Old Russian Symbolics on a White and Blue Porcelain
Russian porcelain is widely known and is often used as a traditional gift.
The art of decorative painting on porcelain is handed down by craftsmen from generation to white porcelain generation. Few of us, however, have asked ourselves what exactly is depicted on a Gzhel teapot or a Lomonosov porcelain cup.
The blue color, glazed cobalt, has a long history.
Majolica made in Gzhel, 60 kilometers from Moscow, has traditionally been decorated with glazed cobalt.
Archeological excavations prove that the craft of pottery has existed in Gzhel since the beginning of the 14th century.
It is possible White and Blue undergalzed cobalt painting tehnology appeared at Gzhel due to invasion of Mongols. Blue and White China was well known product of Chinisean Yuan and Ming dynasties and Mongols could deliver examples of that china to Russia at 13-14th centuries.
In the second half of the 17th century, Afanasy Grebenshchikov, a merchant, built a manufacture where he made various kinds of majolica earthenware. For his ware, he used the famous white clay (Gzhel), as well as the experience of potters from Gzhel. Upon returning to their homes, the craftsmen began establishing their own majolica manufactures.
Traditionally, Gzhel porcelain has been decorated using flower motifs, the Gzhel Rose, for example, and fabulous creatures such as the Firebird.
Gzhel porcelain often features octagonal shapes, shapes with eight radial points, shapes with twelve or six radial points, as well as a three-leaf clover.
What do these symbols represent?