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China Marbles

China marbles are white with various designs. In the last third of the 18th century, china factories began production in South Thuringen in what is now the eastern zone of Germany. By 1800 some of these factories hadspecialized in the production of china marbles, which are white with various painted on.. The marbles were produced by driving a hand-worked porecelain mass through pipes. The mass came out cut into small equal-size pieces which were then laid in plaster-of-Paris forms with long narrow oval groves. A rapid rotary motion was used with these forms to mold the porcelain pieces into spheres. Then the spheres were dried, painted over with bright colors, then were placed in kilns and fired. The designs consisted mainly of striped pattern.

Production of china marbles was with more care than were the regular crockery marbles, and designs were hand-painted by workmen. Series of lines of parallel bands completely encircling the marble in red, green, blue and black were the most popular. Often two or more sets of lines of different colors would be painted on the marble intersecting each other at an angle. The different line sets would be outlined two-tone diamonds or squares where they crossed. One popular design was a bull's-eye pattern of two concentric rings in the same color, some marbles with six of these bull's-eyes drawn on them in red, blue, green, and black. Other marbles might have one or two bull's-eyes or an enlarged bull's-eye with a whole series of concentric rings.

Less common are some type of floral patterns, which can be divided into five groups. Some are very small marbles with one spray of three leaves; some have the bull's-eye pattern on one end and a spray of three or five leaves on the other. Colors include red, black, green, and blue, with two colors used, one for the leaves and one for the bull's-eye. If green was used at all, it was usually for the leaves.

Some marbles have a bull's-eye or concentric ring pattern at both ends and a single or double band or ring of leaves completely encircling the marble. Red bull's-eyes with green leaves seem to be more popular. A mirror image of the last group, some marbles have a spray of three of five leaves on both ends of the marble with a group of parallel lines or bands encircling the marble, serving to separate the marble into two faces, each with its own leaves. Some marbles have six leaves on both ends radiating symmetrically out from a point in the center where joined, resembling more of a star design. Less common are marbles with parallel bands separating faces painted with an actual flower or entire plant, reflecting the most skilled craftsmanship.

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Created July 15, 1997 by EMC ~ Updated 1/27/2007.
© Copyright 1997-2007 Refiner of Gold Creations

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