China Plate: A Reading

This Chinese plate shows the beautiful but complex nature of Chinese artistry (from "Grammar of Chinese Ornament" by Owen James).

An expert in Victorian decorative arts, Owen Jones (1809-1874) published and explained colour plates of painted vases, bowls and other Chinese ornaments imported to the West in the mid 19th century. This is an excerpt from his Examples of Chinese Ornament, first published in 1867, republished as The Grammar of Chinese Ornament, Studio Editions, London, 1987.

"…the instinct [is] of triangular composition, but it is not so decidedly marked; the centre flower occupies more relative space, and the stems out of which the flowers spring, instead of flowing outwards in a series of volutes, often re-enter and return upon themselves. This principle is essentially Chinese, whilst the flowing line is common to the Arabia, Moresque, Persian and Indian styles. The border on the edge of the dish is almost Greek."

Learn more: Examples of Chinese Ornament