
green-faced dragon with a long brilliant green body in coils, sporting
itself in mid-air. Reference to our illustrations will bring out other
forms of decoration treated at some length.

[Illustration: BLACK FAMILY--"FAMILLE NOIRE."

This rare class, which is well exemplified by the fine specimens in the
Salting Collection in the Museum at South Kensington, seems to have had
the decoration applied in outline or in colour to white porcelain, and
then the black ground was filled in. The black is thin and the tint is
not intense. The decoration may be left white, or "_famille verte_"
or "_famille rose_," &c. In these respects it differs from the modern
ware, in which the enamel is thick, and the painting of the flowers and
insects is far from being brilliant. Such pieces have no value.

The illustration shows a rare pair of hexagonal Teapots, divided into
six pierced panels, which are decorated with hawthorn blossom, bamboo
plant, and the peach-tree, on each side; the ground of brilliant black
enamel. Springing from the base are acantha leaves, decorated in _rouge
de fer_, in high relief; the base decorated with a light tracery design
on apple-green; the necks divided into six panels in apple-green,
bright green, and yellow, on which are Joo-e-heads in aubergine on
various shades of green. The covers reticulated with design of hawthorn
and branches; the stems in aubergine on green and _rouge de fer_. The
handles are formed as dolphins; the head of each is in aubergine, the
back in _rouge de fer_, and the body in yellow. The spouts are seen
issuing from monster heads, the latter in aubergine, the former in
brilliant yellow. Kang-he.]

[Illustration: BLACK FAMILY--"FAMILLE NOIRE."

A very artistic octagonal-shaped Bowl, divided into four panels, on
which are represented the flowers of the four seasons, decorated in
green, white, and aubergine, on a brilliant black background. Dividing
the panels are four sections of a diamond diaper design in green and
yellow; at the base of each of these is a Joo-e-head in green and
black. Surrounding the whole of the panels at the base is a light
tracery design in black on yellow ground. At the bottom of the interior
is an octagonal panel, decorated with rocks, flowers, and foliage
in green, aubergine, and yellow, on black ground. Inside the rim is
decorated with four panels of diaper design in green and yellow, in the
centre of each of which there is a small reserve containing flowers in
various colours on black ground, the outer portion of each having an
aubergine border. Dividing these four panels are four small reserves,
containing flowers in various colours on a seeded yellow ground.
Supported on a carved wood stand. In this piece the diaper decoration,
in green and yellow, which distinguishes early Ming and Kang-he, is
again prominent. These diapers are largely used in borders too. Many
of them can be traced in our illustrations, such as the key pattern,
the T, the swastika, Joo-e-head, trellis, triangle, herring-bone,
honeycomb, ring, diamond, as here, plain, sometimes it is flowered;
lozenge, coin, scroll, fish-roe, octagons and squares, net-work,
petal-work, speckled-work to imitate fish-skin, scale, curl, Y-work.
They should be studied. Kang-he period.]

[Illustration: BLACK FAMILY--"FAMILLE NOIRE."

The pair of square-shaped tapering Vases of brilliant black enamel.
Three of the four seasons are shown, in which are depicted the flowers
of the seasons in green, yellow, white, and aubergine. On the shoulders
there are flowers in similar colours, whilst each neck is decorated
with peonies in green, yellow, and aubergine, all having the same
brilliant black ground. On the vase showing a single face there is
the spring scene of peach-trees with flowers and birds. The rocks are
conventional in form, whilst the branches and trunks of the trees in
aubergine show the darker markings in sepia. To the left of the other
vase we find the summer flower, the lotus, in full bloom, with storks
wading in the water; to the right the autumn flower, the chrysanthemum,
bears a gorgeous display of bloom. In the top left corner, a
butterfly--emblem of conjugal felicity--is flitting round the flowers.
The fourth season--the plum and early rose--is not shown.

The black glaze used here must not be confounded with that which was
invented in the Keen-lung period, because the Keen-lung glaze was
applied in one process. The Kang-he black was a dull black glazed over
with green. The painting of the flowers, &c., was first carried out in
proper colours, then the black was applied to block out the design,
and finally the thin but brilliant green was painted over the black.
Variations in the colour scheme may be found. Some have the flowers,
&c., left in white upon the black ground. Others have similar drawing
white with black ground, only the green glaze was carried all over the
piece, so that whilst the ground remained black the decoration was all
coloured green. The examples are of the Kang-he period.]

[Illustration: BLACK FAMILY--"FAMILLE NOIRE."

_A pair of large-sized pear-shaped Beaker Vases._

This quality of old Chinese porcelain is very rare and valuable. The
two vases are so shown as to exhibit the usual method adopted by the
Chinese in decorating two objects similar in shape. The European
style is to decorate the two objects making a pair in precisely the
same way. The Orientals reversed the patterns so as to give a right
and a left view of them. In these vases the tree trunk and the floral
pattern on the one vase takes an opposite direction in the other, so
that when they are placed side by side, as in the illustration, they
make a balanced design. These are most extraordinary examples of the
rare "_famille noire_" porcelain, and of their kind are undoubtedly
the finest known specimens. The background is of a brilliant black,
decorated with rocks in bright green, and two birds in various
brilliant colours. Coming from the back of the rock is a peony,
exquisitely drawn and brilliantly enamelled in yellow. The flowers on
the corresponding side to this are bright green with white stalks. The
reverse has peonies. The base and the upper part is almost covered with
white hawthorn in a brilliant vitreous white; the neck decorated with
sprays of flowers and hawthorn in white and brilliant coloured enamels.
A great feature of the body of the vase is the branches of trees on
either side, carried out in aubergine in the most perfect gradation of
colour. The designs are opposite in each vase, and thus form a complete
pair. The vases are in perfect condition, and of the Kang-he period.
Extreme height, 27 inches; height of stand, 3½ inches. Value,
£10,000.]

[Illustration: BLACK FAMILY--"FAMILLE NOIRE."

(_a_) A small oviform bottle-shaped Vase, with expanding neck,
decorated with rocks, prunus blossom, and branches, in various greens,
white, aubergine, and yellow, on a brilliant black enamel ground.

(_b_) An oviform beaker-shaped Vase decorated with prunus blossom
and branches, similar to the above in colour. Birds in brilliant
colours. Black ground. Neither M. Jacquemart nor Franks nor Gulland
give very much information about this class of porcelain--black ground
covered with an almost invisible green glaze. As in the blue and
white class, there are found sprays or branches of white prunus with
the "ascending" and the "descending" stem in what has been so long
miscalled the "hawthorn pattern." The difference is, of course, one
of ground colour. The blue in the one is under the glaze, and in the
other the black is painted on the white china in its biscuit state
when the other decoration has first been burnt in. The process appears
to be this. First the white or coloured pattern is burnt in, in the
first firing in the kiln, leaving the ground white. To this the black
ground is applied and again burnt in. Over this black ground the green
wash is painted, and at the same time coloured decoration added where
necessary, causing another visit to the kiln. Finally the whole is
covered with a fine transparent glaze and receives its final firing. It
seems that unless a process similar to this were adopted the smoothness
and beauty of the magnificent decoration could never be attained. Note
in one illustration the "ascending" stem and in the other the stem is
"descending" over the body and ascending in the neck. Both pieces are
Kang-he.]


_B._--THE GREEN FAMILY--"_FAMILLE VERTE_."

The green family in its finest form is undoubtedly a Kang-he
production, but all of the decoration was not in green. Brilliant
enamel colours were combined with gilding, and flowers such as the
white chrysanthemum, the lotus, the prunus are frequently found in
conjunction with black speckled diapers and large panels decorated with
various subjects with small reserves decorated with fishes, crabs, and
prawns. Figure painting in the green family is not uncommon. Si-Wang-Mu
on the borders of the Lake of Gems, mounted warriors in a battle
scene or simply marching, and various other military subjects are not
uncommon. The ancient pine-tree and the peony are frequently met with,
but it is the green, one of the most beautiful enamel colours ever
used, which constitutes the attraction in this "_famille verte_" class,
to which family belong many of the figures now known as Ming figures,
such as the dog of Fô, having a white body with yellow, green and gold
protuberances, green head and green, grey, and red mane and tail. The
bases of such figures are usually in diamond or other diapers, which
may be further decorated with a single red peach blossom. The earlier
Ming figures as a rule have the flesh, face, arms, and hands unglazed.

[Illustration: GREEN FAMILY--"FAMILLE VERTE."

A rare and very beautiful oviform Vase, containing on the body two
large panels, one with a bird on the branch of a plum-tree, the
other with a peony on the branch of a tree under which is a large
chrysanthemum and foliage. On each side there are two other panels,
one circular, the other leaf shape; these contain as to the former,
insects, and the latter, cocks. All the panels are surrounded with
a narrow border of yellow, black, and aubergine; the body of the
vase richly enamelled with flowers and foliage in blue, green, and
aubergine, on a bright black ground. At the base is a broad band of
formal design in aubergine, yellow, and _rouge de fer_, on apple-green.
At the bottom of the neck is a broad band with flowers in _rouge de
fer_, green, blue, and aubergine, on a stippled black ground; this is
divided by four reserves containing carp and other fishes in _rouge
de fer_, green, and black, on white, the borderings of green and
yellow; under this is a band of Joo-e-heads in aubergine, blue, and
green, alternately, depending from a narrow margin containing a formal
design in _rouge de fer_ and green on a black ground. The neck has two
leaf-shaped panels containing river scenes; the remainder decorated
in uniformity to the vase. At the top of the neck is a key design in
black on green; depending from this a wave pattern border in aubergine,
black, and green; this is repeated at the base of the neck, having
under it a narrow band containing chrysanthemums and foliage in _rouge
de fer_, aubergine, green, and yellow on stippled green ground. The
whole of the panels in rich "_famille verte_" colours. Kang-he period.

NOTE.--The connoisseur will at once detect in this vase qualities
hardly ever met with in Chinese porcelain. The technique leaves nothing
to be desired, and the quality of the enamels and porcelain is of the
very highest.

From the Collection of G. R. Davies, Esq.]

[Illustration: GREEN FAMILY--"FAMILLE VERTE."

The long, slim ladies' figures so often found in the decoration of very
fine Kang-He blue and white represent what were known to the Dutchmen
as _Lange Lijsen_, _Lange Lysen_, or "slender damsels." This name is
familiar in its English form of "Long Elizas." The older pieces gave
these figures very large heads, which later were drawn smaller. The
style of hairdressing is also different. Bearing in mind the fact that
imitations continued right down through the dynasties, drawing alone
cannot be relied on as an indication of age.

Our illustration is an egg-shell Lantern, one of a pair, in the finest
quality "_famille verte_" on white. It shows a court lady and gentleman
playing "Go," seated upon a terrace. At the table is also seated a
nobleman of high rank, five other female figures being attendants.
The remainder of the decoration is of trees with flowering branches,
clouds, rocks, &c. Surrounding the neck is a diaper design in aubergine
and black on a bright green ground, this band being intersected with
four small reserves containing flowers in green and yellow on a white
ground; the neck has trellis design in _rouge de fer_ on a white
ground, relieved with four flowers in green and black; the base is
similarly treated, and above this is a broad band of brilliant green
enamel decorated with a pencilled Grecian key design in black. Kang-he
period.]

[Illustration: GREEN FAMILY--"FAMILLE VERTE."

The illustration is a set of three Vases of the highest quality
"_famille verte_," square-shaped, tapering towards the base, decorated
with enamel colours in which green predominates, but with fine blues,
soft yellows, and black. The middle vase represents two views. On the
left is a mountain stream running through a deep gorge with rocks and
mountain peaks rising in the middle and far distance. In the foreground
is one man riding and another walking across the bridge over the
stream. On the right is a similar background of mountains. Down the
stream is a boatman steering his laden boat by the aid of a pole.
Nearer is a house with a lady looking out at the door. Below is a man
fishing.

On the left vase there are two scenes from everyday life. One
represents a man playing the _Kin_, or Chinese lute; below a man is
talking to a boy; a horse stands behind them. The other shows two men
playing "go bang" whilst a lady looks on; near them, on the other side
of the hedge, two men are conversing during a walk. On the neck of the
vase is a _cheou_ or _show_ character, meaning longevity.

On the right vase, left side, is a house in the foreground with a
mountain scene stretching away in the distance. From the window of
the house a Taoist is speaking with Leu Tung-pin, one of the eight
immortals, whose feet are on the clouds, whilst his sword is as usual
slung across his back. On the other side, high up amongst the hills,
are _Lange Lyzen_, one of whom is dancing. Below are two dignitaries in
conversation with a servant standing near. In the foreground of both
sides are trees in a landscape. Kang-he period.]

[Illustration: GREEN FAMILY--"FAMILLE VERTE."

This example shows how faithfully the Chinese could utilise the scenes
of their daily life for illustration. In this respect it is well worthy
of careful study. It belongs to the Kang-he period.

A large beaker-shaped Vase of the highest quality "_famille verte_,"
finely drawn, and decorated with subjects illustrating the rice
industry. Near the base is the figure of a man ploughing the rice
field, with a water buffalo, in aubergine and yellow. Just above,
inside a building, which is of aubergine and green, is a man sorting
the rice. Again, above this, on the left, are two girls, one in a
yellow robe, the other in blue, preparing the twine necessary for
laying out the field. On the other side are children and women in
green, yellow, and blue robes, gathering the rice; whilst underneath
these are two men showing the process of weighing. In the centre, above
this, are three other figures, one carrying the rice in a tray, and
the others showing the process of winnowing. The remainder of the body
of the vase has finely drawn trees with flowering branches thickly
enamelled, whilst at the top is a broad diaper-pattern band with yellow
flowers on a green ground; this band has at top and bottom a narrow
margin of aubergine, and is intersected with four small reserves
containing utensils in green, yellow, aubergine, and black, on a white
ground. The neck is similarly enamelled, and shows on one side men
sowing the rice, and on the other a lady is reclining, whilst in front
of her are two attendants.]

[Illustration: GREEN FAMILY--"FAMILLE VERTE."

_Large hexagonal Arrow Stand._

Although the Chinese think very highly of a life free from worldly
turmoil, yet they were warriors too. Here we have a fine example
of a porcelain arrow stand, decorated with raised ornament, with
pierced ornament, and with fine enamel colouring. We note the peach
branch--emblem of marriage and long life--to which magic virtues were
attributed. Possibly this emblem indicated the reward of the warrior,
when his work as a soldier was finished. The presence of the immortals,
again, was the expression of the universal desire for long life which
has always existed in China, and the immortals, who had eaten the
peach--the fruit of immortality--represent this ever-to-be-coveted
object. Referring to the illustration, the arrow stand is decorated in
high relief, with peaches on branches in aubergine, _rouge de fer_,
green, and yellow, on a white ground. At the top is a broad band richly
enamelled in "_famille verte_" colours with flowers and foliage on a
stippled ground bordered with the key design in black on bright green.
Separating a band of Joo-e-heads, enamelled in yellow, blue, green, and
black, is a narrow margin in plain apple-green. At the base are six
reclining figures of immortals in "_famille verte_" colours, whilst
above these is a band similar to that at the top. This is supported on
a hexagonal base richly enamelled with flowers in "_famille verte_"
colours. Period, Kang-he.]

[Illustration: GREEN FAMILY--"FAMILLE VERTE."

The Vase given as an illustration belongs to the "_famille verte_"
class, and deserves careful attention from the fact that it is useful
to be able to read off the points in any given piece. Take the shape
first. It is a gourd-shaped bottle with spreading mouth. On it are seen
three circular panels, called also reserves or compartments. The bottom
one, as may be easily seen, contains a basket of flowers with a ribbon
on the top. The one on the left is filled with utensils--a word used
for this kind of decoration. Note the vases with flowers, the books
bound with a filet and the leaf symbol. The other round panel shows a
bird on a branch of the peony in flower. Butterflies, &c., are also
shown.

The groundwork of the two bulging bodies is a diaper pattern of the
most elaborate curl-work, through which runs a conventional pattern of
stems, leaves, and flowers of the peony.

Now begin at the spreading mouth and trace the diapers downwards. The
first pattern is the "flowered honeycomb," then a small rectangular
diaper. Passing to the base of the first bulge, we find a narrow
"Joo-e-head" band, below that "flowered octagons and squares," then
flowered "triangle-work" in another band. Still more "flowered octagons
and squares" follow, having next below a diaper of "treble scale"
pattern. Last of all comes alternately a light and dark rectangular
pattern. It will be noted that the diapers are broken by small
"Joo-e-head" reserves painted with utensils, flowers, and views.
Kang-he period. Decoration of the reserves in "_famille verte_."]



_C._--THE POWDERED BLUE, WITH ENAMEL COLOURS.

