Blue and white porcelain is one of the most emblematic productions of Chinese art, reaching its apex with the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty. It was created by painting designs with the distinctive cobalt-oxide mixture under the glaze. Cobalt ores were imported from Persia, and were considered precious ingredients at the time, used only in limited quantities. These were ground into a pigment, which were painted directly onto the smooth porcelain body. The piece was then glazed and fired. When fired in the kiln, the cobalt would have reacted to generate the distinctive bright sapphire blue colour, which in Chinese culture is often linked with the season of spring, hence associated with growth and advancement. Porcelain boxes, such as this fine example, would have been not only used as everyday containers, but also placed as grave goods with the deceased.
Blue and White Ceramic Box from the Qing Dynasty
A very fine Qing Dynasty blue and white ceramic box complete with its original lid. The box is raised on four small feet and features a decorated surface in blue and white pigment, with much of the original glaze intact. A floral composition decorates the lid, framed by rich geometric patterns on all of the corners. A similar motif is repeated on the base, which presents highly decorated corners and a central geometrical design on each side. On the inside, both the lid and the base present an inscription written in Chinese characters. This allows to date the box to the Emperor Qianlong (乾隆) and Emperor Daoguang (道光) periods. It also allows to identify its owner as a military official, who once lived in the Southern district (南城，nan cheng) of Beiping, modern day Beijing.
Period: Qing Dynasty, Qianlong and Doaguang period.
Condition: Fine condition, some weathering and signs of ageing to the surface. An airline underglaze crack on the lid.