Throughout the expansive history of porcelain, manufacturers of this ceramic ware from across the world have emerged, distinguished for their quality, craftsmanship and design. Porcelain originates from China - hence the use of the name china in some Western countries - which first produced this more delicate and elegant form of pottery some 2,000 years ago. The Chinese Ming dynasty (1368-1644) was one of the most innovative periods in porcelain production; antique blue and white Ming ceramics today can be sold for tens of millions at auction. Some of the most prestigious manufacturers of antique porcelain have come from European countries, such as England, Italy, France and Germany; these include Wedgwood, Capodimonte, Sèvres and Meissen. Alongside dinnerware, vases and other household items, porcelain antique dolls are highly-sought after on the collectors' market; these dolls were mostly produced during the second half of the 19th century in Western Europe.
Thinking of starting a collection of Chinese porcelain? Here are the periods, dynasties and styles to look out for.