Blanc de Chine is the name known in the West for the pure white to cream Chinese porcelain with its simple lines and understated style, produces not only a sense of calm, but the perfect antique lamp. 

The interior lighting of our homes is a basic requirement to a comfortable life; but we can take yet another step and choose a style of lighting that adds to, not only our physical comfort, but our psychological comfort as well.  Blanc de Chine, with its simple lines and elegant understated style, produces, not only a sense of calm, but the perfect antique lamp,

One of the outstanding qualities of the beautiful white porcelain known to the West as “Blanc de Chine” is its unique ability to adapt to the evolution of changing styles. It always remains “modern” and completely at home in the traditional / classic, or, most contemporary interior.

Pictured is an 18th century, Chinese, Blanc de Chine lamp of perfectly understated style. The lamp of simple “sleeve vase” shape tapering to a base of reduced diameter.  The lamp with an even, creamy white glaze, typical of this beautiful 18th century, Fujian porcelain.  The lamp on an antique hand carved, Chinese hardwood stand of elegant style. Very finely carved with foliated openwork and standing on four ju’i shaped feet.  The lamp on-stand, seated in a gold plated bronze ring.  The lamp cap of gold plated bronze.

Ch’ien Lung  Reign – circa 1780  

Overall height (including shade) 26″ / 66cm

The term “Blanc de Chine” is always used to describe this highly translucent porcelain produced at the famous kilns at Te Hua in China’s Fukien province. The area along the Fujian coast was traditionally one of the main ceramic exporting centres. Over 180 kiln sites have been identified extending in an historical time line from the Song period, 960-1279, to the present day. 

Blanc de Chine does not sound very Chinese, being French for “White of China” porcelain. But it was, of course, the French of the early 19th century who gave us the names of the beautiful Chinese coloured ceramic glazes.  Blanc de Chine is a creamy white to pure white porcelain, first produced during the latter part of the long Ming dynasty, 1368 – 1644.  On a technical note, the white color of Blanc de Chine is due to the lack of iron, (less than 0.5 percent ferric oxide), in the clay mined at Te Hua.  Rich in quartz and kaolin, seri cite and feldspar and low levels of iron, led to the production of this high quality white porcelain.

The first Blanc de Chine shapes were devotional objects such as incense burners, candlesticks, flower vases and figures of saints.  These shapes conformed to the official stipulations of the early Ming period, not only in their whiteness but also in imitating the shape of archaic ritual objects.  Blanc de Chine is especially found in the very fine devotional figures of the Buddha and of Kuan-Yin, the goddess of mercy, who was particularly revered in Fujian.

White porcelain has always been very popular among the Chinese, who love simple, practical and traditional home decoration.  It must also be mentioned that white is the color of filial piety which has always been important to traditional Chinese culture.  These early Ming period porcelain shapes were manufactured to achieve a perfect fusion of glaze and body, traditionally referred to as ivory white and milk white.

Blanc de Chine is seen as an aesthetic style of porcelain, possibly appreciated more by the aesthetically minded collector / decorator, being completely undecorated and relying entirely upon its form, which is usually simple in style.

When Europeans discovered Chinese porcelain in the early 17th century, large quantities arrived in Europe as Chinese export porcelain and were successfully copied at Meissen and in the mid 18th century in England, at Chelsea and Bow.  Many 18th and 19th century European factories continued to reproduce porcelain in Blanc de Chine style.

When it comes to dating a piece of Blanc de Chine, it can be difficult, as contemporary reign marks were not used and dated pieces are rare.  The unchanging output over long periods and the independence of provincial kilns from court fashion does not offer many clues by way of comparison with other porcelains produced in the 17th/18th century. Most information on this beautiful Te Hua white porcelain comes to us from trading records, shipwrecks, chemical analysis and well documented European collections. This combined information allows Blanc de Chine to be dated with reasonable accuracy.

Listed in their on-line inventory, The Antique and Vintage Table Lamp Co have Blanc de Chine antique lamps in this cool and elegant, completely understated style. kids night light

By Admin

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