The powder or powdered blue family has been referred to already and
the manner in which the blue is applied has been explained. Though
this colour, like the others, had perhaps its rise, and its greatest
perfection, in the Kang-he period, yet many specimens of extremely
fine quality are ascribed to Yung-ching and Keen-lung. There are,
however, no specimens of true powder-blue that belong to any other
than the Kang-he period. The art was evidently lost, and when it was
attempted, in the reign of the Emperor Keen-lung, the nearest approach
was what is known as mazarine blue, which is entirely different, being
much heavier in tone and not powdered, and it is these pieces which
have "_famille-rose_" decoration, and this places beyond all doubt the
period to which they belong. Where the powder-blue has reserves, as
is almost always the case, they may be filled with decoration in blue
under the glaze, or with "_famille verte_" applied over the glaze.
Or again, and in the later periods of Yung-ching and Keen-lung, the
various shaped white reserves may have "_famille rose_" decoration.
Similar flowers were used in decorating these pieces in reserves,
as we have mentioned before. A general test of the older pieces is
the presence of the joo-e head, which either ornaments the rims in
small panels or is the shape adopted for the large panels. These are
decorated with garden landscapes with figures, and official emblems
in various colours such as green, yellow, grey, red, and even other
blue enamel colours. Other scenes represent the god of longevity
presenting the red peach of long life to a child held by a person of
rank. Generally, however, the subjects used have decorations varying
comparatively little, although the treatment of these subjects differs
considerably in the colour scheme.

[Illustration: POWDER-BLUE WITH "FAMILLE VERTE" AND WITH BLUE AND WHITE
DECORATION.

(_a_) A powder-blue Pot and Cover. The body has two large square-shaped
panels decorated with flowers, birds, &c., in "_famille verte_"; it
also has two panels form of pomegranate fruit decorated in greens
and red, and two fan-shaped panels with flowers in black on a yellow
ground. The lid has two panels form of peach fruit in greens and red,
and two fan-shaped panels with flowers, &c., in "_famille verte_" Very
unusual specimen. Kang-he.

A pair of powder-blue teapots relieved with panels decorated with
flowers in "_famille verte_." The lids are surmounted with so-called
kylins, dogs of Fô, or Corean lions. Kang-he.

(_b_) An elegant-shaped powder-blue Vase, relieved with various
Joo-e-head panels, decorated with flowers, &c., beautifully enamelled
in "_famille verte_," with gold pencilling between panels. Mounted with
a rim of ormolu. Kang-he.

A pair of powder-blue bottle-shaped Vases with three Joo-e-head-shaped
panels on the body, decorated with vases, utensils, &c., in blue
and white, and three leaf-shaped panels decorated with flowers,
butterflies, &c., on the neck, also in blue and white. Kang-he period.
The panels of vases, &c., are often decorated with emblems of the
seasons by means of flowers and landscapes. Thus, spring may be shown
by a mountain scene with the prunus or peach in bloom before its leaves
appear, or by another with two ladies under the willow. Spring flowers
are the large white magnolia or the yulan with the peony. The yulan
magnolia is often confounded with the guelder-rose, though the former,
like the peach, blossoms before its leaves appear. It is a magnolia,
one of eighty-five species. Summer is pictured by pines, poplars,
reeds, lotus, hydrangea, pinks, and flags; autumn by chrysanthemums,
birds, butterflies, russet leaves of the oak and its acorns, by scenes
of ladies gathering fruit, and of swollen rivers and autumn tints
generally. Winter is indicated by the prunus or plum, by early roses or
winter scenes.]

[Illustration: POWDER-BLUE WITH "FAMILLE VERTE" DECORATION.

A pair of very fine quality, large size, powder-blue Plates with
Joo-e-shaped panels in the centre, and eight small panels or reserves
round the border. It will be noticed that the patterns of the
decoration on the two plates is not the same. The central panel on the
left has a fine landscape with figures in conversation. The smaller
panels are alternately decorated with a small landscape, and with
flowers. The gilt pattern, too, so often used with powder-blue, and so
quickly lost, is clearly shown on the blue ground, giving a further
decoration of flowers not alone in compartments, but also over all the
blue surface. The other plate has the central panel decorated with
a landscape and some striking cloud forms. The small panels are all
decorated with flowers. There are only traces of the formal golden
chrysanthemum pattern, which, besides, is again different to that on
the other plate. Both have a mountainous coast scene in the distance
with a pagoda and trees. Both, too, in middle distance a house and a
weeping willow. Besides this class of powder-blue with green family
decoration, it is also very effective, though not so brilliant, with
blue under-glaze landscapes, figures, and flowers in similar panels
to those we have described-that is, the Joo-e-head panel. Special
attention should be paid to the variation of the Joo-e outline. The
Joo-e-head itself is given amongst the symbolical marks. The catalogue
description is sometimes like this, "Joo-e head-shaped reserves," or
again "Joo-e-head-shaped Y diaper." Kang-he period.]

[Illustration: MAZARINE BLUE.

A pair of mazarine blue Jars and Covers, having two leaf-shaped panels.
These are from a set of five, three vases and two beakers. These are
finely decorated with storks and other birds and flowers in "_famille
rose_" enamel. Various small panels as on the covers are similarly
decorated with flowers. The covers themselves are surmounted by dogs
of Fô or Corean lions. These are ascribed to Keen-lung, and may be
taken as an attempt to copy Kang-he powder-blue. They are covered with
a rich blue enamel named mazarine, after the cardinal of that name.
This is opaque and generally darker in colour than the powder-blue. One
is applied as a colour enamel--that is mazarine; the other is colour
powdered or dabbed on--that is powder-blue. The mazarine blue comes
really under the Celadon class as a "self" colour. The leaf-shaped
panels or reserves are in white surrounded by a faint dull red outline
of the leaf. The blue enamel is not alone used with "_famille rose_"
decoration as in the illustration, but it is also combined with
"_famille verte_" either with or without red scroll-work as a ground
diaper. The vases made in pairs have usually a right and a left--that
is, the pattern is reversed. Here we have an example of the contrary,
the two specimens are identical. The leaf-panel runs down from the top
to the point at the bottom on the right in both, and birds, flowers,
and trees are as nearly alike as possibly could be expected.

NOTE.--The decoration in blue enamel colour was an addition of the
early part of the Tsing dynasty; no Ming specimen has been identified
having the blue over the glaze.]


_D._--GREEN AND YELLOW FAMILY--"_FAMILLE JAUNE_."

An elegant combination is found in this early product, where the two
prominent colours are green and yellow. Sometimes the body may have a
black ground covered with almost invisible green glaze, but the main
decoration is green, aubergine, and yellow, although other colours such
as red, especially red triangle work, is frequently found. These pieces
probably originated in the Ming period, but were recopied later. They
have reserves such as those mentioned before, decorated with Buddhist
emblems or with subjects such as a prince and princess of the Imperial
house walking in a garden with two Ho-Ho birds, and a landscape where
ladies are conversing and men are in attendance. Amongst the symbols
are to be found the official one of the branch of coral with the
peacock's feathers. The diapers are very varied and the joo-e-head
decoration is frequently found. The frontispiece gives a good idea of
this form of decoration, and its description should be noted.

In speaking of the rare examples, yellow-ground, as well as black and
green, could be ranked quite in the first order; in fact, they are
almost the rarest kind. Specimens of these families were made at the
end of the Ming period, and it is a very moot point to-day whether the
fine examples, which we know, belong to the end of the Ming or the
beginning of the Kang-he.

[Illustration: GREEN AND YELLOW FAMILY--"FAMILLE JAUNE."

A tall square taper-shape Vase, decorated with a bold design of lotus
flowers, foliage, and birds, in various greens, aubergine, and black
on brilliant yellow; on the shoulders in each corner is a Joo-e-head
design in aubergine and green; the edgings in white biscuit with black
borderings. This is a very interesting decoration. The surface of the
water is represented by the numerous short horizontal lines. In the
water, the lotus, the sweet-flag, and other water-loving plants are
growing, just as if the artist had made his drawing from the banks of
an actual pond in the open air. Besides being beautiful, the lotus is
the sacred flower of Buddha. Its large tulip-like flowers may be white
or tinted pink, blue or yellow, and they hang over broad leaves, in
shape like the nasturtium leaf. It does not lie upon the water like the
water-lily, but stands up from it upon a strong stem. The drawing shows
bud, flower, and seed-pod. It is the last which is usually carried
as an emblem by the goddess, Ho Seen-koo, though it may be a bud or
a full-blown flower. The lotus belongs to the water-lily family, and
the sacred lotus was anciently used in religious rites in Egypt and
Assyria, whilst the Greeks dedicated it to the nymphs. Its constant use
as an emblem seems to come from its wheel-like form. Like the Chakra,
or "Wheel of the Law," it typifies the doctrine of perpetual cycles of
existence. In fact, the spokes of the Chakra are often lotus-shaped.
Kang-he period.]

[Illustration: GREEN AND YELLOW FAMILY--"FAMILLE JAUNE."

An oval-shaped Jardinière, decorated with a diaper design in
brilliant green and yellow enamels. The body is divided into four
quatrefoil-shaped panels containing altar utensils and vases, which
are most artistically drawn and enamelled in various greens, yellows,
aubergine, and black, on a white ground. The diaper pattern which forms
the groundwork is the diamond design, but the double lines cutting the
diamond are so arranged to form the swastika. The swastika--"the ten
thousand things"--is sometimes found as a mark upon blue and white or
painted Chinese porcelain of fine quality. It may occur alone, or with
a border of two oblongs like a seal shape, or four swastikas may be
found in a similar border. In the front of the quatrefoil-shaped panel
on the vases is another symbol, one of the hundred _Cheous_ or _Shows_,
the emblem of longevity. The curious instrument lying behind the vases
is the lute wrapped in its cover. This stringed instrument consists
of a board four feet long eighteen inches wide, convex above and flat
below, where two holes open into hollows. There are seven strings. It
is very ancient and constitutes an emblem of harmony. As Confucius
writes: "Happy union with wife and children is like the music of lutes
and harps." The other instrument represents a guitar, which was made in
many forms, from the bamboo stick thrust into a cylinder of the same
material, having only two strings, to the _pipa_, having four strings,
like those of the violin. Kang-he.]



_E._--CORAL RED GROUND.

If there is another class which deserves mention it is that having a
coral red ground thickly powdered it may be with white chrysanthemum
leaves and flowers, decorated with joo-e-head ornaments or ornamented
with deep rose, grey and white, yellow and white, pale blue and white,
prunus blossom powdered upon a golden iced diaper, the emblem of the
coming spring. This coral red ground--"_rouge de fer_"--differs from
all the others in this class because it is an under-glaze decoration.
It is essentially a Kang-he production, although some very fine
specimens have the Keen-lung mark.

The reader has no doubt noticed the rivalry between these periods, and
the values of coral red specimens are more affected by quality than
perhaps by age.

[Illustration: CORAL RED GROUND--"ROUGE DE FER."

The piece of coral was an emblem of the official class, and this
coral-red ground is, as its name implies, an imitation of this. It
is an under-glaze ground, in which the colour was derived from iron.
Over-glaze enamels were used for decoration with fine effect, such as
the greens, the yellows, and the reds from gold. Blue over the glaze
dates from Kang-He, and it is early.

Our illustration shows a very fine cylindrical Jar, with receding neck
and spreading lid with knob. The body decorated with formal scroll
and leaf pattern, with a double band of conventional white lotus.
The shoulder and base decorated with a broad band of Joo-e-shaped
reserves, bordered alternately with narrow bands of blue and grey
edged with green; the smaller space between edged with a paler green.
Red reserves, so formed, decorated with conventional chrysanthemums
with brilliant green leaves. On the shoulder above, four circular,
green-edged, white medallions, and four oval, green-edged, red spaces
ornamented with chrysanthemum flowers. At the base a narrow band of
green and red diamond rice diaper on a white ground. The neck decorated
with two shaped oval red medallions, edged with grey on a speckled
green ground powdered with red chrysanthemum. The reserve decorated
with coiled white fire dragons (mang) among white fire-forms on a
coral-red ground. Above and below this decoration, narrow bands of
scroll and flower diaper patterns. Lid with a slightly decorated white
knob, ornamented with similar pattern to that on the shoulder of the
vase. Height, 21 in. Period, Kang-he.]

[Illustration: CORAL RED GROUND--"ROUGE DE FER."

The dragon is the Emperor's emblem, as the phœnix or Fong-Hoang is
that of the Empress. We find the "_lung_" or "_long_" dragon of the
sky, the "_li_" dragon of the sea, and the "_kiau_" dragon of the
marshes. There are scaly dragons, and others winged, horned, hornless,
and rolled. The four highest ranks of princes are permitted to use the
five-clawed dragon, but the fifth rank of the princes and the mandarins
use a dragon or serpent with four claws. This, treated conventionally,
is the well-known "mang" which is shown in the body and necks of
the vase used as an illustration. The expressions, "dragon's seat,"
"dragon's bed," "dragon's face," "dragon's head," &c., are easily
understood when "emperor" is substituted for "dragon."

A tall, rouleau-shaped Vase, containing six circular panels with formal
floral design in "_rouge de fer_," blue, and white, on apple-green;
the body of the vase with dragons and formal flowers in yellow, blue,
green, white, and aubergine, on deep "_rouge de fer_." At the base is
a narrow band of diaper design with black lines on green ground; this
contains four small reserves with a flower and foliage in "_rouge de
fer_" and green on a white ground, the bordering of yellow and blue.
The band separating the neck has a running dragon and clouds in blue;
yellow, "_rouge de fer_," and white, on apple-green; whilst the neck
is treated uniformly with the body of the vase, excepting that at the
top there is a narrow band of diaper pattern in aubergine, green, and
black, with four small reserves containing fruit and foliage in "_rouge
de fer_" and green on white ground. Period, Kang-he.]


_F._--THE ROSE FAMILY--"_FAMILLE ROSE_."

We noted that the rose enamel was used in decoration by Yung-ching. The
same rose decoration was continued by Keen-lung, which had an especial
form of decoration consisting of the rose and white peony with the
prunus--the so-called hawthorn. Frequently, too, there is a swastika
trellis. We have dealt somewhat fully with the ruby-back plates as a
branch of the rose family. This ruby and peach blossom rose ground was
applied to vases with very telling effect. As, in the black family, the
ground was a black covered with an almost invisible green glaze, so in
this family we get a peach blossom rose ground often powdered with pale
blue, yellow, grey and white chrysanthemum blossoms. The reserves are
often fan-shaped, and the decoration in these reserves consists of the
usual subjects or emblems in brilliant enamel colours. Similar flowers
to those noted before as the emblems of the seasons are frequently
found. These include pale rose and blue and white peony, pale rose and
white rose, peach blossom, chrysanthemums, the oleander with single
rose and white prunus blossom. These rose pieces are extremely elegant
and very rare. They date from the Yung-ching period, in which they
reached their highest perfection, under Keen-lung the standard of
excellence was nearly as high.

[Illustration: ROSE FAMILY--"FAMILLE ROSE."

_Egg-Shell Porcelain. Ruby-Back Plates._

The central Plate has the rim decorated with the noted octagon and
square diaper pattern so often found on egg-shell pieces, and used on
every piece shown in the photograph. This pattern is often intercepted
by reserves. The plate has three leaf-shaped reserves decorated with
white peony, ruby peach, and yellow persimmon. There are three other
reserves having formal golden flowers with green leaves. The whole
centre of the plate represents a domestic scene where a lady of high
rank, seated, is giving instructions to two children. In the background
are vases and a table on which is a plant. The back of the rim is ruby
coloured. Diameter, 8¼ inches. Period, Keen-lung. The two other
plates are also ruby-backed. They have on the rim three Joo-e-head
reserves containing fruit and flowers in brilliant colours. The central
decoration consists of vases of flowers in enamels of the finest
quality. The octagon and square diaper pattern is blue on the inner
rim and pink on the broad band forming the outer rim. The cups and
saucers are no less beautiful. The border is relieved with reserves,
and the inner rim of octagon and square diaper surrounds a hexagonal
central reserve of Joo-e-head design. In this reserve there are baskets
of flowers and bouquets in brilliant colours enamelled on a white
ground. This group shows many of the peculiarities of the rose family
decoration with regard to diaper pattern, shape of the reserves, and
the general character of the ornament.]

[Illustration: EGG-SHELL PORCELAIN.

An oviform egg-shell Vase, beautifully painted, with ladies in the
landscape carrying vases. The whole in rich enamel colours. Yung-ching
period. Height, 19½ in. without stand. This is one of the largest
known examples of egg-shell porcelain. This vase is painted in the most
elaborate and beautiful style, which was brought to great perfection
under Keen-lung. Some collectors are inclined to attribute such
egg-shell with delicate pencillings to the Yung-ching era, though
specimens which have been found with marks have been Keen-lung, and as
time passes on Yung-ching will secure more and more support.

The lady carrying the vase is looking to her companion. Between them
is an animal, either a deer or a kylin. The vase contains a branch of
coral and two peacock's feathers, indicating a mandarin who has risen
three steps at a time, as the coral and four feathers indicate a rise
of five steps. The paintings of the figures and the vegetation are most
minutely executed, and the rich enamels are delicately shaded with
"_verte_," "_rose_," and other tints, showing tree-stems and rocks in
their natural colours. As in all classes, some specimens are better
than others, but this piece is one of unsurpassed excellence. To this
egg-shell class belong the ruby-back plates, which are amongst the
most desirable specimens of Chinese art. The same delicate handling in
painting and colouring distinguishes them all. Figures are enamelled
in pale green, pink, yellow, &c.; trees with green foliage have their
trunks and branches with sepia on a pale lavender ground, whilst the
cloud forms, slightly defined, fade away into the distance.]



_G._--OTHER ENAMEL COLOURS.

The decorations of the green family are rather severe in character.
They might be termed Chinese classical, because they are so largely
influenced by religion. The same remarks apply to the black family.
The rose family, on the contrary, with its lovely borders and varied
designs, generally represents familiar Chinese subjects and scenes from
social life.

