This section includes Blanc de Chine porcelain.
Blanc de Chine porcelain was made in the kilns at Dehua in the South-Eastern coastal province of Fujian, and is prized for its creamy-white, translucent appearance. As with other porcelain types, the characteristics of the finished product is closely linked with the geology and raw materials of the area where it was produced. Dehua clay has a low alkaline content and the porcelain contains high levels of pure china stone, which results in a very hard and sugary body, particularly suited to the production of moulded figures. Consequently, Blanc de Chine figures of Daoist and Buddhist deities are common, as well as intricate moulded decorations on censers and incense burners. Other collectors prize the simplistic beauty of blanc de chine pieces with little decoration to detract from the impact of the colour and glaze. The glaze used in this type of porcelain is transluscent, and appears to adhere to the body of the piece. Dehua porcelains vary over time in their tone: those produced in the Ming Dynasty are said to have a pinkish transluscency, while those from the Transitional Period have a fleshy or pale yellow tone and later examples from the 19th century onwards are rather more transluscent, with a clear white tone. In the mid-20th century several kiln sites dating from the Song-Yuan period were unearthed in the region, but the Dehua kilns received little scholarly attention in China until the 1970s. The recognition of their historical importance and beauty has led to a great increase in academic work on Blanc de Chine, a small selection of which we have recommended below:
- Rose Kerr, 'Blanc de Chine: History and Connoisseurship Reviewed' (Routledge: London, 2002)
- National Palace Museum, Taibei (1974) produced a series of books which we consider to be absolutely essential for the serious collector of Imperial porcelain.
- Donnelly, P.J., Blanc de Chine (Mullen: London, 1969)