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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.

青花屬釉下藍彩,釉下藍彩最早見於唐朝(618–907年)。宋朝河北磁州窯和江西吉州窯亦出產大量釉下彩瓷,後或傳至景德鎮。製作青花瓷時,會於白瓷胎上以鈷作顏料繪製圖案,再塗上透明玻璃釉,燒成後鈷料在釉下呈藍色。畫法可分白地(背景)藍花(紋飾)或藍地白花。元朝從波斯進口鈷料「蘇麻離青」,色澤更為鮮豔。此外蒙古文化崇尚藍色(代表天神騰格里), 故青花瓷極為流行,更成為景德鎮的標誌產品,暢銷中外,尤其土耳其和波斯等西亞地區。

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