Blue Onion

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Some pieces of table ware with blue onion pattern produced by different German manufacturers around 1900

Blue Onion (Zwiebelmuster) is a china pattern originally manufactured by Meissen porcelain since the 18th century, but copied by other companies since the late 19th century as well.


The "onion" pattern was originally named "bulb" pattern.[1]

While modeled closely after a pattern first produced by the Chinese the plates and bowls styled in the Meissen factory in 1740 adopted a feel that was distinctly their own. One of the earliest examples is the blue and white porcelains of the early Ming Dynasty in 1420: Because the flowers and fruits pictured on the original Chinese pattern were unknown to the Meissen painters, they created hybrids that resembled more familiar to Europeans. The so-called "onions" are not onions at all, but, according to historians, are most likely mutations of the peaches and pomegranates modeled on the original Chinese pattern. The whole design is an ingeniously conceived grouping of several floral motifs with stylized peonies and asters in the pattern's center, the stems of which wind in flowing curves around a bamboo stalk.

Artistic period style[edit]

While the design most likely originated from an east Asian model, probably Chinese, it also demonstrates that the manner of strictly abstract stylization has a European influence. It is undoubtedly connected with the rhythm and rules of rococo ornamentation: for instance, the asymmetrical motif is composed according to type in various areas, and yet at first glance gives the impression of symmetry.[2]


The onion pattern was designed as a white ware decorated with cobalt blue pattern. Some rare dishes have a green, red, pink, or black pattern instead of the cobalt blue. A very rare type is called red bud because there are red accents on the blue-and-white dishes.[1]


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