Fahua, noun


Fahua is a form of decoration on porcelain or stoneware, simulating cloisonné metalwork. Literally translated as “regulated decoration”, it takes the form of thin, raised skip lines outlining the area of design, with enamels being applied to the empty areas. What’s pictured here is a pair of 18th century glazed, Fahua-style baluster vases that sailed past their pre-sale estimate of $1,000-$1,500 at Michaan’s Auctions’ August 12th auction in Alameda, California to sell for $8,400. That’s more than five times the high estimate – a nice payday for the consignor.

Fahua wares were produced beginning in 14th century China, both in Shanxi province, northern China, and in southern China, probably at Jingdezhen, the site of that region’s imperial kilns, although the actual word “fahua” didn’t come into use until the 1920s. The high-fired porcelain body and palette are typical of those fahua wares made in southern China. Northern fahua pieces are usually a low fired stoneware. Fahua pieces are generally thickly potted. The technique was used to ornament a wider range of vessel types including garden seats, wine jars and vases.