The enamel colours which follow are amongst the rarest and most
beautiful products of China, taking rank with those pieces which
are never dear, though the prices at which they are sold may be
astonishing.

[Illustration: APPLE-GREEN GROUND.

The coloured glazes are very numerous, but the apple-green ground
is rare and consequently very much valued. Besides the painting,
these pieces, having coloured grounds, are further decorated by
ornament raised in relief, or pierced, when the paste is soft, with
reticulations.

The Chinese made puzzle cups with a small figure of a man inside, which
would hold a liquid till it reached his shoulder, when the whole of the
contents were syphoned out through a hole in the bottom of the cup.
They also made puzzle vases or jugs, having a raised hollow coil round
the neck, which, through the handle, was connected with the interior of
the vessel. The old English puzzle jug had a similar device, in which
the difficulty was to drink the contents without spilling them.

Here is a Puzzle Teapot or Wine-pot in the form of a peach, the Fruit
of Life; the groundwork of pale apple-green decorated with flowers in
yellow, aubergine, green, and black. In the centre on either side is
a large white panel containing in the one a gentleman of rank with
an attendant bringing him tea; this is decorated in various greens,
yellow, and aubergine. On the other side is a house towards which is
coming a flying stork; this is enamelled in similar colours, and both
panels are surrounded by a cloud design in yellow, green, aubergine,
and black. The base, spout, and handle have black patches on aubergine
ground; while both the latter are held to the body by branches of
leaves which are in high relief and enamelled in brilliant green. Ming
biscuit, so-called.]

[Illustration: APPLE-GREEN GROUND. LANG-YAO.

An unusual form of decoration is shown in this illustration. In China
the carp and perch are often found in the decoration of small reserves.
Indeed, the immortals are often drawn standing upon a fish, and
modelled as figures standing on fishes, crabs, or crawfish. The effects
of fish culture as carried on by the Chinese is very marked in the case
of the carp, which are often seen with monster-like projecting eyes and
tufted or lobed tails. They are kept in garden ponds or in large jars
in which are placed rocks covered with moss and water-plants, which
furnish the decoration in the illustration. The wonderful drawing of
the fish in all sorts of positions is to be noted. So, too, is the
marvellous arrangement of the water-plants, which fall gracefully into
the scheme of decoration. All is still in the deep water, but on the
shoulders are the water-lilies, and above them are the waves seemingly
agitated by the rough wind. To recapitulate and to give the colours we
specially call attention to this fine pair of square taper-shaped vases
which are in all probability unique as a pair, decorated with fishes
and aquatic plants in aubergine, green, yellow, black, and white, on
a pale apple-green ground; the edges and borderings of yellow enamel.
At the shoulders over each corner is a water-lily with foliage in
green, yellow, and black; the necks decorated with horses in yellow and
aubergine, going through waves of green and white enamel; the upper
portion of pale apple-green. Called Lang-yao to indicate that it was
discovered by Lang Ting-tso, superintendent of the Imperial works at
King-te-chin. This piece is Kang-he.]

[Illustration: DELICATE GREEN GROUND.

A double gourd-shaped Vase, of noble proportions, one of a pair,
decorated with an imposing Vandyke design, containing peonies and a
formal floral design in rich yellow and black enamels on a pale green
ground. Each section is surrounded by a broad band of "_rouge de fer_"
containing formal flowers in white. The top of the lower portion of
the vase has a broad band of diaper design containing formal flowers
on various colour grounds; this band is divided with four reserves,
each containing a formal design in green and "_rouge de fer_" on bright
yellow ground. The waist of the vase has a half-section diaper design
in green and "_rouge de fer_." Around the neck is a deep band of a
bold trellis design in "_rouge de fer_," blue, yellow, and black. They
are supported on finely chased ormolu bases of Louis XVI. period; the
mounts for the lips _en suite_. Period, Kang-he.

Here, again, we note diaper designs. On the top of the neck is a
honey-comb diaper cut with sectors of a circle forming a geometrical
flower pattern, which is further decorated by white and coloured
formal flowers with six petals. The top of the lower portion has the
honey-comb and square pattern decorated with geometrical flowers,
whilst the lower part of the upper section has the honey-comb diaper
with lines radiating from the centre so as to give a formal flower
design.

Fine pieces of old Chinese porcelain are often found mounted in French
ormolu. The examples from the Jones Collection, Victoria and Albert
Museum, are fine pieces of old Crackle porcelain with finely chased
ormolu mounts.]

[Illustration: DELICATE GREEN GROUND.

A pair of Imperial hedge-sparrow egg tint and white Vases with a very
beautiful clear glaze. The white is a series of scrolls and flowers,
and geometrical designs over the whole of the body and neck. Marked
on base "Kea-king." Period, 1796-1821. In these two vases may be seen
some of the most delicate and beautiful work of the later period. In
paste, colour, and decoration they are exquisite. The green class
includes apple-green, camellia-green, Celadon, pea-green, sea-green,
and turquoise-green. The delicate green, indicated by the term
"hedge-sparrow egg tint," is just a shade different from all of the
others, and the application of the white enamel decoration over the
green is most artistic and delicate. The conventional design is based
upon a flower and its leaves, though the Joo-e-head and swastika are
easily seen, the former below the central flower, and two swastikas,
one on each side. At the top of the neck below the lip is a diaper of
Joo-e-heads. The bottom of the neck has a Greek key pattern, so has the
bottom rim. On the shoulder is a border of Joo-e-heads and conventional
bats. The swastika is a mystical sign, with which is associated a
hidden meaning of a religious kind. It is regarded as the emblem of
the heart of Buddha--that is, his inner true teaching. It has also a
further signification: it indicates ten thousand years. The bat and the
Joo-e-head are treated in the section on Symbols, but we may say that
the bat is an emblem of felicity, and the Joo-e of amity and goodwill.]

[Illustration: AUBERGINE ENAMEL GROUND.

A very remarkable pair of aubergine flat-shaped Vases with lion-head
ring handles; the decoration is a spray of chrysanthemums in blue,
green, and white, on the one side; and a spray of hawthorn in white,
aubergine, green, and blue, on the reverse, in brilliant enamels in
sunk relief. Supported on carved wood stands. Extreme height, including
stand, 12½ inches. Ming. Aubergine is a very difficult colour to
describe. It is the colour of the fruit of the egg-plant, from which
the name is derived. It has a remarkable range of tints, but the
predominant one is purple, on the one side it becomes almost sepia and
on the other almost orange. It is rarely used as a ground colour as it
is in this case, but it is a delightful thin wash applied when thick
enamels cannot be used, and it is so transparent that a darker colour
can be seen through it. Hence its frequent use in the trunks of trees
and in branches of flowers where the markings of the bark may be made
visible. Again, it is frequently employed in painting the roofs of
houses where a wide wash gives a bold and highly decorative effect, the
purple shade being transparent allows the black, in which the design
is sketched, to show through. In the example given not alone is the
ground of aubergine, but other shades of the same colour are used in
the decoration, which has this unusual feature, it is not raised, but
depressed or sunk in.]

[Illustration: MANDARIN CHINA.

Painted in colours over the glaze, with gilt scroll-work. This pair of
conical egg-shell Vases with short necks is 18 in. high. There is no
mark. M. Jacquemart divides the Mandarin class into seven sections,
which he distinguishes by the decoration:--

(1) Pieces having painted in compartments with Indian ink backgrounds
and gold borders.

(2) Where the spaces between the reserves or compartments are covered
with gilt scroll-work diaper or pattern as in the illustration.

(3) With black borders and key pattern in gilt, usually having iron-red
grounds.

(4) With variegated grounds, designs in iron-red and black, pink and
other colour filagree-work.

(5) With spaces between the reserves covered with round dots or points
resembling shagreen either green or white. When the dots and ground are
white the Chinese name it "chicken's flesh."

(6) With indented wreaths or flowers traced in the paste and decoration
in under-glaze blue and over-glaze enamelled medallions.

(7) In _camaieu_ or in a single colour under or over the glaze, usually
mandarin, blue and white.

The egg-shell Mandarin is the best of this class. Generally the
porcelain is rather thick than thin. Often it has the wavy surface
which shows that it has been cast and moulded. Then, too, the
decoration is usually painted, not enamelled. This process changes
the tone of the colouring. The rose tints derived from gold become
purplish; lilac, water-green, bright iron-red, and a curious
rust-colour called chamois are common. Stippling and hatching are
applied to the flesh and to the folds of the draperies. Often the
ground-work with its dotted surface is covered with turquoise-green or
turquoise-blue. The paintings on the reserves of the examples given
will show the miniature-like character of the decoration. The examples
given are Keen-lung.]



  XX

  PORCELAIN
  OF THE
  EAST INDIA
  COMPANY



CHAPTER XX

PORCELAIN OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY


After having passed in review the different products of purely Chinese
taste in which the shapes, the style of decoration, and the painting
were all local and national, we will examine another class of porcelain
holding for us considerable interest, because it includes a whole
series of pieces made in vast quantities for the European market. It
is usually known under the name of the "porcelain of the East India
Companies." By what aberration of taste or by what commercial necessity
had the representatives of the famous East India Companies--English
and Dutch--sought to impose new models upon Chinese potters? Here was
a people with the highest technical skill in potting, endowed with a
sense of decoration equally pure and developed, set to imitate examples
which were considerably outside the sphere of their proper work. It
was the fashion during the eighteenth century for noble families and
their imitators to possess a service of porcelain made in China or
Japan, the decoration of which consisted of coats of arms or crests.
Other reproductions of the period included copies of engravings
by men who threw away treasures of patience and ability without
understanding what they had to execute. They simply imitated, and
therefore never produced real artistic work except when, as sometimes
happened, they painted grotesque figures instead of the persons whom
they were supposed to copy on their porcelain. Still, apart from this
criticism, there are many interesting pieces amongst these copies.
England, France, and Holland were all eager for such Chinese specimens.
Even the figures such as "The Dutch Skipper and the Chinese Lady"
were exceedingly interesting if somewhat uncommon. Then there is a
set of five small statuettes representing Louis XIV. (1643-1715) and
four members of his family. The Chinese artist had probably only an
engraving to guide him, from which he had to produce a portrait figure
of a great monarch. In his ignorance he translates the Marshal's
baton into the sacred rôle of the Buddhist divinities. Grotesque as
these figures are, they are none the less remarkable because of the
richness of the costumes, though the ugly little heads and the general
wide-awake air seem somewhat ridiculous. The Dauphin, for instance,
with his mouth wide open, has certainly an uncommon manner, yet one
feels a pleasure that these five little good-tempered men were able to
stand upon their legs, even if it was with difficulty. Such statuettes
are rare. By far the greater part of the East India porcelain is
decorated with coats of arms, crests, figure subjects, or monograms
surrounded by roses. On the plates and dishes were reproduced "The
fables of La Fontaine," which are found side by side with scenes from
the Old and New Testament, such as the Nativity and the Crucifixion.
Then there are decorations taken from mythology, allegories, celebrated
personages, _fêtes galantes_, &c. Though sometimes failing in colour,
the great majority of the decoration being drawn in Indian or Chinese
ink with very indifferent hatchings for the shading, these plates
and dishes show the carefulness of the Chinese decorator. Even in
unfamiliar surroundings, the figures may be, and are, deplorable, and
how they suffer by contrast with the borders and the ornaments which
surround them, which have all the perfect taste, admirable composition,
and brilliant execution which distinguish the native work!

The East India Companies brought to Europe much porcelain in white,
which was meant to be decorated notably at Venice, Delft, and perhaps
at Chelsea. Such decoration had then nothing Oriental about it. This
explains why some specimens with Chelsea decoration have a hard paste.
The decoration only is Chelsea, quite typical of that factory, but the
form and body are Oriental.

Another method of ornamenting Chinese porcelain was practised at the
end of the eighteenth century, mainly in Holland, which consisted in
the removal of the glaze in parts, as in engraving upon glass, so as to
design elegant arabesques and garlands in which the white of the china
or body itself appeared through the thickness of the colour glaze, the
white being tinted more or less according to the depth of the cutting.



  XXI

  IMITATIONS
  OF ORIENTAL
  PORCELAIN



CHAPTER XXI

IMITATIONS OF ORIENTAL PORCELAIN


Chinese potters imitated Chinese potters and their productions for
hundreds of years, but it has remained for later times to produce such
imitations in hard paste as to be almost beyond detection, except by
the expert. Closely studied, however, there are certain differences--a
peculiarity of the tint of the paste, a loss of brilliance in the
colour--which reveal the European origin. M. Sampson, of Paris, has
been responsible for deceiving more beginners than perhaps any other
maker by his wonderful imitations of Oriental enamel porcelain. In our
own early English factories we often met with imitations of Chinese
porcelain with regard to decoration. For instance, the early blue and
white Worcester, the red and blue under the glaze Worcester, and many
other patterns were direct imitations from the Chinese; in fact, the
square mark used upon Worcester china was only a copy of a mandarin's
seal, and other Oriental characters are to be found as marks upon
Worcester china, such as the disguised numerals, which, more recently,
have been ascribed to Caughley. Of course, the soft paste of Worcester
makes the imitation very easy to detect. The Dresden factory, which
brought Chinese style into prominence in Europe, in its oldest
specimens, produced a hard paste with purely Oriental decoration, and
copied even the intricate borders and medallions in Chinese style.
Under the patronage of Augustus Rex, otherwise Augustus the Strong,
Elector of Saxony, Dresden china became celebrated.

Coming again to later times, we find that at Herend, in Hungary, a
manufacturer named Fischer, at about 1839, made a special feature of
the imitation of Oriental porcelain, and his finest specimens are
most deceptive. It is a great shame that pieces from this factory
are so frequently used fraudulently by unscrupulous dealers. Again,
at Talavera, near Toledo, in the later eighteenth century, perfect
imitations of Oriental china were made, which, even as imitations, are
valued everywhere for the beauty of the glaze and brilliance of the
colour.

It is the slavish attention and too faithfully carrying out the detail
that reveals the forgery to the expert. On this point one might almost
say that the very skilful forgery of a five pound Bank of England note
would deceive an expert, but there is always some apparently trivial
point and detail, either omitted or added, which makes the forgery
clear to those who really know.

Although various marks were copied in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries from porcelain belonging to earlier periods, it was not done
with the idea of forgery or deception, but as a mark of reverence
and appreciation of former masters. The mark most copied was in the
reign of Yung-ching, when the Ching-hwa mark was often introduced into
self-colour pieces.

It may further interest students to learn that many examples of the
old porcelain, which are broken and yet put together without any of
the portions being lost, are the result of the duty which was levied
in the beginning of the eighteenth century on porcelain imported into
England. Perfect specimens were liable to heavy charges, damaged ones
came in free, and as at that time the values were in all probability
what is paid to-day for a good modern plate or vase, or even less,
pieces wanted for decoration were broken without any compunction, the
pieces saved, and afterwards stuck together. Such examples are well
worth acquiring, and the fact of the damage reduces the price, but so
long as there are no portions missing, or the original beauty of the
decoration impaired, the collector will be well advised not to pass
such articles by on account of the break as there are many very fine
examples which were thus ruthlessly treated.



  XXII

  SYMBOLICAL
  DESIGNS



CHAPTER XXII

SYMBOLICAL DESIGNS


_A._--EMBLEMS IN ANIMALS.

We have already remarked how the Chinese employed ornament to their
works in porcelain, not alone to please the eye, but to elevate the
mind at the same time. It is evident that the realisation of these two
aims must have been dependent not alone upon the highest technical
skill, but upon the religious knowledge either possessed by the artist
or handed down in traditional form from generation to generation. Hence
the character of their work was determined and imbued by religious
influences.

In every age pottery has been a vehicle for the display of art, and the
wonderful productions of the East embody in symbolised form the highest
aspirations of religions with which we are but imperfectly acquainted.

The deer (Chinese _luh_, Japanese _roku_) is also an emblem of
longevity. A white stag frequently accompanies the god of longevity.
It sometimes carries in its mouth another emblem, the fungus. A deer,
however, is also used as a symbol of official emolument or prosperity,
having the same sound as the word for the latter (_luh_). It is
probably for this reason that we find a fawn accompanying the Japanese
god of talent, Toshitoku.

The fox (Chinese _hu_, Japanese _kitsu-ne_) is considered, especially
in Japan, as a very mysterious animal. There are several wonderful
legends concerning it in Mitford's "Tales of Old Japan." It is said to
attain the same age as the hare, when it is admitted to the heavens
and becomes the celestial fox. It controls the official seals of high
officials.

The hare (Chinese _tu_, Japanese _usagi_) is sacred to the moon, where
the Taoists believe it to live, pounding the drugs that form the elixir
of life. It is stated to live one thousand years, and to become white
when it has reached the first five hundred years. The hare, often
miscalled a rabbit, occurs on porcelain, both as a decoration and as a
mark.

The stork (Chinese _ho_, Japanese _tsuru_) is one of the commonest
emblems of longevity. It is said to reach a fabulous age, and when six
hundred years old to drink, but no longer eat; after two thousand years
to turn black. It occurs as a mark.

The tortoise (Chinese _kwei_, Japanese _ki_ or _kame_) was also a
supernatural animal, and its shell was used in divination. The tortoise
with a hairy tail is depicted in Japan as an attendant on the god of
old age, and is used as an emblem of longevity. A Chinese phrase,
_Kwei-ho-tung-chun_, signifies "May your days be as long as the
tortoise and stork."


