( Originally Published 1911 )
THE porcelain called reticulees comes into the category of blue and white because some of it was decorated with blue under the glaze. The pieces have double walls, of which the outside one is pierced with a pattern, often a network of exceeding fineness, a lace-work in porcelain through which may be seen the exquisite blue design upon the internal wall. It seems just as if the potter had two pieces made to fit at the top and bottom only. On the foundation piece—the internal wall—he expended the art of decoration in blue. On the other piece, even more care must have been shown in cutting the clay into delicate tracery, so minute as to be marvellous. Then the fitting of the two walls together was completed, and finally the firing process took place. Such pieces are pre-eminent in curiosity, in interest and in skill, and their variations are wonderful. Some are only blue and white, some are blue and white with reserves in biscuit. All had the outside wall pierced with a pattern. We are giving as illustrations two magnificent pieces of reticulated porcelain, but these are coloured with enamel colours.
RETICULATED INCENSE BURNER
Specially interesting and exceedingly valuable, this vase deserves careful study. It is a pity that it cannot be given in all the beauty of its colouring. At the top is a large panel containing the figure of a man offering the " Fruit of Life " to one of the immortals, at whose side is a deer; the remainder of this has rocks, foliage, a tree, and clouds, richly enamelled in green, aubergine, blue, and rouge de fer; the whole surrounded by a border of formal design in rouge de fer. The remainder contains sixteen panels. Each of the top eight contains a figure of the eight immortals with their various insignia ; the rotes of the figures are enamelled in rouge de fer, aubergine, blue, black, yellow, and vanious greens ; whilst the lower portion has figures of boys playing various games, similarly enamelled. Dividing each panel is a broad band containing formal flowers and leaves in blue, green, and black, on bright yellow, whilst at the top of the base and bottom of the cover are aubergine bands with black tracery design and formal flowers in rouge de fer, blue, and yellow. The whole of the reticulated work is of brilliant yellow enamel. AI the base is a broad plain black band, above which is a design of Joo-e-heads in apple-green.
NOTE.—This example is believed to be the largest specimen of reticulated work of the Ming period known to exist, and is equally remarkable for the high quality of its artistic work.
From the Collection of G. R. Davies, Esq.
VASE RETICULATED PORCELAIN
A very rare and fine quality reticulated bulbous-shaped Vase with short neck. The body is decorated with figures, trees, &c., in a bold design. The shoulder, which is supported from the top by a band of blue, is decorated with various flowers and leaves. The base, which is a conventional design, is also supported from the centre by dark and light blue bands. The whole vase is brilliantly enamelled in aubergine, blue, yellow, &c. Ming period. This piece is a specimen of the coloured glazes on biscuit in which, after the piercing of the pattern on the air-dried clay has been carried out, it is fired in the kiln before being glazed. In classification this would be in the " Celadon biscuit " class. The reticulation in this specimen, though not so fine as in the other example which we have given, is very wonderful. How skilful the potter must have been to carve such an intricate pattern from a sun-dried vase ! How each stroke of the tool must have had careful attention, so that, whilst aiming at a lace-like effect, the body of the vase should still be strong enough to bear the biscuit firing without breaking ! Of course care had to be exercised in the painting, which was rarely in monochrome ; generally, yellow, green, blue, maroon, and aubergine were employed. Then the second firing took place. In nearly all biscuit Celadon the paste or body is thinner than in ordinary Celadon, because the pattern had to be cut into and through it. To this class belongs the Ming Celadon, having the figures and other ornament in relief.