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Wucai, Famille Verte and Chinese Imari
The Wucai or the "five enamels" decoration appeared by the end of the Ming dynasty as a reflection of the Daoist notion of five as a holy number, and its relations to the directions of heaven and earth. In the late 17th century with the Qing dynasty established a cobalt blue enamel now replaced the underglaze blue in the Wucai. This new version of Wucai was part of what was later named famille verte in Europe. During the transitional period between the Ming and the Qing dynasties a enamel decoration with predominantly red and gilt on top of underglaze blue had been developed by the Japanese and got named after its Japanese export harbor - Imari. The Chinese continued this decoration in its turn as a family of its own characterized by its use of bright iron red enamel and gold in combination with underglaze blue and white. Chinese Imari enjoyed its greatest popularity during the Kangxi period (1662-1722), waning in the 1730s.
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