A closer look at Encre de Chine or En Grisaille porcelain

A interesting type of porcelain are pieces decorated in “black and white”. They start appearing in the 1740’s as and are in fashion until the 1780’s. This type of porcelain is often called encre de chine or en grisaille. Encre de Chine is a form of ink that was founded in China in the third millennium before Christ. In the west it’s known under its more common name Indian ink due to the trade of the English with India and this gives this type of porcelain its name. The sources for the decorations are mostly black and white engravings or book illustrations with romantic, mythological or religious themes. Pieces with this kind of decoration are rare and most decorations are known under the names of their decoration. Most Encre de Chine pieces have carefully designed borders appears to rely on a European design print of the 1730’s. Some pieces are known that have Chinese scenes. These are in general very rare. Like this fantastic small bowl in our private collection.

Interesting Encre de Chine is that the overglaze painted on the porcelain after the first bake and glaze. Contrary to the blue painted enamel that is painted on the porcelain before it gets glazed and baked. This way, the glaze gets damaged but the paint is still intact. Because Encre de Chine is painted over the glaze this makes it prone to damage. As can be seen in this saucer.

We have not yet found out what the meaning or origin of the scene on this saucer is, so we ask for a little help. Our search after the meaning of the scene that’s on display here has led to more questions than answers. What are the two fishermen doing here? What does it mean when two men are giving each other a fish? Is it friendship? Is it a sign of wealth? Or peace? Love maybe? Who will tell? I hope you can help us in our quest and give us the answer that we are looking for. Info@shangrila-antique.com.
 

Interested in owning a piece of Encre de Chine porcelain, visit our shop.

 

Below another interesting scene explained 🙂

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