Blue Willow Chinaware Pattern: The Story

In the late eighteenth century, an English apprentice potter developed and engraved the blue and white willow pattern using an elaborate Chinese design to portray an ancient Chinese legend. The immense popularity of this chinaware has established it as a household item since that time, although the original design has undergone many variations through reproductions by potters in Europe and the Orient. Even the legend, which is based on a simple love story, has been subjected to minor changes dependent upon the mood of the story teller. We hope you will like this version.

Koong-She, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy Chinese Mandarin, fell in love with her father’s secretary, a poor young man named Chang. Needless to say, the father of Koong-She, wishing her to marry a rich man, forbade them to see each other again. He sent her away to live by herself in a little house at the end of the garden. Koong-She’s loneliness was only relieved by the beauties of nature about her, the large willow tree outside her window and beyond that a fruit tree bursting into bloom.

But young love was not to be denied. Chang fashioned a boat from an empty coconut shell, fixed a sail to it and placing a letter inside, dropped the boat into the lake. A favouring wind carried the frail craft across the water to Koong-She. Chang reaffirmed his love and beseeched her to fly with him. Koong-She agreed to the elopement on condition that her lover were brave enough to come to her.

To escape from the garden it was necessary to cross a small bridge and unfortunately they were seen by the Mandarin who hurried forth to stop them. Koong-She led the way over the bridge holding her spinning staff. Behind her came Chang carrying her jewel box and in hot pursuit with whip in hand came the Mandarin. But the Gods, taking pity on the young lovers, transformed them into doves permitting them to flutter away beyond the reach of the enraged father. We do not know whether they regained their human forms upon crossing the lake but undoubtedly they lived happily ever after.