Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Endearing Legend of Blue Willow

Much of the following post is one I shared last August. It was the third post I created for Hyacinths for the Soul and since August is the month that HFTS celebrates it's 1st Anniversary, I decided it was appropriate to share this post again for the color BLUE.

If you've not yet joined in for the Anniversary Giveback, click here to enter in the drawing that will be held August 31, 2010. Winner will be announced on September 1, 2010.

The Legend

Once upon a time there lived a very wealthy mandarin who had a beautiful daughter named Hon Shee. There was also a boy named Chang who loved Hong Shee. To keep them apart, the mandarin imprisoned his daughter in the palace.
One day Hon Shee escaped, and the two lovers raced over the bridge to a waiting boat, her father in hot pursuit. They managed to elude the mandarin, reach the boat and sail away.
A storm developed, the boat capsized, and the couple were lost at sea. It is said two love birds appeared immediately thereafter ~ the spirits of Hong Shee and Chag.
~Anonymous ~

It's time again for Rainbow Summer School, and today's color is BLUE.

I'm thrilled because BLUE is one of our favorite colors to accent our home.

We have several rooms with blue walls,

wingback chairs in blue leather,

blue upholstered French bergere chairs,

dinner plates in Spode's Blue Room series, . . .

The list could go on and on.

Blue is one of those magical colors that compliments other colors. Think of the fresh feeling of the South of France that combinations of blue and yellow provide.

Or the striking complimentary combo of blue and orange . . .

And the favored patriotic American spirit of red, white, and blue.

Perhaps the serenity of blue and white speaks to you.

It certainly speaks to me. The fresh, crisp feeling of blue and white never fails to fill my senses with joy.

Homes with collections of Blue Willow always catch my attention and imagination. Though I don't personally have a collection of these age old charming ceramics, I've long admired pieces of blue and white Blue Willow in antique stores and in the homes of friends.

What I do have though is a very limited, but extremely sentimental grouping of a child's set in the Blue Willow pattern.

When my parents married in 1939, as a new bride, my mother dreamed of having her very own set of Blue Willow for her dining table. Place-settings of this fine china were far too expensive for the young couple's household budget, yet Mother must have longingly admired sets and continued to wish for a set of her own. As a surprise one day, my sweet and clever father brought home a set in miniature. It wasn't the table setting Mother desired, but she loved and appreciated the little set all the same. During our youth, my sister and I, along with our friends, hosted many a tea party with the treasured little set of Blue Willow. Unfortunately all that remains of Mother's set is this small group.

The Blue Willow pattern was first designed in the late 1700s by Thomas Minton. Over the years it has been produced by many different manufactures, and all these years later this classic pattern is beloved by many a collector.

The classic pattern portrays a Chinese legend of two young lovers. The elements within the design all have significance from the legend. The border of a zig-zag fence represents the father's efforts to separate the young lovers.

Weeping willow trees,

various fruit trees,

three figures on a bridge,

a boat,

and pagodas,

all have significance in the story of the young couple.

There are many variations of the legend, but all end with the young star crossed lovers being transformed into immortal love birds.

My Parents in 1939

Today, the few remaining pieces of this cherished child's set have a place of honor in the living room of our home. Not only do they bring me memories of happy childhood tea parties, but they also speak of the romantic days my parents shared as newlyweds. Years ago I offered to purchase a set of Blue Willow for my mother. She simply smiled and said, "I'm happy with the set your father gave me." I treasure these little dishes as heirlooms.

Who knows, perhaps this little chard of a long ago broken plate will become the topic of a future Metamorphosis Monday right here at Hyacinths For The Soul.

You'll find more BLUE at Mrs. Matlock's Rainbow Summer School.

Thank you to the ladies hosting the following weekly memes. A click on the link will take you to others participating this week. More information about each of these events can be found on my sidebar.

Blue Mondays @ Smiling Sally's