_B._--EMBLEMS IN TREES.

Among plants are three trees, which, though not all, strictly speaking,
emblems of longevity, are closely connected with it; these are the
pine-tree, bamboo, and plum. These three trees are termed by the
Japanese in combination _Sho-chiku-bai_. The Chinese say "the pine,
bamboo, and plum are like three friends, because they keep green in
cold weather."

The bamboo (Chinese _chuh_, Japanese _take_) is another emblem, owing
probably to its durability. Its elegant form causes it frequently to be
depicted on works of art, both in China and Japan.

The gourd (Chinese _hu-lu_, Japanese _hiotan_ or _fuku be_) is also
an emblem of longevity, especially in Japan, owing perhaps to its
durability when dried.

The peach (Chinese _tao_, Japanese _momo_) is a symbol of marriage,
but also of longevity. Great virtues were attributed to the peach,
especially that which grew near the palace of Si-Wang-Mu, Queen of the
Genii, on which the fruit ripened but once in three thousand years. It
is represented with a bat as a mark.

The pine-tree (Chinese _sung_, Japanese _matsu_) is a very common
emblem, and to be found on many specimens. Its sap was said to turn
into amber when the tree was one thousand years old.

The plum-tree or prunus (Chinese _mei_, Japanese _mume_), though not
properly an emblem of longevity, is indirectly connected with it, as
the philosopher, Lao Tsze, the founder of the Taoist sect, is said
to have been born under a plum-tree. It forms the decoration of the
porcelain erroneously termed "may flower" or "hawthorn pattern."


_C._--EMBLEMS IN FLOWERS.

=Artemesia.=--The artemesia was used by the Chinese with the sweet flag
to allay pain and to drive away demons.

=Azalea.=--The azalea, without having any special symbolical
signification, was eminently useful for decorative purposes, because,
as a common flower on the hills of the north-east provinces, it gave
brightness to a scene of surpassing beauty in the central flowery land.

=Camellia.=--The camellia bears the same name as the tea plant, and the
term _cha_ is used to denote any infusion, just as the word "tea" is
with us, as when we speak of beef-tea, camomile-tea, and so on.

=Chrysanthemum.=--Chrysanthemums, like the asters, were reared
for their beauty. They are, perhaps, the commonest form of flower
decoration on Oriental china, and we cannot be surprised at this
when we consider the variety and the richness of the colour of this
beautiful plant. It was an emblem of mid-autumn--more than that, it was
a symbol of pleasurable enjoyment--hence its presence on a piece of
porcelain given as a token of esteem, also a wish that all should be
well with the recipient.

=Cockscomb.=--The cockscomb was very much admired by the Chinese, and
was not alone used as a decoration for porcelain, but for many of those
interesting pictures on glass which portray birds and flowers, and
which, though painted in a similar way to the early paintings on glass
known to Western nations, exceeded them by the brilliancy of their
colours and by their exact resemblance to nature.

=Convolvulus.=--The convolvulus was painted around the edges of tanks
and pools, not alone for decoration, but because the leaves of some
varieties made a very succulent green food.

=Flag, or Iris.=--The flag, or iris, known as the sweet flag, was
placed at the doors of houses to prevent all manner of evil from
entering, but it had a material use as a medicine much used for its
spicy warmth.

=Fungus.=--The fungus when dried was very durable. It grew at the
roots of trees, and many imitations of it in gilt wood, or even dried
specimens of the fungus itself, were frequently used as decoration in
the temples. In pictures of Lao-tsze and the Immortals it is used as
a symbol of longevity or immortality, hence it is found carried in
the mouth of the white stag, which is also an emblem of immortality.
Occasionally it is used as a mark on the bases of specimens of old
Kang-he blue, in which case it often has lines around its base to
represent the grass through which it grows.

=Jasmine.=--The jasmine, a sweet-smelling white flower, is largely
grown for its scent, but still more as a favourite flower amongst the
Chinese women for personal ornament, its twigs and clusters or blossoms
being wound in the hair, and it was planted in the pots in the houses.

=Lotus, or Nelumbium.=--The lotus, or _nelumbium_, was a sacred
flower representing the creative power in the Buddhist religion.
Representations of it frequently occurred not alone in connection with
Buddhism, but also with Taoism. Kwan-Yin is often shown seated upon the
lotus. Ho Seen-koo has the lotus as her emblem; and, generally, whether
considered with regard to its utility or to its beauty the sacred lotus
was placed by the Chinese at the head of the cultivated flowers. It
has a very close resemblance to our English water lily, having the
stock inserted near the centre of the leaf. Both seeds and root are
articles of food, and, when cultivated for that purpose rather than for
ornament, covers large areas of lakes and marshes.

=Narcissus.=--The narcissus is an emblem of good luck for the coming
year. Just as with us in England the narcissus is a harbinger of
spring, so in the new year at Canton the budding flowers of the
narcissus, almond, plum, peach, and bellflower, all are emblematic, all
express a wish for coming prosperity.

=Magnolia.=--The magnolia has immense flowers and has been selected as
the emblem of sweetness and beauty. The name in Chinese means "secretly
smiling," and to the Chinese it suggests the lovely smile of a sweet
maiden. Where in designs on porcelain beautiful women are drawn this
flower usually accompanies them. China furnishes several species of
this lovely flowering plant. Its medicinal use is secured from the bark
employed as a febrifuge.

=Myrtle.=--The myrtle grows as a wild plant with lovely rose-coloured
flowers, one species of it produces clusters of berries, which are
eaten as fruit.

=Oleander.=--This flower is prized because of its beauty and fragrance.
The tender rose pink lends itself easily to schemes of porcelain
decoration. Members of the same group, less attractive, but still
pretty, are the yellow milk-weed and the red periwinkle.

=Olive.=--The olive is noted for the fragrance of the clusters of
minute flowers of white and yellow. This plant flowers through a great
part of the year. A branch of sweet-smelling olive was a reward of
literary merit. It was also symbolical of studious pursuits, and of
sweetness generally.

=Peach.=--The peach blossoms were placed in doorways at the New Year
as the "peach charm." A branch of the tree, covered with blossoms, was
supposed to prevent the entry of evil demons into the home.

=Peony.=--Next to the chrysanthemum the peony was effective in the
decoration of Chinese porcelain. It was a tree in that land, valued for
its fine and variegated flowers. It was emblematical of good fortune,
but if the plant did not supply beautiful flowers and green leaves,
if the leaves fell off and its flowers suddenly faded, such a change
foreshadowed poverty or some overwhelming disaster. It was also an
emblem of love and affection, and therefore eminently appropriate for
use on presentation pieces of porcelain.

=Poppy.=--The poppy was not alone grown for the production of opium,
but for its beautiful flowers.

=Rose.=--This flower was as great a favourite with the Chinese as
with all other nations. Many species and varieties were natives of
this country. Like the jasmine, it was used by the women for personal
adornment.

=Tobacco.=--This plant was grown almost everywhere in China, but its
strength varied according to soil and climate. In the north it was of a
pale colour, while further south it is said to owe its reddish colour
to being steeped in a solution of opium.



  XXIII

  DATE
  MARKS ON
  ORIENTAL
  PORCELAIN



CHAPTER XXIII

DATE MARKS ON ORIENTAL PORCELAIN


There was no regular method employed in either China or Japan for
indicating either the time or place at which the porcelain was made.
Neither was there any mark by which the workman or artist could
be identified. Where marks are used they indicate the period in a
dynasty; still it must be constantly borne in mind that the old marks
were continually copied in reproductions of a later period made by
the Chinese themselves, and other reproductions produced with much
fidelity in Paris and elsewhere. So that the collector has to be
very careful, especially in buying fine specimens. There seems to be
scarcely nothing worth copying that has not received full attention
at the hands of the forger. Of course, when these copies are simply
offered as reproductions of old pieces, the purchaser, even if he pays
a large price, has not much to complain of, but the trouble arises when
they are foisted on the public as genuine. The work is so cleverly
done, the imitation is so accurate that only the specialist is able to
detect the fraud. The texture of the porcelain is closely imitated,
and every care is taken to reproduce the scratches and even the dirt.
More than that, old pieces that have been damaged are restored so as
to appear perfectly genuine throughout, whilst real old pieces, that
were originally plain, have been enamelled with the finest "_famille
verte_" or "_famille rose_" decoration so as to deceive all but the
most skilful expert. Such a case occurred within the author's own
experience. An old dish, early Keen-lung, was so decorated with
the finest rose decoration, and only the most careful examination
revealed the fact that both decoration and glaze had been applied in
comparatively recent times--in fact, within a very few years. The owner
was indignant when he was informed of this. However, he afterwards came
back with the information that he had sold the dish for £20, but he
forgot that if the dish had been really old it would have been worth
not £20 but £120! Too much dependence, therefore, must not be placed
upon the marks or upon the decoration; it is upon the education of
the eye, the _tout ensemble_, really upon the merits of the specimens
themselves, that dealers and collectors must rely. No training is as
good as the handling of fine old pieces, in which the grain of the
porcelain, the colours of both the porcelain and the decoration can be
studied, and the knowledge thus gained becomes the experience which is,
above everything else, the necessary equipment to any one who collects
old china.

The Chinese write in characters, each represents a word, and the
commencement is made from the top of the right-hand side. The columns
are read downwards, but when the characters are in a line they are
read from right to left. The marks may be in the _seal_ characters, in
_plain_ characters as employed in books, or in _grass-text_ as used
for rapid writing; but all are read in the same way, though the last
are very difficult to read. As there are many variations in English
handwriting, so the Chinese characters will be found to vary, yet
the word would be the same. It is in the forgeries that we noted the
most slavish attention to accuracy and the most infinite pains taken
to reproduce the old marks given in the books. The marks themselves
are either painted on the bases, usually in blue, though on some late
pieces it is found in red, or they may be engraved or embossed. The
Chinese have no centuries for measuring time, they use instead a cycle
of sixty years, and the precise date as indicated by the cycle is so
seldom used on porcelain that it may be disregarded, as only four or
five examples of the cyclical dates have ever been found. The marks on
porcelain indicate only the reign of the emperor, who when he comes
to the throne adopts two words as his title or _Nien-hao_. Before
the coming of the Ming dynasty, in 1368, these titles were changed
in order to commemorate any striking event, but since then only one
Emperor, who lost his throne in 1450 and regained it after seven years,
has changed his _Nien-hao_, and only one Emperor, Kang-he, reigned a
whole sixty years, and a cyclical date may have been used when the
thirty-eighth year of the sixty-eighth cycle recurred. See Mark 1
in date marks. The _Nien-hao_ was the honorific designation of the
Emperor; Taou-kwang (1821-1851) was "reason's lustre," and Kwang-hsiu
(1875) means "inherited lustre." Following the seal marks, which are
read in the same way, note that the list gives a number of marks having
six characters. Reading these it will be noted that the one in the top
right hand and the next one below it, marked (1) and (2), are always
the same for the same dynasty--"Ta Ming" or "Ta Tsing" show the "great
Ming" or "great Tsing" dynasty. The bottom sign of the first column (3)
and the top sign of the second column (4) give the Emperor's title or
_Nien-hao_, whilst the two remaining signify in descending order "year"
or "period" (5), "made" (6). In six-mark characters, arranged in two
lines, the reading is similar, as marked by the figures (1), (2), &c.
In four-mark character the signs for the dynasty--that is, "Ta Ming"
or "Ta Tsing"--are left out, and the first two marks show the period.
As before remarked, the forgeries and imitations have been so numerous
that the date marks cannot be accepted as proof of age. The old blue
porcelain--Nankin ware so called--was marked with six characters until
1677, as mentioned elsewhere. After that we have the double circle in
blue, either empty or having a symbol in the middle.

The Ming productions have not yet received due recognition with regard
to their beauty of shape and decoration, but the two periods which are
most represented by the marks are Seuen-Tih (1426-1436) and Ching-hwa
(1465-1488). In the British Museum are two Celadon bowls with the
Seuen-tih mark, with deep mouldings; to these is affixed on the label
"probably Kang-he." Then, again, immense quantities of china appear
to have been brought to Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, much of which was marked "Ching-hwa." Whether during the
eighteenth century such porcelain could be collected in China for
cargo purposes is a matter of doubt. If not, this is an illustration
of the fact that from an early period the Chinese copied old forms,
decoration, and _marks_.


HONORIFIC MARKS.

The word _tang_ often occurs in inscribed marks, which seem to
indicate a place of origin. In the list given it is marked Tang or
Hall Marks. These marks are found on pieces differing considerably
in character, age, and quality. The general opinion is that the Hall
named is the title of the residence of the Tao-tai, or superintendent
of the porcelain works belonging to the Emperor. Other inscribed marks
simply set out praises of the porcelain itself, stating that it is
"a gem among precious vessels of rare jade," "a gem rare as jade,"
"an elegant rarity," "fine vase for the rich and honourable," and so
on. Some pieces are found with a seal character embodying a wish, as
"happiness," "prosperity," "longevity," and "harmonious prosperity."
See the list of specimen Hall Marks, &c., and two others, last on the
bottom line, praising the porcelain.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.

A.D. 1721.

FIG. 2.

YUEN-FUNG. 1078-1086.

FIG. 3.

HUNG-WOO. 1368-1399.

FIG. 4.

YUNG-LO. 1403-1425.

FIG. 5.

SEUEN-TIH. 1426-1436.

FIG. 6.

CHING-HWA. 1465-1488.

FIG. 7.

CHING-HWA. 1465-1488.

FIG. 8.

HUNG-CHE. 1488-1506.

FIG. 9.

CHING-TIH. 1506-1522.

FIG. 10.

KEA-TSING. 1522-1567.

FIG. 11.

LUNG-KING. 1567-1573.

FIG. 12.

WAN-LEIH. 1573-1620.]

[Illustration: FIG. 13.

SHUN-CHE. 1644-1661.

FIG. 14.

KANG-HE. 1661-1722.

FIG. 15.

YUNG-CHING. 1723-1736.

FIG. 16.

KEEN-LUNG. 1736-1795.

FIG. 17.

KEA-KING. 1796-1821.

FIG. 18.

TAOU-KWANG. 1821-1851.

FIG. 19.

HEEN-FUNG. 1851-1862.

FIG. 20.

TUNG-CHE. 1862-1875.

FIG. 21.

KWANG-SHIU. 1875.

FIG. 22.

KING-TE. 1004-1007.

FIG. 23.

YUNG-LO. 1403-1425.]

[Illustration: FIG. 24.

SEUEN-TIH. 1426-1436.

FIG. 25.

YUNG-CHING. 1723-1736.

FIG. 26.

KEEN-LUNG. 1736-1795.

FIG. 27.

KEEN-LUNG. 1736-1795.

FIG. 28.

KEA-KING. 1796-1821.

FIG. 29.

TAOU-KWANG. 1821-1851.

FIG. 30.

HEEN-FUNG. 1851-1862.

FIG. 31.

TUNG-CHE. 1862-1875.]

MARKS.


[Illustration: MING DATE MARKS.

Fig 1
  Hung-woo, 1368-1399.

Fig. 2
  Yung-lo, 1403-1425.

Fig.3
  Seuen-tih, 1426-1436.

Fig.4
  Ching-hwa, 1465-1488.

Fig.5
  Hung-che, 1488-1506.

Fig.6
  Ching-tih, 1506-1522.

Fig.7
  Kea-tsing, 1522-1567.

Fig. 8
  Lung-king, 1567-1573.

Fig. 9
  Wan-leih, 1573-1620.]

[Illustration: TSING DATE MARKS.

Fig. 1
  Shun-che, 1644-1661.

Fig. 2
  Kang-he, 1661-1722.

Fig. 3
  Yung-ching, 1723-1736.

Fig. 4
  Keen-lung, 1736-1795.

Fig. 5
  Kea-king, 1796-1821.

Fig. 6
  Taou-kwang, 1821-1851.

Fig. 7
  Heen-fung, 1851-1861.

Fig. 8
  Tung-che, 1862-1875.

Fig. 9
  Kwang-shiu, 1875.]

[Illustration: DATE MARKS.]

Fig. 1
  Shun-che, 1644-1662.

Fig. 2
  Kang-he, 1661-1722.

Fig. 3
  Yung-ching, 1723-1736.

Fig.4
  Keen-lung, 1736-1795.

Fig. 5
  Kea-king, 1796-1821.

Fig.6
  Taou-kwang, 1821-1851.

Fig. 7
  Heen-fung, 1851-1862.

Fig. 8
  Tung-che, 1862-1875.

Fig. 9
  Kwang-shiu, 1875.]

