Blue-and-white is a form of underglaze-blue ware that dates back to the Tang dynasty (618– 907). In the Song dynasty, Cizhou kilns in Hebei and Jizhou kilns in Jiangxi produced many types of underglaze painted porcelains, which likely were passed on to Jingdezhen. Amongst these, the production of blue-and-white porcelain featured a specific cobalt pigment which was applied to white ware beneath a layer of transparent glaze. This process resulted in a blue colour after firing. During the Yuan dynasty, new sources of cobalt, sumali qing (Samarra Blue) were imported from Persia that produced sharper blue tones. Because of the Mongolian preference for blue (representing the sky and Tengri, the God of Heaven in Turko-Mongolian beliefs), underglaze-blue became a popular decoration on white porcelain. The blue pigments were used as either the subject or background. Blue-and-white wares became a signature form for Jingdezhen, and were primarily exported to the Middle East, especially Turkey and Persia.
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