Overglaze decoration

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Nabeshima ware plate with floral design, Arita, Japan, late 17th century, Edo period

Overglaze decoration, overglaze enamelling or on-glaze decoration is a method of decorating pottery, most often porcelain, where the coloured decoration is applied on top of the already glazed surface, done in a special firing. It is often described as producing "enamelled" decoration. The colours fuse on to the glaze, so the decoration becomes durable. This decorative firing is usually done at a lower temperature which allows for a more varied and vidid palette of colours than often is available than with underglaze decoration, where the coloured pattern is applied before glazing.

The technique was first seen in Chinese ceramics in Cizhou stoneware from as early as the 12th century, with use on porcelain following within a century, though it did not become predominant until later, and the full possibilities were not realized until the 17th century.[1] Some techniques use thin metal leaf as well as the more usual pigments, which are typically applied in a liquid or paste form, painted by brush, or using stencils or transfer printing.

See also


  1. ^ Vainker, 117, 180–182


  • Vainker, S.J., Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, 1991, British Museum Press, 9780714114705

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