India ink (British English; also Chinese ink) is a simple black or colored ink once widely used for writing and printing and now more commonly used for drawing and outlining.
In Chinese porcelain the name refers to decorations drawn mostly in black, similar to a drawing in ink.
On porcelain this is a dry brownish-black enamel decoration, probably cobalt oxide without the addition of any or with very little flux, making it very susceptible to wear. It occurs on Chinese export porcelain from at least the 1740s up until the 1760s, after which it appears to have gone out of fashion.
By the end of the Qing dynasty this type of decoration enjoyed a revival. Very few objects with this type of decoration remains with its decoration still in good condition.
See also: Sepia