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Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Vase.

The blue and white Chinese porcelain vases have a fascinating history.

  1. Ancient Mesopotamian Influence: Underglaze blue and white pottery was initially introduced by the ancient Mesopotamians, who used cobalt oxide pigment to imitate lapis lazuli. Later, during the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate, blue and white pottery gained popularity across the Middle East.

  2. Chinese Beginnings: The very first blue and white pottery in China emerged during the early Tang dynasty (618–907 AD) in Henan. However, these early pieces were earthenware rather than porcelain.

  3. Yuan Dynasty Innovations: As cobalt arrived in China via the Silk Road, Yuan dynasty potters experimented with it. The porous surface of the vessels required precise brushwork. Initially greyish black, the heat of glazing transformed the cobalt into a brilliant blue.

  4. Ming Dynasty Transformation: When the Ming dynasty began in 1368, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (Hongwu Emperor) shifted from the detailed Islamic style to a dominant Chinese style.


In this vase, do you see the face of a person in the tree?


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