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A closer look into “Famille Noire” porcelain


Famille Noire is French for the “black family”. This is porclain with a black background. According to Gotheborg most genuine famille noire pieces have been made in the Kangxi reign (1662-1722) have the black color achieved by applying a copper-green lead based enamel over an unfired coating of the dry black cobalt which are also used for black outlines. During the firing the two enamels fused resulting in a deep black effect with a hint of green especially visibly where the two layers doesn’t fully cover each other.  Here on the left we see a typical pair of Kangxi famille noir pieces from Museo Gulbenkian in Lissabon, a great place to visit (See our museum tips here if you like to visit some nice musea with porcelain)

The piece here on the right is very interesting. As it has pink as well a black in its colour scheme. This marks a transition period in the porcelain production at the end of the Kangxi’s reign and the beginning of the Yongzheng reign, when the Chinese succeeded in making pink ennamels. This piece is one of the earliest pink enamelled wares, the pink has a very typical brittle structure. The black is still typical of the Kangxi period.  We have some Famille Noire pieces in stock. Go to our shop and use the filter on the left to find Famille Noire pieces.

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