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Russian porcelain history : Origins

One and a half thousand years ago anonymous Chinese potter from province Kao-Ling got inspiration:
He have alloyed local white clay (named kaolinum) with sand and shpate, and according to the poet it shined like a snow.
It was possible ue to already then Chinese had furnaces in which the temperature reached 1500 Celsigrade.

The new material could to argue, perhaps, with a greenstone so esteemed at China.
And even to replace it at manufacturing chash for time-honoured ritual of tea ceremony.
Invented later ceramic paints and the glazes have made porcelain production artistic science.
Manufacture of porcelain became monopoly of Chinese Emperor.
Due to that fact it received a sonorous name "tsin-tsze",
i.e. "the Son of the Sky", or - simply "tsy".

At Russia up to the Peter I all ceramics, switching and porcelain was called "tseninoj", arisen from this Chinese "tsy".
Russians have began to use porcelain since XVI century.
For example, Tsarevitch John Ioannovich had porcelain suleja (a vessel with a narrow throat).
"Tsenina" (porcelain from China) was used by Boris Godunov (1588).

Porcelain penetrated to Western Europe at XIII-XIV centuries due to unruly Italian Marko Polo.
He lived 17 years at China and has written famous Book about it.
At XVI-XVII centuries porcelain for Europeans was not so much a subject of use, but subject for passionate collecting.

Its worth was its weight in gold and even more expencive.
Fragile Chinese (or Japanese) vase became deification of all fine and graceful.
Polish king Strong the 2d, (since 1694) and Saxonian Kings, for example, "was ill" by porcelain.

By the end of XVII century Europe finally breaks off with the Middle Ages.
Vital standards, clothes, a feed vary.
The European court yard show not only riches, but also taste more and more.

The crystal sparkling, reflected in mirrors, was at perfect harmony with the snow-white porcelain,
Decorated with quivering painting of the Far East.
The use of the tea and coffee have became usual.
So Zheniju porcelain have became popular among houses of European aristocrates.
But, all that was purchased at China.
The invention of the European porcelain was promoted by financial disorders of the same August 2d the Strong.
Ruinous wars and cheerfulness was very expensive, so His treasury state have compelled king to a desperate step:

It captivates young alchemist - Iogann Fridrih Betger - and locks Him.
He should find the way to synthesize Gold from stones.
Betger have not made Gold but - He have founded out, that certain mix of certain "Stones" amazingly remind porcelain.
So - for now He could, showing king the piece of white clay, to say with enthusiasm:

"Here is, your Majesty, how porcelan made! ".
It was at 1709.
The unfortunate alchemist managed to enrich king.
That was generously gifted.
In the city of Meisen, near Dresden, the alchemist has based a porcelain manufactory to which world popularity has been prepared.

But at 1719, 37 years old Betger died.
At France since 1740, at Vensen, they mastered manufacture of "soft porcelain" which does not demand a heat of roasting
and consequently relief details turn out more precise.
Paints keep brightness and freshness on "soft porcelain".
So, near the Sevres they have founded out deposits of kao-lin,
and the Royal manufactory has got over there.
At Sevre chemist Jean Ello has received the well-known porcelain paints - royal dark blue (Cobalt)
- (in honour of Lui XV) and pink Pompadur.

Russian Czarina Katherine II had ordered in Sevre the most grandiose in history of a manufactory service.
It consisted of 774 subjects.
At first half of XVIII century Russia, due to the will of Czarina Elisabeth, have became porcelain producer either.
Czarina Elizabeth established royal porcelain manufacture at 1744. Elizabeth Petrovna (Czarina Elizabeth) was porcelain collector, daughter of Peter the Great, founder of Saint-Petersburg.
To organize production first attempt was made to purchase technology from China or Europe.
But that attempt failed and Royal court assigned Russian scientist, D.I. Vinogradov, to find the secret of porcelain.

So, Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov was assigned by royal court for cares of the Russian porcelain.
Vinogradov was schoolfellow of M.V. Lomonosov, they both studied abroad at the same classes.

At 1756 Vinogradov have obtained porcelain.
But Vinogradov have not sustained inhuman pressure and a hard labour.
Two years later it have died 38 years old.

Katherine II has been in love with porcelain and always cared about Royal Porcelain manufacture which is Lomonosov factory for now.
At the request of Czarina manufactory have made a series of the figurines representing peoples of Russia.
Characters have been borrowed from the book of the traveller known at that time, the ethnographer and naturalist I.I.George.
Some of them were kept up to now.
At 1784 Russian Imperial court got gift from porcelain manufacture to Czarina Katherine the Great.
It was "Arabesque" service, for 60 persons, 937 subjects - so it was better than one purchased before at Serves.
So - age of Russian Imperial porcelain have began, and it was greatest porcelain of Europe for some time.


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  • Bone Fine China
  • Russian porcelain - Imperial history
  • Russian porcelain factories marks and signs
  • Lomonosov porcelain - the porcelain of Czars.
  • Gardner (Verbilky) porcelain History
  • Questions and answers about Quality of items.
  • Lomonosov porcelain marks and signs
  • Gzhel Porcelain and pottery.
  • M.V. Lomonosov and Lomonosov porcelain factory
  • Lomonosov porcelain founder - Dmitry Vinogradov
  • Lomonosov Porcelain
  • Konakovo Pottery
  • Russian Symbolics on a White and Blue Porcelain
  • Gzhel - location and history
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