  +--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
  |                    |                    |                    |
  |    "Made at the    |     "The Luh-i     |  "Antique made at  |
  |  Tseu-shun Hall,"  |     or waving      |  the Shun-tih, or  |
  | of beautiful jade. |    bamboo Hall."   |   cultivation of   |
  |                    |                    |    vertue Hall."   |
  +--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
  |                    |                    |                    |
  |    "Made at the    |    "Made at the    |    "Made at the    |
  |    Shun-tih, or    |     Tsai-jun or    |     I-yew, or      |
  | cultivation Hall." |      brilliant     |  advantage Hall."  |
  |                    |     colours Hall.  |                    |
  +--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
  |                    |                    |                    |
  |    "Made at the    |    "Made at the    |    "Made at the    |
  |     Ta-shu, or     |     Ki-yuh, or     |     Lin-yuh, or    |
  |  great tree Hall." |  rare jade Hall."  |      abundant      |
  |                    |                    |     jade Hall."    |
  +--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
  |                    |                    |                    |
  |   "Imitations of   |    "A gem among    |    "A gem among    |
  |  antiques made at  |  precious vessels, |  precious vessels, |
  |   the King-lien    |    of rare jade."  |   of rare stone."  |
  |       Hall."       |                    |                    |
  +--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+



  XXIV

  SYMBOLICAL
  MARKS
  AND
  ORNAMENTS



CHAPTER XXIV

SYMBOLICAL MARKS AND ORNAMENTS


"Every picture tells its story" is true when applied to Oriental
decoration where history and mythology furnish many of the designs,
and almost every flower and colour has its own meaning. On the
porcelain many of these devices are used either as marks or ornaments;
sometimes they have ribbons or fillets entwined around them, and they
vary considerably in style and shape. Those given are from Sir A. W.
Franks's book, "The Catalogue of the Franks' Collection of Oriental
Porcelain and Pottery," exhibited at the Bethnal Green Museum.

The symbols set out are found on blue and white porcelain as well as on
pieces of "_famille verte_," powdered blue, and old specimens decorated
with coloured enamels generally of a very good quality.


A.

No. 1. The pearl, which as an ornament is frequently represented in the
air with dragons.

No. 2. The conch shell, a well-known Buddhist emblem which signifies a
prosperous journey.

No. 3. A musical instrument. According to Mr. Gulland, who searched
Mr. Salting's Collection at the Museum, South Kensington, 18 pieces,
mostly blue and white, have this mark.

Nos. 4, 5, 6. Three of the varieties of a lozenge shape; sometimes it
has the swastika in the centre.

Nos. 7, 8, 9. Various fish symbols. Sometimes a pair of fishes is found
in a vase form, but this Buddhist symbol is an emblem of domestic
happiness.

No. 10. A group comprising a pencil, cake of ink, and sceptre of
longevity, the whole expressing the wish, "May things be fixed as you
wish."

No. 11. The hare, an emblem of longevity. The hare is connected by
legend with the moon, and the mark is found on pieces coloured black
and yellow, and on blue and white of good quality.

No. 12. A pair of rhinoceros horns used as a mark and in other forms
as a symbol. Mr. Gulland's examination gave a rather striking result.
About 960 pieces are in the Salting Collection, perhaps the finest of
its kind in the world. Of these 130 pieces had date marks, 52 being
on coloured pieces and 78 on blue and white. The other marks, mostly
symbol marks, were found on 169 pieces, of which 77 were coloured and
92 blue and white. This gives a total of 299 marked pieces.

Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16. Varieties of leaves. Sometimes the leaves are
filleted. In the Salting Collection 45 pieces had the leaf mark, which
is chiefly found on blue and white.

Nos. 17, 18. The lotus flower, without fillets, the specimens in the
same collection were coloured.

Nos. 19, 20, 21, 22. Varieties of the _Che_ plant mostly found on
blue and white, a kind of fungus used as an emblem of longevity and
occasionally found in vase form, of natural shape, in self-colour, such
as "_sang-de-bœuf_."

No. 23. The peach and conventional bat. The peach signifies longevity,
and the bat happiness. The two together embody the wish for "A two-fold
perpetuation of happiness and long life."

No. 24. Four-leaved flower, on blue and white.

No. 25. Flower with eight or sixteen leaves.

No. 26. Five-leaved flower, on blue and white. A six-leaved flower is
also found on blue and white.

No. 27. Joo-e-head. There is no form so universal for decorative
purposes as the Joo-e, here given as a mark on blue and white. Panels
and borders have modifications of this form in endless variety. The
fungus as emblem of longevity was adopted in this form as the head
of the sceptre of longevity, and the Joo-e has remained a classical
pattern.

No. 28. Five circles with fillets, found on old coloured specimens.

No. 29. A knot (_chang_) said to signify longevity, found on blue and
white.

No. 30. An insect, found on blue and white.

No. 31. Stork or heron without a tail. Note the Dresden engraved number
below.

Nos. 32, 33, 34, 35. Varieties of incense burners (_tings_), found
on blue and white. Several other marks are to be found, notably on
porcelain of good quality.


B.

THE ORDINARY SYMBOLS.

These symbols are sometimes, as we have seen, used as marks. But they
are also used in decoration, being coloured in enamel colours and
often placed in shaped reserves. The number eight seems to have an
attraction for the Chinese. Here we have what are termed "the eight
precious things," and, later, the Buddhist emblems, "the eight lucky
emblems," are given. It is not necessary to do more than name these
ordinary symbols:--

No. 1. A pearl.

No. 2. A coin, symbol of riches, often forms a border to plates and
dishes.

No. 3. Lozenge with open frame. Two lozenges with overlapping ends are
used to express the dual symbol.

No. 4. A mirror.

No. 5. A sounding-plate used as a bell.

No. 6. Books placed close together, probably another dual symbol.

No. 7. Rhinoceros horns--conventional form.

No. 8. A leaf.

Some or all of these objects may frequently be seen carried in
processions or on pictures of such processions.


C.

THE BUDDHIST SYMBOLS.

Here, again, we have some forms which have been dealt with as marks.

No. 1. A bell. In place of this, the wheel of the law is frequently
used.

No. 2. The conch shell, the chank shell of the Buddhists.

No. 3. A state umbrella.

No. 4. A canopy.

No. 5. The lotus flower again.

No. 6. A vase with cover.

No. 7. Two fishes. Connubial felicity.

No. 8. A knot said to represent the intestines and to be an emblem of
longevity.


OTHER SYMBOLS.

A silver ingot, a cake of ink or a branch of coral may be found as
emblems of riches, scholarship, or power, but there remain three
devices which deserve a few words. The first is the Pa-kwa, consisting
of eight diagrams of entire and broken lines. The entire lines
represent the male, strong or celestial element in nature; and the
broken ones the female weak, terrestrial element. An entire system of
Chinese philosophy is built upon this combination, and not only so,
but they furnish a "clue to the secrets of nature and of being." The
trigrams are often represented upon specimens of porcelain, especially
on raised decorations, with or without a central circular device,
the Yang and the Yin, another representation of the male and female
elements in nature. The second device is the bat. The word in Chinese
has exactly the same sound as the word meaning "happiness," so that
the bat has come to be regarded as a symbol of happiness. The figure
of a bat is sometimes used alone; chiefly, however, we find four or
five bats surrounding the seal character for longevity. This is the
third of the devices. The character for longevity (_show_ in Chinese)
is regarded as very auspicious, and it is written in no less than
a hundred different ways. When used with the five bats surrounding
it, the five great blessings are symbolised--longevity, riches,
peacefulness, love of virtue, and a happy death.

[Illustration: A]

[Illustration: B]

[Illustration: C]



  XXV

  THE
  IMMORTALS,
  OR CHENS



CHAPTER XXV

THE IMMORTALS, OR CHENS


The _Pa Sien_, or eight Immortals, were followers of the Taoist
religion founded by Lao Tsze, who lived about the time of Confucius.
They seemed to be noted for a combination of pure Taoism, which
taught contempt for riches and worldly power, and advocated complete
subjugation of all bodily passions, and such practice of magic and
alchemy as gave them the power they affected to despise. These eight
lived at various times and attained immortality through the mysterious
elixir of immortality.

1. Han Chung-le, who lived in the Chow dynasty (B.C. 1122-249), is
represented as a fat man, either with bare stomach or fully clothed.
His emblem is a fan with which he revives the spirits of the dead.

2. Leu Tung-pin (about A.D. 755). He learnt the mysteries from Han
Chung-le whilst wandering in the mountain gorges. Tempted ten times,
he overcame the temptations, and with a sword, which is his emblem, he
slew evil monsters and rid the earth of them for more than four hundred
years.

3. Le Tee-kwae (period unknown) was a scholar of Han Chung-le in the
celestial regions which he visited in spirit, leaving his body under
charge of a disciple on the earth below. On returning from one visit,
he found his body was gone, and the only way in which he could continue
his existence was by taking refuge in the body of a lame beggar, whose
crutch and gourd are his symbols.

4. Tsaou Kwo-kiu (_circa_ A.D. 999) is generally represented with a
court head-dress, being connected by birth with the Emperor. His symbol
is a pair of flappers or castanets, which he carries in one hand.

5. Lan Tsae-ho is rather a myth of myths, for neither the sex nor
period is given. The figure is represented bearing a flower-basket or
wine-pot, either of which is the emblem.

6. Chang Ko-laou (close of seventh to middle of eighth centuries) was
a great magician, whose white mule carried him immense distances, and
when not in use was folded up and put away. His symbol is a bamboo
tube drum, carried on either arm, with two rods, the ends of which are
usually projecting from the upper opening of the drum in which they are
placed.

7. Han Seang-tsze (about the same period as the last) was a pupil of
Leu Tung-pin. His symbol is a flute carried in either hand, usually
end upwards. The story says that his master carried him to the famous
peach-tree of the genii from which he fell.

8. Ho Seen-koo (A.D. 690-705) was an example of filial piety. The
legend tells how vast were the distances she travelled to get dainty
bamboo shoots for her sick mother, how she conquered the desire for
mortal food, sustaining herself with the powder of mother-of-pearl, and
how finally she disappeared with the promise of coming back again. This
she did, on occasion when a good genius was necessary, appearing in the
clouds and bringing blessings. Hers is the flower symbol--the lotus.

Here, before me, are two vases on each of which is depicted a feast of
the immortals in the celestial regions. Under the spreading pine-tree,
emblem of longevity, sits Han Chung-le, listening to the music of the
flute. Around him are the others with wine-cups set on a rock table.
Lan Tsae-ho is bearing the wine-pot, whilst in the clouds, over the
pine-tree, the gracious Ho Seen-koo gazes down upon the scene. Not only
in decoration, on vases, and other pieces, are these gods depicted
either singly, in pairs, or all in one group, but also in single
figures and as a group of figures. Sometimes eight, and sometimes nine
are found in one group, the ninth being Lao Tsze himself, the founder
of Taoism. Many of these figures, as in the illustrations, are very
beautiful in colour, and so entirely quaint and curious in modelling,
often with faces and hands, in white biscuit, and so rare. Old Ming
figures, early Celadon figures, later enamelled figures, in sets of
eight, standing or sitting, are often worth a knight's ransom.



  XXVI

  THE
  DRESDEN
  COLLECTION



CHAPTER XXVI

THE DRESDEN COLLECTION


The Dresden Collection of porcelain is probably the most ancient in
Europe as far as the Oriental portion is concerned. According to its
learned Director, Dr. Theodore Graesse, it was chiefly brought together
by Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, between
the years 1694-1705. These specimens were afterwards made use of to
decorate the Dutch, or, as it was subsequently called, the Japanese,
Palace. After being for many years stored away in the vaults of the
Palace, they have now been set out in the Johanneum Palace, where they
are well seen.

In order, it is said, to prevent the courtiers from making away with
the royal property, every specimen in the old collection was marked
with numbers, accompanied by various signs, engraved through the glaze
on the lathe, and therefore indelible. To avoid high numbers and to
facilitate classification, a particular sign was used for each kind of
porcelain. These marks must have been put on at an early date, as they
are only to be found on the more ancient specimens of Meissen porcelain
in the collection at Dresden.

The classes and marks were as follows:--

Japanese porcelain, distinguished by the addition of a cross to the
number.

"Green Chinese porcelain" (that is, principally painted in green
enamel), marked by an I.

White Chinese porcelain, marked with a triangle.

"Red Chinese porcelain" (that is, principally decorated in red), marked
with an arrow.

Blue and white "Indian porcelain" (chiefly Chinese blue and white),
including crackle, marked with a zig-zag line. See symbolical mark 31.

"Old Indian porcelain," marked with a parallelogram.

"Indian and Saxon black porcelain," marked with a P.

The cross mark is of value as showing the opinion entertained in
Europe at so early a time as to what was Japanese, but must of course
be accepted with some reserve. It may be added that nearly all the
Japanese specimens are what we know as "Old Japan," made in Imari for
exportation. The triangle is useful to help us in distinguishing white
Oriental from early Dresden, Fulham, or Plymouth porcelain, which were
close copies of the first. The most curious specimens are those marked
with a parallelogram, and are called _Old_ Indian. Many of these appear
to be Oriental porcelain, originally white, and decorated in Europe,
probably in Holland. The same style of painting is to be found on
five vases bearing the arms and initials of Augustus the Strong, said
to have been ordered for the King by the Dutch in 1703, but probably
executed in Holland. These vases seem to be Chinese porcelain with
ornaments in very low relief, over which the arms have been painted,
together with a decoration in the Japanese style.



  XXVII

  _SECTION II_

  JAPANESE
  PORCELAIN
  AND
  POTTERY



SECTION II



CHAPTER XXVII

A SHORT SKETCH AND MARKS OF JAPANESE PORCELAIN AND POTTERY


Although we do not possess any complete documentary evidence on
Ceramics in Japan, and although much of what we do know has been
obtained by Englishmen in that country, there is no doubt that this
art had its origin in remote antiquity, and that the Japanese seem
always to have possessed in a high degree a very vivid sentiment
of decoration, happily combined with an extraordinary facility of
execution.

The making of porcelain only dates from the beginning of the sixteenth
century, when Shonsui, returning from China, where he had learned the
secrets of the trade, constructed several furnaces in localities where
he found the necessary materials. He settled at Arita, in Hizen, the
nearest port to which is Imari, a name familiar to all collectors as a
common name for all Japanese porcelain. But this old Imari is always
white with designs painted in blue under the glaze.

A hundred years after an Imari potter learnt, under the direction of a
Chinese established at Nagasaki, the art of painting and decorating in
various colours the porcelain which he sold to Chinese merchants. They
in their turn exported it to Europe through the East India Company,
so that considerable quantities arrived in England, where it is found
to-day in a large number of families which have preserved the tastes of
their forefathers. Arita or Imari were names indifferently applied to
this porcelain.

Amongst the other numerous works where pottery and porcelain were
made the following list comprises the chief: Awata, Banko or Imbe,
Kaga or Kutani, with beautiful red and gold decoration; Kioto, Kishu,
Nabeshima, Satsuma, Soma, Sanda, Séto (in the province of Owari, to-day
one of the largest centres of production), and Tokio.

Japanese porcelain is distinguished from Chinese by a closer imitation
from nature in the flowers and birds, and, above all, by much more
correct design, more chaste and elegant in the representation of the
human figure. The marks are often impressed or stamped in a circle,
oblong or oval, and frequently, too, Chinese marks are imitated.

It will be useful to indicate some characteristics of the chief of the
factories mentioned above.


IMARI, ARITA, OR HIZEN PORCELAIN.

The oldest Imari has been referred to before. The period of the
seventeenth century is noted for decoration with enamels over the
glaze. The paste or body was fine and pure, the glaze milk-white, soft,
yet not wanting in brilliancy, forming a ground harmonising with the
severely simple decoration. The enamel colours were few, but clear and
rich in tone, chiefly a dull red, a grass-green, and a lilac-blue. The
decorative subjects were, most commonly, floral medallions; but the
dragon, Phœnix, bamboo plum (prunus flower), birds fluttering over
a sheaf of corn, and various diaper patterns were constantly used.
The designs, sparsely scattered over the surface, give each as wide
a margin as possible. The Imari ware, "old Japan ware" exported in
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was a distinct type, made to
please European taste. The decoration is usually violet, red, and gold
added to a plain white glaze or to the blue and white.


HIRADO BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN.

This is said to mark the highest degree of perfection and beauty ever
attained. The paste is fine, pure, and white, free from the dark gritty
particles found nearly always in Imari ware. The blue--the only colour
employed, with rare exceptions--is exquisitely soft and clear and seems
to float in the milk-white, velvet-like glaze. The designs are of many
subjects, etched with wonderful skill. Only within the last few years
in Europe did the passion for blue and white induce Japanese owners
to sell, and the supply was soon exhausted. It is well to note that
modern imitations are not pure white, but greenish, and they are less
perfectly potted. It was from Hirado porcelain that Bow and Plymouth
modelled their pieces with raised shells and seaweed, and Dresden, too,
copied the figures, birds, and flowers in relief. Hirado was a private
kiln where the workmen were forbidden to sell without permission.


NABESHIMA WARE.

The feudal chief of Hizen at his private kilns produced blue and white
porcelain of fine paste and colour, and generally with a characteristic
combination of red. The potters did not, as a rule, use marks, but
they copied Chinese marks on pieces which were reproductions of Chinese
patterns. Like Hirado, Nabeshima had no occasion to mark as though the
porcelain was intended for sale.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.--THE FIVE CLAWS.]

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--HO-HO BIRD.]

The designs and symbolical marks copied from China have the same
meaning to the Japanese.

The dragon is often found as a design, in various colours and in
gold. The place of dragons in Buddhism explains their frequent
appearance--indeed, they are "the masters of the world." If they are
offended they punish men with plague, pestilence, and famine. Hence
they must be propitiated.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--DOG OF FÔ.]

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--THE KYLIN.]

Fig. 1 shows the five claws of the best kind of dragon-decorated
Oriental, said to be made for Imperial use.

Fig. 2 is the Fong-Hoang, sometimes called the Ho-Ho bird. This was
the symbol of the sovereigns of China before the five-clawed dragon.
Drawings of this bird vary very much; when represented in the air the
feet are thrown back.

