According to archaeological discoveries, blue and white porcelain began in the middle and late Tang Dynasty and has a history of more than 1,300 years.
The front abdomen of the holding pot has a picture of three plum blossoms painted in cobalt blue, and the mouth is painted with morning glory. The colors are bright, the painting technique is suitable, and there is a little smudging, which has the charm of traditional literati ink.
Tang blue and white are generally coarse and loose, with beige color and poor sintering. The base glaze is yellowish in white, and the enamel is coarse. Apply makeup soil between the glaze. The types of vessels are mainly small pieces, such as complexes, bowls, jars, and lids. Except for the fish algae pattern jars collected by the Copenhagen Museum, Denmark, the rest are all flower patterns.
Song blue-and-white found in China is very rare, the quality of Song blue-and-white is poor, and the fetal quality is average. The domestic blue-and-white cobalt material used is gray after firing the porcelain, and a few are white porcelain fetuses with fine fetal quality. The glazed surface is less pure white, most of which are shining blue, yellow and shadow blue in white. Gray-blue or gray-black, and some are directly black. In terms of decoration techniques, Song blue and white porcelain has both underglaze and overglaze. In the ornamentation, Song Dynasty blue and white porcelain pattern ornaments are mostly peony, chrysanthemum, flower pattern, tree, circle pattern, wave pattern, text, etc. In the late Song Dynasty, the development of ornamentation is more complicated. In terms of shape, Song blue and white porcelain tends to be practical objects, such as bowls, plates, jars, bottles, pillows, etc., with different shapes and sizes.
In comparison, Yuan blue and white porcelain has greatly changed the implicit and introverted style of traditional porcelain. It belongs to underglaze blue and white. It is painted with the famous imported material-Su Ma Liqing cobalt material. After firing the porcelain, the color is strong and bright, with vivid visual effects. Give people a concise pleasure. With its grandeur and heroic spirit and artistic original spirit, it pushed the art of blue and white painting to the top, and established the prosperity and endurance of blue and white porcelain in later generations.
The reason why each piece of Yuan blue and white is so valuable is closely related to its scarcity in the world. According to relevant information, there are more than 500 pieces of Yuan blue and white porcelain scattered around the world. From the perspective of handed down items, in addition to some domestic museums, art galleries and other institutions that have handed down blue and white porcelain collections, some museums and related institutions in Europe, America, the Middle East, Japan, and Southeast Asia also have a certain number of collections. treasure”.
The loss of cultural relics is the eternal pain of the Chinese nation. The porcelain is silent. These exquisite blue and white porcelains of Yuan Dynasty that have been lost overseas are still lying in museums in foreign countries, telling the gentle beauty and Chinese stories from China.
“Eleventh Year of Zhizheng” inscription blue and white cloud-dragon elephant ear vase Yuan height 63.8 cm diameter 14.3 cm foot diameter 17.5 cm collection of British Da Weide Chinese Art Foundation
Blue and white flowers, flowers, birds, and waterfowl patterns. Hexagonal bottle, height 45.5 cm, diameter 10.4 cm, foot diameter 14.1 cm collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK
Blue-and-white entwined branches with floral pattern. Hollow base. Height 28.9 cm. Diameter 23.5 cm. Base diameter 27.4 cm. Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge
A blue and white entwined lotus with a lotus pattern, a high-foot bowl, a height of 17.8 cm, a diameter of 18 cm, a foot diameter of 11.5 cm, collection of Asmolin Museum, Oxford University, England
Blue and white lotus pond with mandarin duck pattern, height 13.9 cm, diameter 29.7 cm, foot diameter 9 cm, Japan, Osaka Municipal Oriental Ceramic Art
Green ground and white flower basin with a flower pattern, height 13 cm, diameter 46 cm, foot diameter 23 cm, Victoria and Albert Museum, England
Blue and white phoenix auspicious beast wearing pattern four series flat square pot Yuan 36.3 cm long 26.3 cm wide 9.6 cm National Museum of Iran
A blue and white wrapped peony and beast pattern amphora, height 50.5 cm, diameter 40.5 cm, foot diameter 19.5 cm National Museum of Iran
Compared with the simple painting techniques and low technical content on the porcelain of the Tang and Song Dynasties, the blue and white pieces of Yuan Dynasty have a thick and natural appearance. In the face of Yuan Qinghua, both previous and future generations of similar art can only “look up”. In 2005, a “Yuan Qinghua Ghost Valley Downhill Picture Jar” at the Christie’s auction in London was sold for 15.688 million pounds (about 230 million yuan). This price not only created the highest transaction record for Chinese porcelain at that time, but also set the highest price for Chinese art at that time.
In addition to being scarce in the world, the extremely high artistic, cultural and craft value of Yuan blue and white is also the reason for its high price.
Before the Yuan Dynasty, painters were mostly a profession. In the Yuan Dynasty, domestic literati painting was popular in China. The literati painters paid attention to painting style and were proficient in painting techniques. The famous “Four Yuan schools” in the history of Chinese painting appeared: Huang Gongwang, Wang Meng and Ni Yunlin , Wu Zhen, its influence is extremely far-reaching. In addition, Qian Xuan, Zhao Mengfu… all of them can be called masters in the painting world, and they have become models for future generations of calligraphy and painting practitioners.
Affected by this, the porcelain of the Yuan Dynasty is generally exquisite in art and high in taste, and both the shape and the painting have reached a considerable height. The industry believes that although the historical records did not clearly record that the great painters of the Yuan Dynasty participated in the production of Yuan blue and white flowers, it does not rule out such a situation.
As a horse nation, the Mongolian nation, the ruler of the Yuan Dynasty, likes large objects, making the blue and white porcelain handed down from the Yuan Dynasty mostly large ones. Such as the huge blue and white plate, the general jar, the plum bottle and so on. The Ming and Qing dynasties blue and white strive to learn from Yuan blue and white, but they are not good at learning skills, and it is difficult to see the beauty of Yuan blue and white.
Therefore, Yuan Qinghua has almost concentrated all the reasons for the “valuable” of cultural relics.
It is reported that the “high imitations” of Yuan blue and white flowers appeared in the 1980s. Chen Menglong, Li Huizhong, and Huang Yunpeng of the Jingdezhen Ceramic Museum are among the masters. They used “experimental archaeology” to study and restore the production techniques of Yuan Qinghua, but now many “high imitations” are regarded as genuine products.
The identification of whether a porcelain is blue and white in the Yuan Dynasty generally relies on the mastery and perception of the characteristics of the entire Yuan Dynasty cultural relics, and uses contemporary Longquan kiln artifacts and other artifacts as “references” to interact with each other in enamel, shape, porcelain body, craft and style. Refer and compare. For example, the blue and white cobalt material used in Yuan blue and white contains a lot of iron, and iron spots will be left after the kiln changes. This is a general criterion for judging the characteristics of Yuan blue and white.
In addition, it is the reference of the upper and lower dynasties. If a blue and white porcelain is neither in the Song Dynasty nor in the Ming Dynasty, it may be a work in the Yuan Dynasty, and the “exclusion method” is used to make the identification result.