Qingbai plate with totally hidden (anhua) motif

Started by Lee Seng Kong, Apr 19, 2017, 10:28:35

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Lee Seng Kong

Very white color porcelain plate without any decorations when viewed casually. However, when put under a torch-light, the plate is translucent  with images of 2 dragons chasing a flaming pearl amongst sea weeds. The scale of the dragon's body is red in color, whilst the head, fins, claws and tail of the dragon is blue in color . It appears that there are 3 Chinese characters in red. In general, it has the appearance of 2 dragons swimming amongst sea-weeds.
Bought in China some 25 years back.....purely because of the simplicity and the almost pure whiteness of the plate....did not know there are hidden images when put under torch during purchase. Please share your knowledge of this ware.
Size:- Height 4.3  x Rim dia. 17.8  x Base dia. 10.8 (cm).

I have another one which is of a different shape but of similar curious design. Appreciate anyone who is willing to your knowledge. Thank-you and Rgds. Lee


This is most likely a 20th century product. May have been new when you bought it...or not very old. I know of know antique Chinese porcelain with anhua (hidden image) decorations with colors. The image or character(s) were usually just brighter or darker. I do not think the technique of embedding colors invisibly existed by then.
A picture of the base may help confirming age. A search of modern Dehua kiln or Jingdezhen products might produce similar items.

Lee Seng Kong

Hi Peterp,
Thank-you for time to reply.
Could you please guide me to any any web-site where I can find out more info. on on the processes/technique of how this type of wares are made ....how the images are embedded invisibly.
Can the terminology "anhua" be applied to this technique.
I have tried to Google it, but no success......I can only guess that the body  was moulded in two layers....ie ....mould the outer layer.......apply images ...then mould the inner layer over the decorations onto the outer wall....causing "smearing" of the images after firing as the images are quite "fuzzy".
If the aforementioned is the case,  the technique  involved may be quite complicated to justify the comparative cheap price I paid for it.
Also, are they  manufactured in abundance in China.
Based on your advice, I will classify it as "collectibles" since it is quite intriguing.

I have a photo of the under-side somewhere but unable to find. Will follow up by taking a new photo.
Once again...thank you for your time


Not sure about the manufacturing method in this case. Some of the 19th century Japanese porcelain items had decorations added to their bottom. In that case no color was added. They probably just scraped the decoration into the clay body and then covered it with glaze. That would have made the  clay body thinner and made those areas would become more translucent.
I would think a similar method was be used here. They could have glazed one side of the body and then added the color decoration on the other side, directly on the clay. Or, they may also have shaved off part of the clay body first, to make the clay more translucent. Then the whole would be covered with white glaze and fired.