Fig. 3 is the dog of Fô, or Buddha, often called the Korean lion, still
more often, and wrongly, the kylin. The one is the lion transformed, and

Fig. 4, the kylin, is more like the unicorn. Its head resembles that
of a dragon. Often its body is covered with scales, and its hoofs are
cloven.



  XXVIII

  SATSUMA
  POTTERY, &c.



CHAPTER XXVIII

SATSUMA POTTERY


Whilst in porcelain Japan copied Chinese patterns, in pottery native
talent had full scope for its original and personal character, so ably
shown both in shape and decoration. Amongst all the pottery Satsuma
takes the first place; indeed, no collection is complete unless it has
a specimen, although fine pieces are very rare. Much of what is called
old Satsuma has been produced at Kyoto and Yokohama for export, and
has very little in common with the ware so highly prized by collectors
in Japan. Showy, brilliant, and decorative reproductions are met with
frequently, but neither in paste or painting are they comparable.
Real old Satsuma, at first sight, looks like ivory, and the designs
display infinite care, the colours being low in tone, whilst the gold
is pencilled with such a multitude of minute lines as to be truly
wonderful.

The glazes are often enamelled; yellow and black, both remarkable, but
exceedingly rare, are monochromes; so, too, is olive-green, which is
seldom used alone, but in conjunction with a dark yellow or dark brown.
Various articles, such as tea jars, teapots, and incense boxes, have
usually these glazes. Another glaze, called "Flambées," or "Flammées,"
is like shot-silk, _e.g._, red jasper and violet, and violet and blue.
The colouration, no doubt at first accidental, was later obtained by
the combination of metals with the oxygen in the air and during the
firing, so that the results were defined and certain.

The old potters confined their decorations to diapers, floral subjects,
landscapes, and the Chinese subjects--the Ho-Ho birds, the mythical
lion, the dragon, and the kylin.

Two kinds of pottery were made at Satsuma, and the self-glazes, either
monochrome or flambée, are, for the most part, applied to the red, and
not to the white kind. In other words, the paste or body of the piece
is red, and by comparing a few specimens the difference between that
and the white can soon be determined.

When the potter cuts the turned piece from the clay on the wheel he
uses a string; and in Satsuma ware the string-mark can be detected
on the bottom of the piece. Again, the Satsuma potter turned the
throwing-wheel with the left foot, but other potters used the right;
hence the spiral in the paste is from left to right in Satsuma, from
right to left in other factories. Pure white faïence, cleverly moulded
and reticulated, was a celebrated and favourite product of the ancient
potters.

Spurious Satsuma is one of the most common and disfiguring features of
both public and private collections.


KYOTO POTTERY.

Much of the later pottery from Kyoto was made in imitation of Satsuma.
At the Paris Exhibition of 1878, such imitations of pieces decorated
in relief had a great success. But Kyoto has one name which stamps
the seventeenth century productions as marking the adoption of the
representative Japan style. There was Ninsei, who shook himself free
from the influence of China and Korea, and, having acquired the secrets
of decoration with enamels, he set to work to practice and impart them
in the various factories at Kyoto where he worked.

He introduced a crackle, which of itself is a test between old and
modern ware. The glaze was of a light buff or cream colour, and the
crackle was nearly circular and very fine, and is best described
as "fish-roe crackle." The paste of his pieces varied from hard,
close brick-red clay to a fine-textured yellowish grey. The coloured
glazes--blue, green, red, black, and gold--were also introduced by him
to the Kyoto kilns. The black glaze was run over a grass-green one,
so as to give brilliancy of effect, whilst panels of cream crackle on
the surface were painted in diaper patterns or with floral designs
in gold, silver, or coloured enamels. Another glaze, since imitated
successfully, was a pearl white with a kind of pink blush spreading
through it.

As a rule Ninsei marked his pieces; the mark is given. Two or three
hundred dollars are readily paid in Japan for a small bowl of the
best type, so genuine specimens are exceedingly rare in Europe. It
is well to reiterate two tests which may be easily applied to Ninsei
pieces--the paste is hard and brick-red or yellowish grey in colour,
and the crackles are equal and circular in shape.


AWATA WARE.

Here, too, Satsuma ware has in recent years been largely imitated.
At the Amsterdam Exhibition a fine collection was on view. But Awata
had kilns as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century, and
a clever workman, Kinkôzan, about a century later, did much to bring
back the reputation lost after Ninsei's influence had passed away. The
glaze under his treatment was creamy and lustrous. The enamels, which
harmonised so well with the glaze, were grass-green, ultramarine, and
red. Gold was almost invariably used in decoration. Silver, purple, and
yellow are most uncommon.

It must be borne in mind that the majority of the Awata pieces were
unmarked.

Generally, three rules are equally valuable in judging the age of all
Kyoto wares, including Awata and other places close by. First, the
paste of the old pieces is close-grained and hard; second, the glaze
has a lustre, which may be due to atmospheric influence long continued;
third, the enamel colours are carefully painted, and are very bright
and clear.

Marks:--

  (1) The chrysanthemum, arms or crest of the Mikado.

  (2) The kiri, said to be stamped on articles for royal use exclusively.

 (3)(4)(5) Satsuma marks.

  (6) The marshmallow, crest of Tokougava Satsuma ware.

  (7) Ninsei's name; stamped with sunk letters, Kyoto.

  (8) Shimizu, a maker's name, in a long oval. Kyoto.

  (9) Taizan, a potter of Kyoto.

 (10)(11) Used at Kyoto by Yeiraku.

 (12) Awata ware, also used in a small size.

 (13) Awata, mark of another factory.

 (14) On pottery made in imitation of Satsuma.

 (15) Awata. Kinkôzan's mark stamped.

 (16) Seal character, "Prosperity."

 (17) Seal character, "Gold."

 (18) Seal character, "Felicity."

 (19) Shigen, a maker's name, probably Kyoto.

 (20) Seal character, "Happiness."

 (21) Seal character, "Precious."

 (22) Inscribed mark, "An eternal spring of riches and honours."

  (A) Crest of Shimadzou, Prince of Satsuma.

  (B) Crest of Ikeda, Prince of Bizen.

Other blasons of Japanese princes.

The sale prices of "Old Japanese" will, for a little, vary the subject
under consideration. The demand is great, the supply limited; so prices
will rise higher yet.

Old Imari dish, painted with vase of flowers, having shaped panels on
dark blue and gold ground, £7 7s.

Set of three octagonal vases--old Imari--similar decoration, with
festoons and tassels on the shoulders, £36 5s.

A pair octagonal vases--old Imari--similar decoration, £65 2s.

Another dish, old Imari, vase of flowers in centre, Ho-Ho birds round
the border, with flowers. Colours: red, blue, and gold. £12 12s.

_From the Hayashi Collection._--Hirado cat, life-size, couching. £20 8s.

(NOTE.--Hirado, Hirato, or Harito are used indifferently.)

_At the same sale._--Two Arita porcelain cups, £5; two scent or incense
burners, £4 4s.

_Other sales._--Bowl, in Ninsei pottery, £26; scent burner, Satsuma,
£28 16s.; vase, Bizen ware, £26; blue, red, and gold ground, probably
Imari, £10; another vase, decorated with Ho-Ho birds, same colours as
the last, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, £100; bottles, pair of old Imari, fluted
and painted in red, blue, and gold, £27 6s.; vases and covers, pair,
old Hizen, decorated with birds, flowers, wheels, and scrolls in rich
colours and gold, £35 14s.

It must be remembered that the finest Japanese, copied from Chinese
models, is sold frequently as Chinese.

[Illustration: NABÉSHIMA, PRINCE OF HIZEN.]

[Illustration: HOSSOKAWA, PRINCE OF HIGO.]

[Illustration: MATSOU-OURA, PRINCE OF HIRADO.]

[Illustration: MALDA, PRINCE OF KAGA.]

[Illustration: MOÔRI, PRINCE OF NAGATO.]



  XXIX

  BIZEN
  OR IMBE, &c.



CHAPTER XXIX

BIZEN OR IMBE


The chief objects made at Bizen were vases, incense-burners, and
numerous figures of animals and persons. Amongst the last are found a
number of mythical divinities illustrating the two religions of Japan,
Shintoism and Buddhism, especially the latter. Before me, as I write,
is a good specimen of old Bizen. It is the figure of Hotei, the god of
Contentment. Brown glazed ware with a paste of fine, hard red clay. He
is standing on a wind-bag with his dress open to his waist, and his
laugh is typical of the wonderful facial expression often to be found
in Oriental figures. The pottery of Bizen was made at a very early
date, but the early specimens were of a coarse, gritty red paste with
no glaze, and only common articles were made. Then, in the sixteenth
century, more attention was paid to the preparation of the clay, and
Chinese copies were imitated. The most valued pieces of this old Bizen
are those stamped with a new moon or a cherry blossom. A century later
a white-brown paste, fine and nearly as hard as porcelain, was used
largely for figures. This was followed by the use of the red clay. It
is interesting to notice the glaze applied to this kind of Bizen. The
figure of Hotei illustrates this unique bronzing, as it were. The
colour and metallic lustre are so good that the figure has often been
mistaken for bronze. Choice specimens are to be found with salt glazes,
brown, grey, and white, and of these the last is rarest. One other
peculiarity of all Bizen is that the glaze is absorbed into the paste;
this is said to be due to continued firing. When struck the pieces ring
very clearly, whilst the modern production has a dead, dull sound. The
Bizen pottery of our own time is degenerate. The monstrosities to be
found in curiosity shops are neither artistic nor interesting.


KUTANI PORCELAIN AND POTTERY.

Kutani, in the province of Kaga, produced pottery of dark clay with
a light chocolate glaze about the middle of the seventeenth century.
Later, one of the potters, who was sent to Hizen for the purpose,
brought back information which led to great improvement. At the end of
that century, and early in the next, two wares were produced. One is
marked by a deep green glaze, which formed an effective and striking
decoration, but other glazes were also used on these other wares,
notably deep purple, yellow, and a soft blue. The other class was an
imitation of Hizen ware, with the difference that blue under the glaze
was not associated with enamel colours over the glaze. In addition to
the colours mentioned a beautiful red was introduced and gold was added.

The artistic designs were purely Japanese bits of nature-painting,
tiny landscapes, birds on plum branches, and other simple but striking
subjects of this kind. The contrast to the Imari ware, with its bold
masses of blossoms and colours, is as great as it is with modern
Kutani. The latter often has peacocks, groups of brilliant peonies and
chrysanthemums, brightly dressed women and wonderful old men, cocks
upon barrels, and other well-known subjects. The only figures on old
Kutani are children playing.

The paste is of a bad colour, a kind of dirty white. It passes from
stoneware to porcelain, according to the nature of the clay, much of
which was imported, and which was sometimes mixed with the clay found
at Kutani. The other makers of porcelain frequently sent their pieces
in a white state to be decorated here, and this was done especially
from Arita. From this it will be seen that the Kutani mark appears
on porcelain varying in composition. Thus there are stoneware and
excellent porcelain. Some of it will bear comparison with the best
Hizen egg-shell. What tests should be applied to find out whether the
specimen submitted is old Kutani or not? One has been given--it is
this: blue under the glaze is not employed in conjunction with enamel
decoration. Then there is the tone of the blue. Reference has been made
to the rich blue of Imari, the exquisite soft and clear blue of Hirado,
but the Kutani blue is, like the paste often is, inferior in quality.
The glaze, however, has a wax-like surface which is distinctive. In the
coloured specimens the severe nature of the decoration and the beauty
and lustre of the enamels are characteristic features.

But Kutani copied Chinese originals in the best style, so that if such
specimens were bought in China they would pass for good examples of
the best period. But in Japan, as in China, porcelain is made of two
earths, one fusible, the other infusible, and owing to the difference
in the matter of firing, most Japanese porcelain has spur-marks or
small projections on the bottom, produced by the supports used in the
process of firing. Otherwise, the same means are employed in making and
decorating porcelain in both countries.


KENZAN WARE.

Ninsei and Kinkozan have been mentioned as celebrated potters, Kenzan
and Yeiraku must be added to them. Kenzan at first imitated the
Ninsei ware of Kyoto, but, being himself an artist and a brother of
the celebrated painter Ogato Korin, he soon developed an original and
genuine Japanese style in which striking results were produced with
a seeming absence of laboured detail. The simplicity of a branch of
prunus blossoms, a few nodding reeds or grasses, a little group of
birds amidst the foliage, the distant hill seen through the midst,
suited the space available for decoration. He used black, brown, green,
blue, and purple in plain colours, and enamels as well as gold. His
early work was done on Awata pottery, but his style is unmistakable,
and he marked all his pieces with his name "Kenzan." Other specimens
of his bold outline sketches are found on a coarse ware with a gritty
paste. At a later period he went to Iriya, in Tokio, but owing to
unsatisfactory materials for the making of pottery nothing very
great was accomplished. His productions are exceedingly rare and
proportionately valuable. His family still have a kiln near Kyoto, and
his son and grandson imitated his style, including the mark, with some
success.


YEIRAKU WARE.

There is an ancient pottery at Kyoto, founded by a family named Sozen
and later Yeiraku, a title bestowed upon them by the Prince of Kü or
Kishu. The present potter is of the same name and he still makes
earthenware and porcelain. It was about 1600 when Yeiraku--then
Zengoro-Hozen--began to make unglazed tea urns as his ancestors had
done. As a recreation he tried experiments with pastes and glazes,
which attracted considerable attention, and secured for him an
invitation from the Prince of Kishu to come to his province. Here
Yeiraku ware was made, so called from the stamp it bears. Zengoro made
glazes his special study, and produced rich combinations of turquoise,
blue, purple, and yellow, but more than these was his successful
coral-red glaze, made in imitation of the old Chinese "vivid red" of
the Yung-lo period. This last achievement gained for him the gift of a
golden stamp, "Yeiraku," and the name which the family has borne for
so many years. Yeiraku's skill was often tested by orders to copy all
sorts of Chinese, Korean, and even Dutch pieces, which he did so well
that the original and its imitation could not be distinguished. Yeiraku
was wealthy now, and could have gone into easy retirement. Yet such
was his love of his art that he worked on. He had produced the purple,
yellow, turquoise, green, and the blue and white, also the coral red
and enamelled porcelains of China, but he tried fruitlessly to get the
tin glaze of Delft and the various glazes of lakes of the Chinese.

The illustrations given of the goddess Kuwanon, in Chinese Kouanyin or
Kwan Yin, show one of the most interesting of the Buddhist deities.
She was reincarnated at least thirty-three times, as a man, a woman, a
demon, and so on, for the greatest good of humanity. Still, it is in
the feminine form that her figure is most frequently found in Japanese
porcelain and pottery, as well as in Chinese. Her hair is in the style
of Louis XIV., she wears a necklace bearing an ornament in the form of
a cross, and, being "the giver of children," she is holding a little
child, whilst Loung-nou and Hoang-tchen-sai, her two servants, stand
at her right and left. Perhaps the rarest of these figures is in the
cream-white porcelain of Nankin. A figure of this goddess was recently
sold for £45.



  XXX

  KISHU
  PORCELAIN
  AND
  POTTERY, &c.



CHAPTER XXX

KISHU PORCELAIN AND POTTERY, ETC.


Both porcelain and pottery were made at Wakayama, and are known as
Kishu ware. The ornamentation consisted of formal patterns in low
relief, the intervening spaces being filled with coloured glazes,
chiefly blue, deep purple, and yellow, though green and white were not
unfrequently used. Perhaps the most common was a ground of purple,
with the scroll-work in relief and some parts of it covered with
turquoise-blue. Some very fine pieces had a rich green glaze marbled
with purple with medallions in other colours. These glazes are amongst
the finest produced in Japan.

The paste varied from porcelain to stoneware, and, like many factories,
was sometimes white, sometimes a red grey. It was fine in texture, and
hard.

Yeiraku's work was largely done in this private kiln, and many of
the pieces bear his stamp. It is said that he made from five to ten
specimens of any object he undertook to produce, that the best was
chosen and the rest destroyed.


BANKO POTTERY.

As early as 1680 a factory was established at a village near Tokio,
and produced articles which resembled some of the Kutani wares, but
towards the end of the eighteenth century a rich amateur, Gozayemon,
who had previously acquired a great reputation as a copyist, was
induced by the then Shogun to leave Isé and to continue his work in
Tokio, where his productions became the fashion, partly because of
their merits, partly owing to the difficulty experienced in securing
them.

He now adopted the purely Japanese style, and combined with it the
beauty of the Chinese glazes in different colours, and it was when he
ceased to be an imitator and became an originator that he became an
artist. He imitated every kind of ware, from coarse Korean pottery
and the brilliant colours of China to the severe styles of Ninsei and
Kenzam. His pieces were generally marked. He also made many imitations
of Dutch delft.

After his death, the son of a dealer of Isé, into whose hands the
formula of Gozayemoné had fallen, assumed the name of Banko, after
having bought the stamp from his grandson. He made a peculiar kind of
stoneware, unglazed, in which the mould, made up of several sections,
was placed inside the clay to be modelled. Hence, on the outside, the
lines of the skin of the hand are shown, and the designs are as sharp,
if not sharper, inside as outside the pottery, which from this method
of working had to be very thin. He also decorated pieces with storks,
dragons, &c., in relief and other pieces, with clever designs in
coloured slips on a green or deep brown ground. This Isé Banko ware is
nearly always stamped.


