1112 A pair of Chinese blue and white porcelain flasks, Kangxi period

During the 14th century, cobalt blue pigments were introduced to China, exported from Persia. From the 14th century, inspired by Chinese ceramicists' work with the blue pigment, Blue and white pottery designs began to stretch as far as Europe and Islamic countries.


1137 A pair of Chinese blue and white leaf shaped dishes, Kangxi period

Although it gained popularity in the 14th century, Chinese artists began using blue and white designs in the 9th century, although very little of these works are still in existence today.

With cobalt blue being exported to China from Persia, it was a highly prized material, which at some points during history, was more valuable in China than gold. Designs were inspired by the blue colour's Islamic heritage often depicting cranes, dragons and lotus flowers.


From the 16th century, the cobalt pigment began to be developed in China, with the Persian version of the pigment still the most prized and most expensive.

1110 A Chinese blue and white porcelain shallow basin, mark and period of Kangxi

1026 A Chinese blue and white porcelain ovoid jar and cover, mark of Kangxi but late 19th Century

In Europe, the Blue and white designs were a favourite of royals and the aristocracy. Royal Stafford recreated their willow pattern in the manner of the Chinese Blue and white pottery. Although Asian designs depicted flowers, birds and dragons, Europe pattern had more of a narrative, examples such as star-crossed lovers or depictions of royalty.

All pieces featured will be part of Toovey's sale from 29th November to 2nd December, 2016. These objects will be in the Asian & Islamic Ceramics & Works of Art on 1st December. Check out all items here.