French word literally meaning 'flea', from Latin pulic-, pulex . As an adjective used together with the synonyms 'purple', 'violet', 'plumcolored', 'lilac', 'mauve', 'livid' etc. to describe a color varying from dark purplish brown to purplish-pink.
In western writing on Chinese ceramics "Puce" is sometimes used as an alternative term to rouge red when decribing the color of any on-glaze enamel of a dark red-brownish-purplish hue. From its color it is possible that the enamel might be based on manganese rather than gold as used for the famille rose shades of pink. It should still be considered as belonging to the famille rose (fencai) palette. Most important, it should not be mistaken for overglazed iron red or the underglaze copper red it was developed to replace.
In Chinese terminology several terms occurs describing the same enamels but with various names depending on how dark or light the purple color is. Yan zhi hong (Rouge red) for one example is a derivative of 'jin hong' (gold red), also known as yang hong, seems to suggests that gold was used to arrive at the color. The lighter rose pink shades are called yan zhi hong, yan shi shui and fen hong you.