SOMA WARE.

This is a most peculiar ware, which consisted chiefly of small
teacups or bowls, having a rough indented surface on the outside,
but remarkably smooth to the lips, with a horse in relief or painted,
sometimes tied to a stake. The name of the ware and the badge were
derived from the Prince of the territory. The ceremony of tea-drinking
amongst the Japanese was almost a cult. The rites were followed under
the direction of a Tchadjin, or master of the ceremonies, and, amongst
other usages, the shape and decoration of the cups varied with the
season. Some were made by hand instead of by the aid of a wheel, and
most of the factories tried to satisfy the native connoisseur.


SANDA WARE.

In 1690 a kiln was erected by the Prince of the province of Setsu
to imitate Chinese Celadon. At first pottery was made, but towards
the end of the eighteenth century porcelain methods were brought
from Arita with such successful results that the excellent sea-green
Celadon of Sanda attained great celebrity, in some degree owing to the
considerable quantity of it which was made. In colour Sanda Celadon is
bright green, less warm than that of China and less delicate than the
Nabeshima ware.


SHEBA WARE.

The eggshell porcelain of Japan is not ancient, but near Tokio a
factory produces saki cups which are exceedingly pretty, being elegant
in shape and decoration and having a thin delicate paste. Sometimes
they are covered outside with basket-work, very finely woven.


NOTES ON OTHER WARES.

At Seto, in Owari province, both porcelain and pottery were made;
the former was an importation from Arita, which has now become so
important that porcelain in Japan is known as Seto-mono or Seto ware.
Here, too, was made a kind of stoneware much esteemed by the tea clubs.

At Inuyama, also in Owari, imitations of Chinese porcelain were made,
and called Agaye. Many kilns are still at work here.

At Karatsu, in Hizen, was an ancient factory, now closed, which had a
great reputation for the manufacture of the utensils required by the
tea clubs.

At Nagano-mura, a pottery produced ware with a streaky glaze, but not
painted. Close by, Iga made a singularly rough ware.

At Sobara-mura, Takatori ware, chiefly vases to hold incense, of a rich
brown glazed stoneware, was manufactured. Many makers in various kilns
made the bowls for drinking tea, which was the finest green tea, ground
to powder, frothed up with a brush, and passed in a bowl from hand to
hand. Raku ware, so called from the inscribed mark Raku (happiness),
consisted chiefly of tea-bowls.

Nothing need be said of the modern Japanese potters. The greater part
of the modern imports is too bad for words, and none need be wasted
on it. Yet, amidst much that is thoroughly bad, there are still some
master potters in Kyoto, Tokio, Yokohama, Seyfou, and elsewhere, whose
work is well worth buying.

It will be well to remember that old Japanese has two classes, one with
a white, semi-transparent paste with very simple designs--a plum-tree
and two quails, the tortoise with the hairy tail, the phœnix, a few
storks, or more rarely a Japanese lady in full dress. The colours used
were red, a pale but bright blue, an apple-green, and an unusual lilac
often with the butterfly mark. Dresden, Chelsea, St. Cloud, and other
works imitated this class.

The second class, also imitated in Europe, as at Derby, for example,
had the chrysanthemum and peony decoration; the ornaments are in
compartments or panels, enclosing mythical animals. Specimens before
me are decorated with a deep blue and gold. The other colours chiefly
used are a deep red and a bright black and green. The kiri or kiku
flower, with seventeen blossoms and three leaves, is frequently used.
It is the Imperial badge. The covers of the vases and jars have figures
in Japanese dress or Korean lions on the top. Most of the beautifully
decorated specimens were made for export, the Japanese value the
rough, artistic, but characteristic work.


MARKS.

[Illustration: MARKS]

    (1) Kutani, or Kaga, often with other marks. This is the Prince's mark.

  (2-5) Kutani ware; red, blue, and gold.

  (6-7) Kutani porcelain, usually very fine.

    (8) "Made at Kutani in Great Japan."

    (9) Ohi Ware Kaga.

   (10) Ohi ware, Kaga.

   (11) "Happiness," Kaga. The open window mark.

(12-13) Kenzan, inscribed marks.

   (14) Kenzan, stamped, letters sunk.

   (15) Kenzan painted in brown.

(16-18) Yeiraku. The Nagano-mura is an offshoot in Awaji, same mark.

   (19) "Made by Yeiraku in Great Japan."

(20-21) Kishu. Both marks stamped in the paste.

   (22) Banko. Two stamped marks. On thin teapots, greyish brown ware.

   (23) Banko. Two stamped marks.

   (24) Nishina, a family name.

[Illustration: MARKS]

(25, 26, 27) Soma. Stamped in oblong or oval panel, the oval being the
older. On the outside of some pieces with these marks the crest of the
Prince of Soma (_A_) is found with a prancing horse tied between two
stakes.


MARKS IN THE FORM OF SYMBOLS.

This is a common form of marking Chinese porcelain and Chinese
symbolical ornaments, and were often copied. The five examples given (B
to F) are frequently found on Japanese porcelain:

 (B) A swastika, Buddhist symbol, also a family crest.

 (C) A flower with five leaves, in red.

 (D and E) Two varieties of a plant.

 (F) A leaf, in blue outlined in gold.



  XXXI

  _SECTION III_

  SALE
  PRICES
  OF THE
  LOUIS
  HUTH
  COLLECTION



SECTION III



CHAPTER XXXI

SALE PRICES OF THE LOUIS HUTH COLLECTION

(_Published by kind permission of the Editor of "The Connoisseur."_)


OLD NANKIN PORCELAIN.


                                              £ s. d.

  Vase and cover, oviform, painted with
  ladies in a garden, 11½ in. high           63  0  0

  Bottles, pair, with long necks, painted
  with dragons and flames, 10¼ in.
  high                                       88  4  0

  Bottles, pair, with oviform bodies and
  long slender necks, entirely painted
  with formal flowers and arabesque
  foliage, and with dark blue bands
  round the shoulders, containing
  scrolls and blossom reserved in
  white, 7¾ in. high                        262 10  0

  Vase and cover, tall oviform, painted
  with ladies and boys in a garden,
  11¼ in. high                               56 14  0

  Canisters and covers, set of three
  diamond-shaped, painted with audiences,
  groups of warriors, and an
  execution scene, 12¼ in. high              52 10  0

  Sprinklers, pair, with a band of
  mirror-shaped dark-blue panels round the
  centre, and vandyke borders, containing
  formal flowers and foliage
  reserved in white, the necks delicately
  pencilled with a marbled
  design, 7¼ in. high                       165  0  0

  Vases and covers, set of three oviform,
  and two cylindrical beakers and
  covers, entirely painted with tiger-lily
  ornament and conventional
  blossoms, 5½, 6¾, and 7 in. high          346 10  0

  Vases, pair, cylindrical, painted with
  bands of formal arabesque foliage,
  and with alternate blue bands, with
  dragons and scrolls reserved in white,
  11¼ in. high                              220 10  0

  Vases, pair, cylindrical, powdered-blue,
  painted with fishermen, Sages,
  flowers, &c., in upright and circular
  panels, 10¼ in. high                      150  0  0

  Beaker, painted with branches of flowering
  prunus, the background pencilled
  with blue, 18¾ in. high                   140  0  0

  Vases and covers, pair, oviform, painted
  with peonies, cherry-trees, sparrows
  and rocks, in shaped panels divided
  by trellis-pattern bands, 16½ in.
  high                                      220  0  0

  Vases and covers, set of three oviform,
  and a pair of beakers, painted with
  audiences, plantain and vases of
  flowers, 16½ in. and 18 in. high        1,550  0  0

  Vase and cover, oviform prunus-pattern,
  of the highest quality, finely painted
  with branches of flowering prunus
  on marbled-blue ground, 10¼ in.
  high                                    6,195  0  0

  Bottles, pair, pear-shaped, with blue
  panels containing flowers and leafage
  reserved in white, the necks
  pencilled with marbled pattern in
  blue, 7½ in. high                          75 12  0

  Ewer, with pencilled marbled groundwork
  and dark-blue heart-shaped
  panels, containing scrolls reserved
  in white, 6½ in. high.                     56 14  0

  Bottles, pair, with long necks, painted
  with pendant lanterns and korōs,
  palm-leaves on the necks, 9½ in.
  high                                       52 10  0

  Vases and covers, pair, two-handled,
  painted with fans and utensils in
  mirror-shaped panels and sprays of
  flowers, 11 in. high                       65  2  0

  Dishes, pair, with blue ground, decorated
  with seeding peonies and foliage
  reserved in white, and painted with
  flower-branches round the well,
  18½ in. diameter                           54 12  0

  Bottle, with compressed body and nearly
  cylindrical neck, painted with seeding
  peonies and foliage, and palm-leaves
  round the neck, 18 in. high               294  0  0

  Bowls and covers, pair, cylindrical, with
  marbled-blue ground and prunus-blossom
  in white, painted with
  flowering plants and birds in mirror
  and fan-shaped panels, 7½ in. high        231  0  0

  Vase and cover, oviform, painted with
  panels of prunus-branches and birds
  on a trellis groundwork, and with
  lambrequin-shaped panels round the
  shoulder and foot, containing formal
  flowers reserved in white on blue
  ground, 24 in. high                       136 10  0

  Vase and cover, oviform, painted with
  rocky landscapes and baskets of
  flowers, and with lambrequin-shaped
  panels round the shoulders and
  foot, with scroll foliage reserved in
  white on blue ground, the cover
  surmounted by a small figure of a
  kylin, 23¼ in. high                        78 15  0

  Bottles, pair, powdered-blue, painted
  with vases of flowers and utensils
  in mirror-shaped panels, 11½ in.
  high                                      241 10  0

  Vases and covers, pair, powdered-blue,
  painted with river scenes, flowering
  plants and utensils in variously
  shaped panels, 19 in. high                756  0  0

  Bottles, pair, powdered-blue, with bulbous
  necks, painted with river scenes,
  flowers and utensils in variously
  shaped panels, 18 in. high                420  0  0

  Jars and covers, pair, mandarin, painted
  with bands of arabesques and alternate
  blue bands decorated with
  dragons, flames, and leafage reserved
  in white, 42 in. high                   1,942 10  0

  Cisterns, pair, circular, entirely painted
  with formal flowers and foliage, and
  with a band of beaded ornament
  round the top, 27 in. diameter            210  0  0

  Bowl, painted with groups of various
  flowers, locusts and other insects,
  5¾ in. diameter; and a bowl, with
  flowers, insects and reptiles, 5¾ in.
  diameter                                   89  5  0

  Bowl and cover, small cylindrical, painted
  with mirror-shaped panels of flowers
  on marbled-blue ground, with prunus-blossom
  reserved in white, 5½ in.
  high                                       81 18  0

  Vase, cylindrical, painted with arabesque
  foliage, and with a blue band round
  the centre decorated with dragons
  reserved in white, 11 in. high             86  2  0

  Another vase, nearly similar, 10½ in.
  high                                       90  6  0

  Bottles, pair, pear-shaped, painted with
  pendant lanterns and other ornament,
  and with branches of flowers
  round the necks, 11½ in. high              54 12  0

  Bowls and covers, pair, cylindrical
  powdered-blue, painted with river scenes,
  flowers and utensils in circular
  medallions, 6¾ in. high                   199 10  0

  Jardinières, pair, with prunus-blossom
  reserved in white on marbled-blue
  ground, mounted with Louis XVI.
  ormolu handles chased with foliage
  and shells, and gadrooned borders,
  8 in. diameter                             90  6  0

  Bottle, with long neck, painted with
  kylins playing with balls, and a
  dragon on the neck, 18 in. high            50  8  0

  Vase, painted with an audience and
  figures on a terrace, 21¾ in. high         52 10  0

  Vase, painted with a procession in a
  rocky landscape, 16½ in. high              63  0  0

  Vases and covers, set of three, painted
  with landscapes, cranes, deer and
  other animals in panels with key-pattern
  borders, 19½ in., 20 in., and
  20½ in. high                               54 12  0

  Dishes, pair, large, painted with
  flowering plants in the centre in petal
  panels on trellis-pattern ground, the
  border composed of arabesque foliage,
  among which are figures of
  peacocks and baskets of fruit in
  four panels, 21¾ in. diameter             115 10  0

  Pair of ditto, similar                    115 10  0

  Cistern, octagonal, painted with
  medallions of arabesque foliage,
  characters in the centre, and a band of
  palm-leaves round the shoulder, 25½ in.
  diameter                                   52 10  0

  Bottle, double gourd-shaped, painted with
  gourds and foliage, and a band of
  key-pattern round the centre, 26 in.
  high                                      115 10  0

  Cisterns, pair, circular, painted with
  river scenes in the interior,
  chrysanthemums and lotus outside, 25 in.
  diameter, on walnut-wood stands            44  2  0


CHINESE ENAMELLED PORCELAIN.

  Tea service, with ruby ground, pencilled
  with flowers in grisaille in shaped
  panels, consisting of tea-pot, cover
  and stand, a cream-jug and cover,
  two cups and saucers, and two small
  saucer-dishes                             240  0  0

  Vase, square-shaped, enamelled with
  quails and flowering trees on white
  ground, the handles coral-colour
  and gold, 10¾ in. high                    136  0  0

  Bottles, pair, pear-shaped, with bulbous
  necks, with spiral pink and white
  bands, and enamelled with figures
  and branches of flowers in colours,
  10½ in. high                               58 16  0

  Stand, oblong, enamelled with dragons
  with the Sacred Jewel, in green,
  mauve and yellow, 11¼ in. wide             52 10  0

  Bowl, ruby-coloured, enamelled with a
  kakémono and branches of flowering
  prunus, 7½ in. high                       100  0  0

  Vases, pair, "_famille verte_" fluted, formed
  as bamboo canes, enamelled with
  small sprays of flowers and grasses
  on green and yellow ground, on
  octagonal open stands, enamelled
  green, 8½ in. high                        320  0  0

  Vase, oviform, with bright green ground,
  enamelled with dragons and formal
  flowers in mauve, with arabesque
  foliage reserved in white, and with
  unglazed kylins'-mask handles, 12 in.
  high                                      400  0  0

  Bottle, powdered-blue, of triple
  gourd-shape, enamelled with peonies, other
  flowers and grasses, in "_famille verte_,"
  in mirror and fan-shaped panels,
  10¼ in. high                              357  0  0

  Beakers, pair, with bulbous centres;    }
  the necks are finely enamelled          }
  with a bright green ground, upon        }
  which is formally arranged a            }
  design of flowers and foliage,          }
  enamelled mauve, the centre part        }
  similarly decorated, but with           }
  conventional flowers in green on yellow }
  ground, and with a band of              }
  green vandyke panels below; the         }
  lower half of the beakers is            }
  powdered-blue, 10½ in. high             } 2,700  0  0
                                          }
  Vase and cover, oviform, of somewhat    }
  similar design to the preceding,        }
  the lower part powdered-blue, and       }
  the upper portion and the cover         }
  enamelled with formal flowers and       }
  foliage in green on yellow ground,      }
  12½ in. high                            }

  Bottles, pair, triple gourd-shaped, the
  lower part decorated with medallions
  of masks, utensils and emblems,
  on a floral groundwork, in
  black and gold, the centre part
  pencilled with kylins and flames, in
  rouge-de-fer and gold, on white
  ground, the necks powdered-blue,
  with Ho-Ho birds in gold, 21½ in.
  high                                      480  0  0

  Bottles, pair, small gourd-shaped, with
  engraved yellow ground, enamelled
  with sprays of flowers in colours,
  7 in. high                                115 10  0

  Vase, inverted pear-shaped, with engraved
  yellow ground, enamelled
  with branches of flowers, 10¼ in.
  high                                       66  3  0

  Vases, pair, oviform egg-shell, enamelled
  with houses by a river, a bridge,
  and figures in a summer-house, and
  with gilt necks and feet, 10¾ in.
  high                                      304 10  0

  Vases, set, three oviform, the
  groundwork encrusted with branches of
  flowers, and with upright panels
  enamelled with Sages and other
  figures in landscapes, 7¼ in. and
  8½ in. high                               189  0  0

  Figures of parrots, pair, enamelled
  turquoise and dark blue, and mounted
  on Louis XV. ormolu scroll plinths,
  9¾ in. high                               220 10  0

  Part of a tea-service, with pale yellow
  and black trellis-ground decorated
  with plume ornament in mauve,
  consisting of cream-jug and cover,
  canister and cover, two stands, and
  four cups and saucers                     131  5  0

  Bowls and covers, set, three, enamelled
  with chrysanthemums, branches of
  begonia, and sparrows, and with
  pink diaper-pattern border, 6 in.
  diameter                                  105  0  0

  Tea-service, lotus-pattern, consisting of
  tea-pot, milk-jug, canister, bowl and
  covers, and four cups and three
  saucers; and two small plates,
  enamelled in pink and green, and
  with branch handles                        94 10  0

  Basin, with brown and pink exterior,
  pencilled with tiger-lilies and other
  flowers in gold, the interior enamelled
  with a magician, 4¾ in.
  diameter                                   54 12  0

  Basin, with apple-green ground, pencilled
  with flowers and grasses in
  gold, 4⅝ in. diameter                   79 16  0

