Dehua wares: also called but not limited to Blanc de chine.
Kiln complexes in the vicinity of the town of Dehua in Dehua xian, Fujian Province. Centered at Dehua in Fujian province, the Dehua kilns produced a number of different wares from the Song dynasty up until today. The production started during the Northern Song period to be greatly expanded during the Southern Song dynasty.
The earliest wares were a limited line of qingbai wares mostly copying the more famous wares from Jingdezhen. Black, brown, green, blue-and-white and enameled wares was also made and exported from this area. The best known of these are the monochrome white wares such as Buddhist and Daoist figures, and vessels such as incense burners and vases who from the end of the 17th century and onwards in considerable numbers came to be exported to the west under the name of "Blanc-de-Chine". Some of these were even made in forms designed to appeal to Western tastes. Dehua porcelains are among the few Chinese ceramics on which potter's seals are regularly found. Since 1954 Chinese archaeologists have discovered more than 300 kiln sites dating from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties in the Fujian province. By 1990 148 kiln sites has been established and documented as belonging to the Dehua district alone. Even if Dehua Blanc-de-Chine is the most well known it was by no means the only ware produced in Dehua, let alone in Fujian.
Blanc de chine from Dehua have a fine,grained, vitreous, white body that seems to have been entirely made from a pulverized local porcelain stone; it is embraced by a thick, satiny glaze that ranges in tone from milky white through warm ivory to a faint rosy hue. There is a large variety of blanc de chine vessels, including numerous objects for the writing table, but the many porcelain figures that often represent Buddhist or Taoist deities are the most glamorous of these wares.
Dehua ceramic sculptures vary considerably in quality; at best they exhibit a virtuosity of modeling that raises them to the rank of true masterpieces, with serene expression and fluid robes celebrating the skill of a master craftsman.
In addition to splendid white porcelains, the Dehua kilns manufactured a certain amount of blue, and, white wares and some porcelains with monochrome glazes, notably brownish red and purplish blue. Some Dehua porcelains have been embellished with overglaze enamel decoration; however, where this enameling was done has not been established. Kilns in Dehua xian date back at least to the Song dynasty. Apparently the distinctive blanc de chine porcelains were initiated toward the end of the Ming dynasty, and production considerably increased during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Because these wares followed a traditional style over a long period of time, it is difficult to date them precisely.
See also: Blanc de Chine