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National Palace Museum

Ming Underglaze Blue Porcelains : Decorative Motifs and Glazes

  • Chief Editor: Liao, Bao-xu
    Written by Liao, Bao-xu
    Translated by Gu De-qian
  • Editor: Kang Xiu-lan
  • ISBN: 978-957-562-776-8
  • Price: NT$1000
  • Binding: hardcover
  • Languages: Chinese and English
The quality and quantity of Ming dynasty imperial kilns and blue-and-white porcelains in the collection of the National Palace Museum (NPM) are renowned both at home and abroad. The display of such artifacts at all exhibitions curated by the NPM has been well received. Since the establishment of imperial kiln factories at Jingdezhen during the Hong-wu era (1368–1398), Ming dynasty (1368–1644), various sacrificial vessels, furnishings, and imperial court instruments had been created. This gave birth to artifacts featuring colors and images in riotous profusion, particularly the blue-and-white porcelains; the said porcelains became important trade commodities at the time and were widely praised by the world.

Liao Bao-xiu is a retired researcher who previously worked at the Department of Antiquities of the NPM. With a research background in porcelain and tea culture as a result of many years of study, Liao will enlighten readers by delving into the glaze and decorative patterns of blue-and-white porcelains, analyzing the materials, distinctive decorative patterns, and techniques used in the making of blue-and-white porcelains during different time periods, elucidating how blue-and-white porcelains rose to dominance because of their practicality, decorativeness, and diversified colors, and presenting blue-and-white porcelain-related terminologies and illustrations to explicate the cultural implications hidden behind the decorative patterns as well as the evolution of the glaze. By introducing the crafts used by the different dynasties, such as the dancai (single color), duocai (multiple colors), wucai (five colors), and doucai (contrasting colors), readers who are fascinated by blue-and-white porcelains will gain insight into the professional realm of porcelains and be able to enjoy their splendid and luxuriant colors.
 
In addition, Liao will explain in detail the development of blue-and-white porcelains during the Ming dynasty that spanned over a period of 300 years. The development of the said porcelains is divided into three time periods based on the materials, production methods, and crafts employed to make them. The time periods consist of the early period (in which the porcelains were bright, gaudy, bold, and free), the middle period (in which the porcelains were clean, elegant, simple, and refined), and the late periods (in which the porcelains were thick, deep, primitive, and rough). In this catalogue, more than 100 pattern illustrations are introduced to expound the cultural implications of various decorative patterns such as the dragon-like patterns (that are representative of China), flowers, animals, human figures, and side ornaments. Furthermore, different porcelain types are described in detail to make this catalogue extremely useful when visiting blue-and-white porcelain exhibitions and when learning about blue-and-white porcelains.
Ming Underglaze Blue Porcelains: Decorative Motifs and Glazes
Ming Underglaze Blue Porcelains: Decorative Motifs and Glazes