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Decorative Designs in Chinese Art 中国文物的纹饰

Fire Design 火纹
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Qing Dynasty

In the Qing greater control of the shades of blue was developed in Blue and white porcelain. This is apparent in the bottle below from the Kangxi reign.

reserved panel design
景德镇 康熙公元1662〜1722) 上海博物馆
Porcelain bottle with blue background and reserved panel design
Jingdezhen Kiln, Kangxi Reign, Qing Dynasty (1662—1722), Shanghai Museum

The flower vase below has a beautiful praying mantis design.

Blue and white porcelain flower container with a praying mantis design
康熙公元1661〜1722苏州博物馆
Blue and white porcelain flower container with a praying mantis design
Kangxi Reign, Qing Dynasty (1662—1722), Suzhou Museum

A dragon design is shown on the blue and white porcelain below.

blue and white (porcelain)
景德镇 雍正(1723〜1735北京首都博物馆
Blue and white porcelain zun with a cloud and dragon design
Jingdezhen Kiln, Yongzheng Reign, Qing Dynasty (1723—1735), Capital Museum, Beijing

The cloud and dragon design 云龙纹 is also used on the porcelain plate below. It is a very popular design, appropriate because dragons spend most of their time flying around in clouds.

cloud and dragon design
景德镇 雍正(1723〜1735北京首都博物馆
Cloud and Dragon Design on a Blue and White Porcelain Plate
Jingdezhen Kiln, Yongzheng Reign, Qing Dynasty, (1723—1735), Capital Museum, Beijing

Bodhidharma 达摩 was an Indian monk who travelled to China, settled in Luoyang and founded the Chan (Zen) school of Buddhism. He is a popular figure to display in temples and other locations. A porcelain figure of Bodhidharma is shown below.

Bodhidharma
雍正(1723〜1735苏州博物馆
Bodhidharma
Yongzheng Reign, Qing Dynasty, (1723—1735), Suzhou Museum

The photograph below shows a Mongol style Duomu 多穆壶 pitcher from the Jingdezhen Kiln.

duomu hu
景德镇 乾隆(1736〜1795北京首都博物馆
Duomu pitcher with Granadilla Floral Design
Jingdezhen Kiln, Qianlong Reign, Qing Dynasty (1736—1795), Capital Museum, Beijing

Duomu are tubular shaped pitchers that were used in the Yuan, especially by Mongolians and Tibetans ethnic groups to store milk and utensils. They are often decorated with a corolla 花冠 (a band of flowers) and other floral decorations.

Doucai plate with shou character design
乾隆(1736〜1795苏州博物馆
Doucai plate with shou character design
Qianlong Reign, Qing Dynasty (1736—1795), Suzhou Museum

The blue and white porcelain flat sided vase 抱月瓶 from the Qian Long reign below uses an eight Buddhist emblems 八吉祥, also called eight auspicious treasures 佛教八宝, design. Emperor Qian Long was a devout Buddhist. The treasures are (1) Wheel , (2) conch shell , (3) umbrella , (4) canopy / flag , (5) lotus , (6) jar , (7) fish , and (8) mystic knot . It imitates a similar vase from the Yong Le reign in the Ming.

Eight Buddhist emblems / Eight auspicious treasures / Eight auspicious signs
乾隆(1736〜1795北京首都博物馆
Flat Sided Vase with Eight Buddhist Emblems Design
Qianlong Reign, Qing Dynasty (1736—1795), Capital Museum, Beijing

The gold color for the dragon in the artifact below was produced using gold overglaze 金彩. Gold overglaze is believed to have originated in the Song. The Ding Kiln 定窑 was best known for the technique.

Vase with a golden dragon and cloud design on a green background
乾隆(1736〜1795上海博物馆
Vase with a golden dragon and cloud design on a green background
Qianlong Reign, Qing Dynasty (1736—1795), Shanghai Museum

Fencai 粉彩 is a style that emerged at the end of the Kangxi reign, succeeding the wucai style. In comparison, Fencai uses softer colors, which are based on enamel coloring. The hanging vase 壁瓶 below from the Jia Qing reign uses a Fencai style.

a hanging vase
嘉庆(1796〜1820北京首都博物馆
Fencai hanging vase with floral design
Jia Qing Reign, Qing Dynasty (1796-1820), Capital Museum, Beijing

Chen Guozhi 陈国治 was a well-known artist at Jingdezhen Kiln. The brush holder below has Chen Guozhi's stamp underneath.

Chen Guozhi
景德镇窑 道光(1821〜1850上海博物馆
Yellow glazed porcelain brush holder with Chen Guozhi Stamp
Daoguang Reign, Qing Dynasty (1821-1850), Shanghai Museum

The vase below also uses gold overglaze. This is a type of example of the generic overglaze 釉上彩 technique, were the gold or other coloring is applied over the top of a previously fired base glaze layer. Glazes, gold, or enamel can be used as the overglaze color material. After application of the overglaze the artifact is fired again at a temperature of between 600 and 900 degrees Celcius.

medallion design medallion design
景德镇窑 光绪公元1875〜1908上海博物馆
Vase with blue background and gold medallion design
Guangxu Reign, Qing Dynasty (1875-1908), Shanghai Museum

In the Qing Dynasty, especially during the Kangxi reign, there were innovations from introduction of foreign techniques and new developments of traditional techniques. Jingdezhen Kiln experimented with different techniques using gold leaf and mixing gold powder with lead oxide. They created some great porcelain items, like the piece above.

Fencai zun with deer design
光绪公元1875〜1908苏州博物馆
Fencai zun with deer design
Guangxu Reign, Qing Dynasty (1875-1908), Suzhou Museum

Porcelain jewelry is less common. The picture below shows a porcelain thumb ring.

Green porcelain thumb right with carved pattern
公元1644〜1911苏州博物馆
Green porcelain thumb right with carved pattern
Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Suzhou Museum
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