DEHUA BLANC-DE-CHINE GUANYIN
Height 32,5 cm. Qing Dynasty, China
P R O V E N A N C E: Private collection, Amstedam
DEHUA BLANC-DE-CHINE GUANYIN. The GuanYin standing on a square stylized rockwork base. The figure dressed in long layered robe, holding a lingzhi fungus in one hand. A small deer standing in attendance dressed with a collar hung with bells. Plumes and lingzhi fungus, a vase of flowers balanced on his back.
* Dehua porcelain (Chinese: 德化陶瓷; pinyin: Déhuà Táocí) is a type of white Chinese porcelain, made at Dehua in the Fujian province. A traditional European term for it is Blanc de Chine (French for “White from China”). It has been produced from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) to the present day. Large quantities arrived in Europe as Chinese Export Porcelain in the early 18th century and it was copied at Meissen and elsewhere. It was also exported to Japan in large quantities.
The area along the Fujian coast was traditionally one of the main ceramic exporting centers. Over one-hundred and eighty kiln sites have been identified extending in historical range from the Song period to present. The two principal kiln sites were those of Qudougong (屈斗宫) and Wanpinglun (碗坪仑). The Wanpinglun site is the older of the two and manufactured pressed wares and others. The kilns of Dehua also produced other ceramic wares, including some with under glaze blue decoration.
Brush Holder, with design of carved cranes and lotuses worked into the paste. Late 17th-18th century (Qing dynasty), 9.7 cm (3.8 in) tall
From the Ming period porcelain objects were manufactured that achieved a fusion of glaze and body traditionally referred to as “ivory white” and “milk white.” The special characteristic of Dehua porcelain is the very small amount of iron oxide in it, allowing it to be fired in an oxidising atmosphere to a warm white or pale ivory color. This color makes it instantly recognizable and quite different from the porcelain from the Imperial kilns of Jingdezhen, which contains more iron and has to be fired in reduction (i.e., an atmosphere with carbon dioxide) if it is not to appear an unpleasant straw color.
The unfired porcelain body is not very plastic but vessel forms have been made from it. Donnelly lists the following types of product: figures, boxes, vases and jars, cups and bowls, fishes, lamps, cup-stands, censers and flowerpots, animals, brush holders, wine and teapots, Buddhist and Taoist figures, secular figures and puppets. There was a large output of figures, especially religious figures, e.g.,Guanyin, Maitreya, Luohan and Ta-mo figures. Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, was particularly revered in Fujian and there exist innumerable figures of her. Donnelly says, “There is no doubt that figures constitute the great glory of blanc de Chine.” Some have been produced with little modification from the late 16th or early 17th century. Crisply modeled figures with a smooth white glaze were popular as were joss-stick holders, brush pots, Dogs of Fo, libation cups and boxes.