Chao Cai Ceramics

Originating from the end of the Qing Dynasty, Chao Cai is a mix of traditional art and ceramics, created using new color paints. Chao Cai is the color painting of the Chaozhou area. Early in the Song Dynasty, the shape, decoration, technology and colors of the Chaozhou ceramics were considered China’s finest.

Nearing the end of the Qing Dynasty, Chao Cai artists incorporated ceramic techniques from Fujian and Jingdezhen with traditional waiting, blending them to form Chao Cai. In 1874, the porcelain district Fengxi had already obtained products from “Gong He Cheng“ and “Yong Li”, two businesses in the district. This marks the beginning of the “Shi Yao Cai” in the Chaozhou area. With various techniques, smooth composition, flowing lines and vibrant color schemes, the Chao Cai came in a wide range of styles. The Chao Cai of the Fengxi family was the most distinct and identifiable, standing out among all others.

The main shapes of Chao Cai products came in forms plates, bowls, glasses and small dishes. Decoration were often of a green under color and borders, with flowers dominating the remaining space. The types of flowers within the picture include four season plums, orchids, bamboo, chrysanthemum, lotus, peony and admirals. It was later decided to use raw pigment colors in the product. What started as painting flowers extended from the original four season admirals to human portraits. The quality of art is refined, with the techniques of decoration developing from flat-coated color to off-color dyeing.

This piece is a translated work, translated from Chinese to English as part of the Shenzhen Nonmaterial Heritage Project of Shenzhen Polytechnic University and Shenzhen Museum.