Blue Onion

Blue Onion

It was in Meissen, Saxony (Germany) that perhaps the most famous of all antique China dinnerware, Meissen porcelain, was produced by Europeans, the unmistakable blue-and-white "onion" pattern.


The "onion" pattern was originally named "bulb" pattern. [] While modeled closely after a pattern first produced by the Chinese (for European consumption) the plates and bowls styled in the Meissen factory in 1740 adopted a feel that was distinctly their own. This was largely because the flowers and fruits pictured on the original Chinese pattern were unknown to the Meissen painters, and thus they created hybrids that more closely resembled ones more familiar to Europeans. The so-called "onions" are not onions at all, but, according to historians, are most likely mutations of the peaches and pomegranates modeled on the original Chinese pattern. The whole design is an ingeniously conceived grouping of several floral motifs, with Japanese peaches and the pomegranates, plus stylized peonies and asters in the pattern's center, the stems of which wind in flowing curves around a bamboo stalk.

Artistic period style

While the design most likely originated from an east Asian model, probably Chinese, it also demonstrates that the manner of strictly abstract stylization has a European influence. It is undoubtedly connected with the rhythm and rules of rococo [] ornamentation: for instance, the asymmetrical motif is composed according to type in various areas, and yet at first glance gives the impression of symmetry.


The onion pattern was designed as a white ware decorated with cobalt blue pattern. Some rare dishes have a green, red, pink, or black pattern instead of the cobalt blue. A very rare type is called "red bud" because there are red accents on the blue-and-white dishes. []

Design endurance

Just what has caused the permanency of the design-- admired by generations and undaunted by the numerous revolutions and wars through which European china passed? The design is distinctly different, primarily by its quaint simplicity and restraint in shape and ornament. In its expression it is unusually intimate, it evokes family good cheer, and it abounds in those qualities which also have their appeal in our present times.


Though blue onion is commonly associated with Meissen, other companies made the pattern in the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. The pattern became one of the most replicated in the world, with versions produced by hundreds of factories throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. Vintage or new, china or porcelein or ironstone or Corelle [] or Pyrex ware -- this pattern maintains popularity, and with that the product line expands. In deed, this pattern can still be readidly found on the internet and in specialty stores, like Kelsey's in New York City.


External links

* [ Homepage Meissen Porcelain]


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