However, most other elements of this pattern can vary enormously and almost endlessly: This report will attempt to deconstruct this pattern by showing images of all the elements above, in all their variations.
By doing so I hope to show you some interesting and well executed decoration in underglaze blue for this period, give some clues to dating, and give everyone the tools to further our knowledge of these pieces.
The range includes: *PRC *PRC THE UPPER RIM BORDER, INTERNAL By far the most common upper rim border is the bat and I-ching symbol fret, with four distinctly different examples shown below *PRC stamped border (last one, bottom right) Some of the diaper border variations are shown in the five examples below: Swastika (and bat) borders, below This next example from the 1960s-70s carp decorated dish, showing a shell type border, handdrawn Just a plain ring border A rare crab and band border Two examples below of key fret borders This ‘Buddhist emblems & squiggly line’ example is a one-off THE UPPER RIM BORDER, EXTERNAL There is quite a bit more variation in this border.The diaper border on the external upper rim is the most common:- *PRC stamped border The ‘three friends of winter’ – bamboo, prunus and pine – or flowers of the four seasons are found on earlier examples, sometimes within a diaper border, as shown below, all handpainted.Many people only know the most recent Late C20th or newer version of this pattern, all stamped, stencilled and/or transfer printed and still being manufactured in their millions today, served up under Chinese restaurant meals the world over.However, a closer look at the pattern shows that from the end of the C19th to the beginning of the People’s Republic of China (PRC – 1949), some interesting and beautiful forms were made.This is an underglaze blue & white pattern which has been made in China for at least one hundred years.
Probably the most common pattern ever made in China and exported to the West in their millions, at least over the last 50 years or so.I imagine that almost everyone has owned or eaten off or been exposed to this pattern.It is called the ‘Rice Grain’ pattern, a misnomer because it was thought for many years that the rice shaped translucent elements which characterise this pattern were made by inserting rice grains into the clay before glazing and firing. The ‘rice’ shapes were made by carefully cutting out pieces from the porcelain and, when glazed, created this characteristic translucency.The layout of these ‘rice grain’ shaped translucent elements is mildly variable but they are usually set out in a radial pattern like flower petals.The examples with Qianlong seal marks have more tightly spaced and seried ‘rice grains’.)-1920s Red Guangxu 6 character kaishu mark, handwritten – 1880-1920s Qianlong red 4 character kaishu mark, stamped, within a double red square – 1910-1950s UB 4 character kaishu mark, handwritten, ‘ Min Nan Gongsi’ – Private Company mark, 1912-1950 UB 6 character kaishu mark, handwritten, ‘Jiangxi Cheng Yong Fa Zao’ – Private Company mark, 1912-1950 UB 2 character kaishu mark, handwritten, ‘ Wan Yu’ – 1920s-1970s UB 6 character kaishu mark, handwritten, ‘Jiangxi Ciye Gongsi’ = Jiangxi Porcelain Company , double underglaze blue circles, Private Company mark – 1908 – 1920s UB Shou symbol circle in double underglaze blue circles, 1880-1920s UB leaf symbol, 1880-1920s THE DECORATION WITHIN THE CAVETTO All the examples below are Late Qing and/or Republic unless noted otherwise.