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Blanc de Chine: Unique name given to Dehua white porcelain

Tracing back to the Xia and Shang (c.21st century-11th century BC) dynasties, the Dehua kilns, renowned for their exquisite white porcelain or “Blanc de Chine” as recognized by French connoisseurs, have endured in popularity throughout the ages.

Across centuries of Maritime Silk Road trade, “Blanc de Chine” conveyed its delicate and translucent features, engaging with diverse civilizations. Salvaged from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) shipwreck Nanhai One, the Dehua four-looped jar, finished in a bluish white glaze and encasing four small bottles, captures scenes of ancient Song cargo ships departing from Quanzhou port, a pivotal hub for global exchanges during the Song and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties.

Dehua porcelain manufacturing peaked during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911) as reflected in the seated figurine of Lord Wenchang, a masterpiece by the 16th-century acclaimed sculptor He Chaozong that showcases smooth lines and a lustrous glaze while depicting the Chinese literary deity.

The Age of Discovery integrated Fujian into the global maritime trade network, resulting in the golden age of the Dehua kilns, which expanded to meet the growing demand for porcelain both globally and domestically. Quanzhou, a pivotal hub in Fujian, was integral to the Maritime Silk Road, exporting Dehua ware worldwide during the Song and Yuan dynasties. Guangzhou in Guangdong province also played a crucial role, evident from ancient shipwrecks, in exporting porcelain along the same maritime route.

Dehua white porcelain, with its exceptional appeal, became a coveted model emulated by major porcelain factories in Europe, significantly contributing to the progress of European porcelain development and showcasing communication between the East and the West.

Explore the timeless allure of the renowned “Blanc de Chine” in the video.