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Doucai Chinese Porcelain

Doucai decorated porcelain involves a combination of two techniques. Firstly underglaze cobalt blue outlines are painted to the body of a piece and then secondly, once fired, various overglaze coloured enamels are applied within the borders of the underglaze blue outline.

Chinese history

These wares were first produced in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD) during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Xuande (1425 - 1435 AD). However, early examples are usually more associated with those pieces created during the reign of the Emperor Chenghua (1465 - 1487 AD). After the Emperor Chenghua died, very few Doucai wares were produced. It was not until the 18th century that this technique was revived with good quality examples being created through to the early 20th century.

Meaning of 'Doucai'

The Chinese word 'Doucai' in the context of porcelain has various meanings in China and usually translate as meaning either 'contrasting colours which fit together' or 'enamel decoration applied to both sides of a glaze' as in both underglaze and overglaze.

If you have any silver, please contact Robin Newcombe, silver specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.