Description: Cobalt was used as a pigment to obtain the colour blue centuries earlier in China, but it was not until the early years of the fourteenth century that cobalt was used regularly to paint under the glaze. The inspiration for this innovation undoubtedly came from western Asia where cobalt had been used for centuries to decorate earthenware. It was only in China, however, that potters had the skills necessary to fire porcelain, the white glassy ceramic substance which provided such a perfect foil for the deep blue of the cobalt.
Celadons and white wares had long been a staple of the Chinese export trade and by the Yuan dynasty (AD 1271–1368) mass-production methods provided a bountiful supply of stonewares for avid oversees customers. The brilliant beauty of the new blue-and-white porcelain made it an immediate success abroad. Anxious for commercial success, the Chinese willingly catered to the preferences and tastes of their customers; the large size of this dish suggests it was made to meet the needs of the West Asian market.
Publications: 1. 1971. The Ceramic Art of China. OCS Exhibition. pl. 99