The use of green in ceramic design had been popular long before the development of the enamels seen in Famille Verte porcelain design, and traditional lead-green glazes remained popular throughout the Ming. During the early Qing, the translucent enamels used in wucai porcelain of the Wanli period underwent technological improvements and developed into the 'Famille Verte' style (to use its European name). The decoration is applied on top of the glaze after a base-firing, and the piece is then fired again at a lower temperature of about 800 degrees in a so-called 'muffle kiln' so as not to spoil the delicated coloured enamels.
Kangxi Famille Verte porcelain often boasts very imaginative designs, and can incorporate stories from Chinese mythology, historical events, religious scenes and literary subjects in its decoration. There is also a great diversity of shape and form, with specific European-style objects being made for export alongside more usual Chinese forms. Beer mugs, candle holders and European-style bowls were produced to order, with models in wood or metal often provided by traders.
Famille Verte porcelain represents very good value for the collector.
We recommend the following books:
-Groninger Museum, Jorg, Christiaan J.A., Famille Verte: Chinese Porcelain in Green Enamels (2011)