Enameled porcelain plate with butterfly design [Photo by Zhang Xingjian/chinadaily.com.cn]
Enameled porcelain is one of the greatest inventions of ancient China.
The production method of enameled porcelain is very complicated and expensive. Legend has that Chinese Emperor Kangxi from Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) even monitored the process in person from time to time. The painters were selected after a rigorous process to ensure the highest quality. From production to final step, the whole process was carried out in a confidential way and the methods were not revealed to outsiders. Therefore, enameled porcelain is often called the "Royal Porcelain".
Compared to other painted porcelain focusing on the impressionistic style, enameled porcelain, characterized by various colors, elegant and dignified painting style, pays more attention to realistic style with exquisite imagery.
The development of the enameled porcelain rose during the Emperor Kangxi's reign (1654-1722), and declined during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799). Because of its dedication to the imperial court, enameled porcelain had such a high cultural and artistic value that the common people could not afford them in ancient times.