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  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    1683-1722 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in underglaze blue and polychrome enamels

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 21, shelf 2 []

Porcelain decorated with polychrome enamels on a black ground began to be more widely produced in Jingdezhen in south-east China during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722) after the re-organisation of the imperial kilns in the 1680s. During this period, green enamel was sometimes applied over the black to obtain a deeper colour.

This type of ware was a popular export item during the early 18th century, and became particularly fashionable in Europe and in the States at the end of the 19th century, when many copies were produced either as new items or by adding a black ground to earlier enamelled pieces. Due to the predominance of black in the palette, the European collector Albert Jacquemart coined the term famille noire in 1873, although this ware is generally known as wucai in China.

Physical description

Cup and saucer decorated in underglaze blue and polychrome enamels (green, white, yellow) with flowers in the inside and with flowers contained in medallions reserved against a black ground interspersed with prunus flowers on the outside; fungus mark on the base.

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)


1683-1722 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in underglaze blue and polychrome enamels

Marks and inscriptions

Fungus in underglaze blue on the base


Diameter: 12 cm saucer

Descriptive line

Cup and saucer decorated in underglaze blue and polychrome enamels with a black ground, Jingdezhen, China, kangxi reign, ca. 1683-1722

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kerr, Rose Chinese Ceramics, Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty 1644-1911. London: V&A Publications, 1998, p. 99, no. 75

Labels and date

Cup and saucer with black ground
China, 1683–1722, painted in
underglaze blue
Porcelains with black grounds, known
as famille noire, were very fashionable
in Europe in the late 1800s.
Museum no. C.1126&A-1910, Salting Bequest [September 2009]




Glazed; Painted

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Fungus


Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares; Ceramics; Porcelain


East Asia Collection

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