Famille Verte, Wucai & Doucai
Famille verte wares were produced during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722), they became very popular in China and were mostly produced for the domestic market. European entrepreneurs and individual famous merchants that were able to travel to China in the 18th and 19th century became fascinated with both Kangxi famille verte wares and Kangxi blue and white. This led to all the great European and American collectors avidly acquiring them.
Wucai, literally meaning five colours, were particularly popular throughout the Ming dynasty with the majority of production being made for the palace during the reign of Wanli and for the domestic market during the Shunzhi reign. The Shunzhi pieces, particularly vases, were some of the first Qing wares to adorn European palaces.
Doucai, meaning joined colours or contrasting colours, was invented early in the 15th century, and perfected by emperor Chenghua (1465-87). Very few ming pieces survive, but the technique was revived in the 18th century. The delicate and highly sought after pieces have become the jewels of museum collections around the world. The famous chicken cup being one of the patterns most sought-after. The qing dynasty emperors, Yongzheng and Qianlong followed Chenghua’s passion for doucai and copied many of the famous patterns, although usually applying their own reign mark in underglaze blue.