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Title: The cobalt blue pigment used on Islamic ceramics and chinese blue-and-white porcelains
Author: Wen, Rui
ISNI:       0000 0003 7912 7938
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Cobalt blue pigment has been used to decorate ceramics as early as the New Kingdom (the 16th century BC - 11 th century BC) in ancient Egypt. The blue decoration ceramics have re-flourished since the Islamic Abbasid dynasty (750 AD-1258 AD). The large quantity Abbasid overglaze painted earthenware used the cobalt blue for decoration. In the same period, the ceramics with cobalt blue painting decoration also appeared in Chinese Tang dynasty (618 AD-907 AD). It is a great innovation in Chinese ceramic history since the aesthetic taste of Chinese ceramics was influenced by jade culture and consequently the monochrome decorative style was appreciated. The blue-and-white porcelain declined when Tang dynasty collapsed. However, the blue decoration ceramics has developed continuously in the Islamic lands. The cobalt blue were decorated on Minai wares, Lustre wares, underglaze painting wares and tiles from iz" to 19th centuries. The Chinese Blue-and-white porcelain re-blossomed in the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 AD) in China. It gradually became the main stream product in Chinese ceramics industry during the is" - 17th century. Large quantities blue-and-white porcelains were exported to West Asia and further to Europe during the Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. This thesis mainly focuses on the chemical composition of the cobalt blue used on Islamic and Chinese ceramics and then the provenance, manufacturing process and the spread route of the cobalt blue were discussed base on the composition analysis. The research includes the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) experiments and the ancient literature analysis. The chemical composition of the cobalt blue pigment was obtained by the XRF examination and then the mineral of raw cobalt ores and further its provenance was discussed. The manufacture process and the trading route of the cobalt blue were also discussed through comparing the previous scholars blue ceramics and glasses results and analyzing the ancient literature. Based on the scientific experiments, the seven groups of cobalt blue for Islamic ceramics and glasses were summarized. Each of the groups has the distinctive compositionaJ distribution. Meanwhile, there are two main cobalt sources for Islamic ceramics and glasses in history, which are Persian Kashan sulaimani and German Schneeberg smalt. Most of the blue groups were originated from the two main cobalt sources. The different compositional distribution is due to the different manufacture processes. The cobalt blue of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain was depended on import in the early period. However, the imported cobalt blue could not meet the demand when the Chinese blue-and-white porcelain industry rose in the is" century. The manufacture had to use the Chinese local cobalt ores since the is" century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available