Monday, October 1, 2012

B is for Blue Willow

Blue Willow is a distinctive elaborately patterned dish ware designed by Thomas Minton in 1790.  The pieces are examples of blue oxide transferware,  created in 1775.  Minton's process eliminated the tedium of hand painted china with the use of copper plate etchings to create repetitive copies.  The Blue Willow Ware pattern was created in response to the high demand for Far East Canton and Nanking goods.  It was Chinese imitation at its best:  bridges, flying birds, pagodas, rivers and weeping willows. The pattern was so popular it was copied by countless manufacturers, in many countries including China itself!

Through the centuries stories were passed down to promote sales of Minton's  Blue Willow pattern.  As an incurable romantic, I am especially enamored with  the following tale, entitled fittingly 

The Romantic Fable
Once there was a wealthy Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se.  She had fallen in love with her father's humble accounting assistant, Chang, angering her father due to the class differences between them.  He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart.  The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke.  The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.  On  the eve of the daughter's wedding to the Duke, the young accountant, disguised as a servant, slipped into the palace unnoticed.  As the lovers escaped with the jewels, the alarm was raised.  They ran over a bridge, chased by the Mandarin, whip in hand.  They eventually escaped on the Duke's ship to the safety of a secluded island, where they lived happily for years.  But one day, the Duke learned of their refuge.  Hungry for revenge, he sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death.  The Gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers in to a pair of doves.

Who knew dish ware could provide such a story of devoted love and passion.  My kind of cool!
For the coffee lover:  this perfectly sized  large 'mush cup'  is available for sale at simplycoolstuff


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