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Famille Rose & Famille Verte

When western explorers first made contact with the Chinese, they returned with word of many fascinating art forms, products, and innovations.  One of these art forms was Chinese porcelain, which subsequently became known as what else - China.  The making of China is an art that goes back centuries in China, and it is one that evolved with the various dynasties that make up Chinese history.  Over the years, the type of glazing and enamel applied to China changed as new designs and colors became fashionable. 

It also became common for designs originating in China to become widely popular in Europe.  In fact, many Chinese porcelain innovations were trend setters for the European markets.  One of these innovations was the color "family" known as Famille Verte.  But European influences can also be found to have influenced Chinese designs; this is the case with the color family and designs associated with Famille Rose. 

Famille Verte originated in the early eighteenth century.  Famille Verte is French for the "green family," and indeed the colors in Famille Verte are based on different shades of green.  These green colors are then combined with hues of red, blue, and yellow and the enamel baked onto the porcelain in intricate patterns and designs.  Famille Verte is a wholly Chinese innovation and builds upon patterns developed in the earlier Ming dynasty, which was characterized by a "five color" pattern of decoration. 

Famille Rose, on the other hand, was influenced heavily by colors introduced from Europe.  The pink and rose hues of this classification of China are deviations from previous Chinese designs, and the pieces that were produced with the Famille Rose are much more closely associated with the forms of China popular in modern European and Western markets than with older Chinese designs.  The Famille Rose palette of colors is more opaque than other color and design groupings.  Additionally gold colorations are used more than the deeper red hues of previous designs. 

Many Famille Rose patterns were exported to Europe, and the fanciers of China there often refined and redesigned these patterns and sent these designs back to China for production.  Thus, while many of the Famille Rose patterns are wholly of Chinese origin, others have roots that intermingle with European designs and ideas.  The Famille Rose "era" is from about 1730 to the 1790s.  Early Chinese pieces are characterized by large flowers, while later pieces adopt smaller flowers that were more popular in European markets. 

The making of fine porcelain pieces is an ancient art in China, practiced for centuries before the area was even explored by the west.  However, once the export market became an important part of the Chinese economy, various influences began to influence the colors and designs produced by the country's many kilns and productions sites.  Famille Verte and Famille Rose are two of the best examples of these styles, and pieces made with these enamel color families are prized by collectors still.


Chinese Dynasties The Great Wall of China
The Forbidden City The Terracotta Army
Wide Celadon Vase
Wide Celadon Vase
Yaobian Flared Vase
Yaobian Flared Vase
Famille Rose Vase
Famille Rose Vase
Pair of  Vases
Pair of Vases
Yaobian Meiping Vase
Yaobian Meiping Vase

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