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Posted By: Robert
Posted Date: Mar 22, 2023 (11:55 AM)

Interesting article. It briefly mentions a second phase of the development of decoration with vitreous enamels that began around the late 17th century, influenced by Europe. I've read some articles that European cobalt blue glass (smalt) was exported to China (and possibly also to Japan) over a period of a few decades, ending around the mid-18th century. This European cobalt came from mines in the German State of Saxony; the ore was refined to make zaffre (crude cobalt) and smalt (refined cobalt glass) near Meissen. Apparently, this European source could be demonstrated by a difference in the chemical fingerprints between Asian cobalt (manganese rich and arsenic poor) and Saxon cobalt (manganese poor and arsenic rich). It turns out that arsenic also acts as an opacifier and color enhancer; perhaps this is why it was preferred over native Asian cobalt. This arsenic-containing (presumably European) cobalt has been found in enamels used in the imperial workshops and as well as in Guangdong (e.g., Canton), and even in some Yixing wares with with the so-called 'robbin's egg blue' glaze, which is essentially a low temperature vitreous enamel.

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