In its perfection, contemporary utilitarian porcelain - dinnerware, vases, collector plates etc. - cannot be topped. In modern industrial countries, automation of the production is the standard, even electronics has been adopted widely. Printing technology again has revolutionized things. Using serigraphy, large quantities can be precisely decorated. This technique is also used to print transfer pictures which are then fixated on the pieces. The continuous improvement and standardization of the techniques and decoration methods allowed the creation of high quality, perfect mass products. Digital ceramic printing in 4 colours and photographic quality is the most modern technology for porcelain decoration.
At first sight, you could think that this slightly older pot is an excellently painted masterpiece. If you look closer however you can see that the various ornaments overlap at their borders (the glaze is darker there). So the decor obviously consists of transfer pictures!
This is a pot from a modern mass production. The slight patina and the marks of use do make this pot interesting however.
Fortunately, in China and Japan there's still manually produced ceramics. It's hard to distinguish from older wares, but still doesn't quite have the charme of the latter.
Pot from the collection of Paul Lesniewicz.
Photograph: Helmut Rüger
Translation: Stefan Ulrich