Chinese blue and white porcelain have become the most popular porcelain, being the most treasured porcelain in the world. This high-quality porcelain, decorated by different blue pigments, usually cobalt oxide, was made more than 1,000 years ago. Today, it is still highly regarded for its exquisite color, the vivid yellow, red, orange, blue, brown and other hues. The porcelains are of high quality and are resistant to various colors and stains.
The most popular material used for making Chinese blue and white porcelain is a type of cobalt oxide. Its primary components are boron, manganese oxide and aluminium oxide. These compounds are mixed with cement and water to produce clays. After hardening, the resulting product is hard and glossy, having a grainy texture. The surface is usually very rough and unrefined, being more translucent than the polished surfaces of other types of porcelains.
The use of this blue and white ceramic was limited to furniture and decorative ceramics only, but gradually this was changed, and in the 1950's, the porcelains were used for different purposes, including interior decorations. Soon, the factories started using automatic squeegees to apply the color into the ceramic tiles. Then, all these changes resulted in the development of modern Chinese Porcelain, which are highly reliable and durable, being resistant to staining, cracking and shrinking.
These ceramics have many fascinating characteristics. They vary significantly in composition (e.g. zinc and manganese are replaced by calcium and magnesium) and are colored either blue or white. The blue is considered to be representative of the Chinese dragon, while the white represents Buddha, and the black is called the 'bones' of the dragon.
The most famous types of Chinese blue and white porcelain are the 'Shanlong Bao', the 'Yanglong Bao', the 'Xuilong Bao' and the'Jiuquan Bao'. The most popular ones are those with the names of famous Chinese personalities. For example, the 'Shanlong Bao', that of the late Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, belongs to the group of porcelains depicting the Chinese national hero, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. On the other hand, the 'Xuilong Bao' belongs to the group of Chinese national heroes, including the late Mao Tse Tung, and the'Jiuquan Bao' belongs to Mao Tse Tung's wife.
Most of the Jingdezhen porcelain factories are located in the Guilin area of central China, which is close to the city of Chongqing (the capital of the Republic of China). There are at least a hundred Jingdezhen porcelain factories located there. Local artisans make all these porcelains; so, it can be said that the quality of Chinese blue and white ware has greatly improved since the traditional style of porcelain manufacturing by ceramic master workers established in the late 1980s.