History of Blue-and-White Ceramics - Classic Color Combination

Trace the grand and global journey of this decorative tradition, from an ancient experiment in southern China to a 21st-century classic.

Imagine the frenzy: a novel white porcelain arriving from the East, the surface almost jewel-like in its translucency and hand-brushed in a festival of cobalt decoration. It was a stirring debut 200 years in the making. The exotic blue-and-white wares marched through 16th- and 17th-century Europe like a vivid carnival, fresh off a journey of color and craft that began in southern China, where artisans discovered a chemical kinship between their prized porcelain (made with locally sourced and highly coveted kaolin) and cobalt oxide (the only pigment to withstand porcelain’s high-firing temps). Black Stoneware Plates

History of Blue-and-White Ceramics - Classic Color Combination

Technology evolved, but the regal color map was, as they say, baked in. In the centuries that followed, artisans across four continents joined the crusade, forging a grand—and global—ceramics tradition. Here, a look at the majestic migration of blue-and-white wares and the decorative imprint etched immortal.

This feature originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of VERANDA. Produced by Dayle Wood; written by Ellen McGauley; illustrations by Emily Faccini

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History of Blue-and-White Ceramics - Classic Color Combination

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