  Ewer and cover, powdered-blue oviform,
  enamelled with a stream, lotus
  plants and prunus-tree, with birds
  in "_famille verte_" in shaped panels,
  the ground pencilled with gold,
  8¼ in. high                               378  0  0

  Dishes, pair, powdered-blue, enamelled
  with kylins, Ho-Ho birds and utensils
  in "_famille verte_," in mirror-shaped
  panels, 16 in. diameter                    378 0  0

  Vase, "_famille verte_," of nearly
  cylindrical form, with crimson ground,
  finely enamelled with branches of seeding
  peonies, arabesque foliage and
  dragons, and with pale green and
  yellow lambrequin-shaped panels
  round the borders containing formal
  flowers, mounted with ormolu rim
  and plinth, with Sphinx supports,
  21½ in. high                               600 0  0

  Lantern, oviform egg-shell, with finely
  stippled green ground, enamelled
  with an audience and ladies on a
  terrace, in "_famille verte_" in two
  oblong panels on a groundwork
  of flowers and butterflies                 410  0  0

  Bowl, enamelled with cranes in black
  and white and waves in green on
  yellow ground, 10 in. diameter; and
  a dish, with cranes in black and
  white on pale yellow ground, 11½ in.
  diameter                                   79 16  0

  Basins and stands, pair, small, enamelled
  with peonies, and with pink
  exteriors                                  71  8  0

  Bowls and covers, pair, basket-pattern,
  with panels of pierced honey-comb
  pattern, enamelled with chrysanthemums    189  0  0

  Dish, circular, open-work border enamelled
  with vases and utensils on
  coloured diaper ground, 9¼ in.
  diameter                                  273  0  0

  Plates, pair, octagonal, enamelled with
  ladies and children by a stream, in
  brown border with green trellis edge,
  7¾ in diameter                             78 15  0

  Bowl, with branches of flowers in the
  interior, and medallions of flowers
  outside on an incised green and
  white ground, 10¼ in. diameter             58 16  0

  Jar, cylindrical, with pale green ground,
  decorated with flying cranes in black
  and white, 7 in. high                     260  0  0

  Vase, oviform egg-shell, enamelled with
  ladies in a landscape, carrying vases,
  19 in. high                                99 15  0

  Vase, oviform, with marbled-green
  ground, enamelled with peonies, a
  tree, and birds, 19½ in. high             105  0  0

  Dishes, pair, large, in the Imari taste,
  enamelled with vases of flowers and
  a fence in the centre, and with scroll-shaped
  panels of flowers and birds
  on the border on blue ground with
  chrysanthemums in red and gold,
  21 in. diameter                           173  5  0

  Vase, cylindrical, with pencilled blue
  scale-pattern ground, enamelled
  with lotos, begonias, and other
  flowers in panels, in "_famille verte_,"
  10¾ in. high                               89  5  0

  Dish, egg-shell, enamelled with a peacock
  and peonies in the centre, four
  panels of pink diaper ornament on
  the border on blue ground, 7¾ in.
  diameter                                  100  0  0

  Saucer-dish, with ruby back enamelled
  with a kakémono and flowers in the
  centre and with pale blue marbled
  border with blossom in white, 8 in.
  diameter                                  115 10  0

  Plates, pair, octagonal, enamelled with
  flower-sprays in the centre and with
  ruby panels on the border on blue
  ground, enamelled with peonies,
  7½ in. diameter                           136 10  0

  Bowls, pair, small white, with pierced
  trellis-pattern sides, decorated with
  small medallions of figures modelled
  in high relief and gilt, 3¾ in.
  high                                       60  0  0

  Box and cover, "_famille verte_" square,
  enamelled with a crane and emblems,
  on green and yellow trellis-pattern
  groundwork, 4 in. square                   70  0  0

  Cup, "_famille verte_," octagonal, on foot,
  enamelled with chrysanthemums,
  iris, and other flowers, and insects
  in compartments, 4¾ in. high               54 12  0

  Bowl, with dark green wave-pattern
  ground, decorated inside and out
  with horses, waves, shells, and
  blossom reserved in white and
  partly enamelled mauve, 8¼ in.
  diameter                                  350  0  0

  Bowl, with apple-green ground, decorated
  with a flowering prunus-tree
  reserved in white, heightened with
  mauve enamel, 7¾ in. diameter             370  0  0

  Saucer-dish, black ground, enamelled
  with chrysanthemums, rocks, and
  flowering prunus-tree, 7¾ in. diam.       145  0  0

  Milk-jug and cover, curiously enamelled
  with trumpeters, in colours on black
  enamelled ground                           40  0  0

  Cups and saucers, pair of egg-shell,
  similar                                    55  0  0

  Basin, similar, 5½ in. diameter            50  0  0

  Cups and saucers, pair, with black
  ground, enamelled with prunus and
  panels of flowers, in green, mauve
  and buff, the interiors decorated
  with sprays of flowers in red, blue,
  and green                                 120 15  0

  Jug and cover, barrel-shaped, with green
  enamelled ground, entirely decorated
  with formal flowers and
  leafage reserved in white, mounted
  with old English silver borders and
  billet, 7 in. high                        370  0  0

  Vase, with yellow ground, enamelled
  with a pheasant, peony, and rocks
  in green and mauve, and with
  palm-leaves round the neck, 10½ in.
  high                                      900  0  0

  Bottles, pair, with spherical bodies and
  long cylindrical necks, entirely
  enamelled with formal flowers and
  foliage in "_famille verte_,"
  8¾ in. high                               450  0  0

  Vases, pair, oviform coral-coloured,
  entirely decorated with formal
  flowers and arabesque foliage
  reserved in white, 7¾ in. high            110  0  0

  Bottle, gourd-shaped, of nearly similar
  design, 12 in. high                       300  0  0

  Vase, oviform egg-shell, enamelled with
  a lady seated at a table, and with
  vases at the side, 8¼ in. high            180  0  0

  Another, enamelled with Sages and
  other figures in a mountainous
  landscape, 8¼ in. high                     70  0  0

  Vases, pair, egg-shell, with turquoise
  ground, enamelled with coast scenes
  and figures in the European taste,
  8¼ in. high                                52 10  0

  Bottle, pear-shaped, with black ground,
  entirely decorated with formal
  flowers and small scroll foliage
  reserved in white, 16¾ in. high           651  0  0

  Cistern, oval, enamelled with festoons of
  flowers in the European taste, and
  panels of figures in the interior, the
  outside enamelled with pink and
  green chequer-pattern, mounted on
  Louis XVI. ormolu plinth, with
  gadroon and riband border, 18 in.
  wide                                      567  0  0

  Bottle, of triple-gourd shape, enamelled
  with bright green ground, decorated
  with formal flowers and arabesque
  foliage reserved in white, 11¼ in.
  high                                      600  0  0

  Lanterns, pair, egg-shell, of oviform
  shape, finely enamelled with an
  audience and figures on a terrace,
  8¾ in. high                             1,200  0  0

  Bowls and covers, pair, enamelled with
  vases of flowers, utensils and emblems
  in colours, mounted with
  Louis XVI. ormolu borders chased
  with rosettes and ribands, lions'-mask
  and ring handles, and lions'-claw
  stands of the same, the covers
  surmounted by cone ornaments,
  15½ in. high                              336  0  0



INDEX


        A

  Amida, 69

  Animals, emblems in, 51, 299

  Animals, fabulous, 51

  Apple-green, 179, 272

  Arita ware, 352

  Armorial china, 48

  Artemesia, 301

  _Aubergine_, 106, 280

  Awata ware, 361

  Azalea, 302


        B

  Bamboo, 301

  Bamboo drum, an emblem, 341

  Banko ware, 377

  Base, 17

  Bat, 327, 329

  Beaker, 17

  Biscuit, 17, 209

  Bizen ware, 367

  Black-mirror, 106, 169

  Black under green, 106, 216

  _Blanc de chine_, 46, 137, 150

  Blue, 107, 114, 160, 169, 183, 251

  Blue and red, 125, 194

  Blue and white, 107, 114, 137, 183

  Blue, mazarine, 251

  Blue, powdered, 115, 215, 243

  Body or paste, 17

  Borders, 220

  Bottle, 17

  Brown glaze, 161, 173

  Buddha, 39

  Buddhism, 39

  Buddhist divinities, 68, 81

  Burnt-in, 17


        C

  _Café-au-lait_, 173

  Carp, 275

  Celadon, 17, 33, 98, 107, 115, 124, 159, 166

  _Chair de poule_, 152

  Chakra, 255

  Cheou or Chow, 61, 82, 151, 329

  Chinese characters, plain, text and seal, 310, 314

  Ching-hwa, 98, 101

  Christians in China, 93, 98

  Chrysanthemum, 302

  _Clair-de-lune_, 113, 123, 162

  Clobbered ware, 201

  Coffee-colour glaze, 161

  Colours, glazes, &c., 18, 155, 169, 213

  Colours, order of discovery, 45

  Colours, three, five, 18

  Conch shell, 325

  Confucianism, 37, 256

  Copper-red, _vert de cuivre_, 46

  Coral red ground, 113, 126, 259

  Corean lion, 55, 85

  Crackle, 163, 177


        D

  Date marks, 309, 314

  Date marks, how to read, 311

  Deer, 123, 299

  Deer, _mille cerfs_, 123

  Diapers, 129

  Dog of Fô, Corean lion, 55, 85, 150, 355

  Double circle or rings, 108

  Dragons, 53, 263, 355

  Dresden Collection, 347

  Dynasties, early, 91, 97, 105

  Dynasty, Ming, 95

  Dynasty, Tsing, 103


        E

  East India Company, 287

  Egg-shell, 18, 127, 232, 267, 268

  Eight immortals, 78, 82, 339

  Elizabeth, Queen, 100

  Emblematic designs, 299, 325

  Emblematic gestures, 69

  Emblems in animals, 299

  Emblems in birds, 86

  Emblems in flowers, 300

  Emblems in trees, 301

  Enamel, 18, 33

  Enamels, coloured, 141, 143, 213, 271


        F

  _Familles_ (Families)--
    _Jaune_--Yellow, 47, 252
    _Noire_--Black, 47, 106, 169, 216
    _Rose_--Rose, 48, 111, 122, 127, 143, 243, 264
    _Verte_--Green, 47, 106, 116, 143, 228

  _Feuille morte_, 155, 173

  Fong Hoang, 56, 355

  Fox, 300

  Fenting, soft paste, 18, 31

  Figures, 18

  Fir or pine, 301

  Fish, 326

  Five-colour, 18, 78,

  Flambé, 155, 165, 169

  Flute-emblem, 341

  Forgeries, 24, 126, 311

  Forms, 18

  Fungus, 303, 326


        G

  Gasnault, M., 149

  Ginger jar, oviform vase, 193

  Glaze, 18, 32

  Glazes, self-colour, 33, 153

  Glazes, simple, 153

  Glazes, variegated, 155

  Globber, 202

  Gold, reds from, 116, 264

  Gombron ware, 100

  Gourd, 301

  _Grand feu_, 18

  Graviata, 18, 143

  Green, delicate, 276

  Green family--_Famille verte_, 47, 106, 116, 143, 228

  Green, Ming, 272


        H

  Hard paste, 29

  Hare, 300, 326

  Hawthorn pattern, 144, 192, 227, 301

  Heen-fung, 144

  Hirado ware, 353

  History of porcelain, 89

  Hizen ware, 352

  Ho-Ho bird, 56, 354

  Honorific marks, 312

  Hundred antiques, 18

  Hung-woo, 97, 100

  Huth Collection, sale prices, 385


        I

  Imari ware, 142, 352

  Imbe ware, 369

  Imitations of Oriental porcelain, 293

  Immortals, 78, 82, 339

  Iron-red, _rouge de fer_, 116, 196, 215


        J

  Jacquemart, M., 149

  Jade, 102, 161

  Japanese marks, 362, 365, 381-383

  Japanese porcelain and pottery, 351

  Jesuits in China, 98

  Joo-e-head decoration, 61, 136, 240, 247

  Joo-e-head, symbol, 327


        K

  Kang-he, 103, 183, 214

  Kaolin, 18, 32

  Kea-king, 139

  Kea-tsing, 102

  Keen-lung, 119, 264

  Kenzan ware, 372

  Kiau, dragon, 263

  Kiln, 18, 32, 47

  King-te-chin, 92, 121, 144, 184

  Kishu ware, 375

  Korea, lion of, 55, 85

  Kouan-ti, 73

  Kutani ware, 370

  Kwang-shiu, 144

  Kwan-Yin, 58, 61, 62, 65, 150, 373

  Kylin, 54, 85, 355

  Kyoto ware, 360


        L

  Lange-Lysen, 190, 232

  Lang-yao, 156, 275

  Lao-tseu, 39, 58, 73, 77, 301, 339

  Leaf mark, 326

  Li, dragon, 195, 263

  "Long Elizas," 191, 232

  Longevity, god of, 151

  Lotus, 255, 303, 326

  Lowestoft, 202

  Lung, dragon, 263


        M

  Magnolia, 304

  Mandarin, 18, 129, 133, 283

  Mandarin china, 136, 283

  Marks--
    Date, 314
    Grass, 310
    Hall, 321
    How to read, 311, 317-319
    Seal, 310, 315, 319
    Text, 310

  Mazarine blue, 169, 243, 251

  Mice china, 18

  _Mille cerfs_, 41, 123

  _Mille fleurs_, 123

  Ming, 61, 95, 214, 273, 312

  Mirror black, 106, 161, 169

  _Morte feuille_, 155, 173

  Moulds, 18

  Mudrâs, hand gestures, 69

  Mythical deities, 61, 78, 82, 337


        N

  Nabeshima ware, 353

  Naga, 18

  Nankin blue, 183, 312

  Neck, 19

  Nien-hao, 92, 105, 107, 311


        O

  Ornaments, 19

  Overglaze enamels, 18, 33, 143, 213, 271

  Oviform, 231

  Oxides, 165


        P

  Pa-Kwa, 112, 195, 329

  Pa-sien or Pa-chen, 78, 82, 339

  Paste or Body, 19

  Peach, 301, 304, 327

  Peach bloom or peach blow, 112, 170

  Peach-tree, 301

  Pearl, 325

  Pekin ware, 19

  Peony, 305

  Pe-tun-tze, 19, 31

  Pheasant, 86

  Phœnix, 56

  Pierced or reticulated porcelain, 152, 205, 207

  Pierced patterns, 143, 209

  Pin points, 19

  Piu-hwo, Taoist god, 77

  Poutai, 151

  Powder or powdered blue, 115, 155, 215, 243, 246, 249

  Prunus blossom, 192, 227, 301


        Q

  Queen Elizabeth, 100

  Queen of heaven, Si-Wang-Mu, 57, 66


        R

  Rabbit, 300

  Red, 48, 161, 173

  Red, underglaze with blue, 126, 194

  Religion and Mythology, 35

  Reserves or compartments, 115, 220

  Reticulated porcelain, 152, 205, 207

  Rice bowls, 142

  Rose, 116, 264

  Rose family--_Famille rose_, 48, 111, 116, 122, 264

  _Rouge de fer_, iron red, 116, 196, 215, 231, 259, 261

  Ruby-backed plates, 116, 127, 267

  Ruby-backed plates, sale prices, 127


        S

  Sale Prices--Huth Collection, 387

    "     "    Japanese, 364

  Sanda Ware, 379

  _Sang de bœuf_, 113, 124, 156

  Satsuma ware, 357

  Seal, 310, 316, 319

  Seven borders, 129

  Sheba ware, 379

  Shell, conch, 325

  Show, or Cheou, 61, 82, 151, 329

  Single or self-colour glazes, 153, 161

  Si-Wang-Mu, 57, 66, 301

  Slip, 19

  Soft paste, Fenting, 18, 31

  Soma ware, 378

  Splashed, tiger, 166

  Statuettes, 18, 343

  Stork, 300, 327

  Suen-tih, 97, 99, 159

  Sung dynasty, 92, 161, 179

  Swastika, 136, 256, 279, 326

  Symbolical marks, 325, 384

  Symbols or emblems, 299, 325, 327


        T

  Taoism, 38

  Taoist immortals, 76, 78, 82, 339

  Taou-kwang, 142

  Tests, 191, 371

  Three-colour, 18, 106

  Tiger splashed, 167

  Tortoise, 300

  Transfer printing, 137

  Truité, 179

  Tsing dynasty, 103

  Tung-che, 144


        U

  Under-glaze blue, 107, 114, 183

  Under-glaze red, 126

  Unicorn, or kylin, 54, 85


        V

  Vases, 19

  Vitreous enamels, 18


        W

  Wan Chong, 70

  Wan leih, 18, 106

  Warham, Archbishop, 98

  Wen-tchang, God of Wisdom, 74

  White, 45, 147

  Willow pattern, 19


        Y

  Yang and Yin, 113, 329

  Yao-pien, 19, 165

  Yeiraku ware, 372

  Yellow Family--_Famille jaune_, 47, 252

  Yellow glaze, 160, 173

  Yulan, 247

  Yung-ching, 109

  Yung-lo, 18, 98, 101


UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKING AND LONDON



       *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Notes

1. Characters in small caps have been replaced by all caps.

2. In this file, underscores have been used to represent _italic text_ and equal signs for =bold text=.

3. Illustration Table page number 79/97 has been corrected, incorrect in book.

4. Where the description of an image precedes the image, it has been moved
to AFTER the image, so as to avoid confusion.





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