Goa is a mélange of many cultures. It was part of the Portuguese empire for centuries, during which a variety of items, from fruits to customs, found their way into the state.
Many homes in Goa own an old blue and white crockery set, or at least a few pieces from it. This crockery dates back to colonial times, when evening tea and snacks were a family affair. While this kind of crockery is no longer common in Goa, nevertheless, it remains a part of the culture of the land.
BLUE & WHITE POTTERY
‘Blue and white pottery’ covers a wide range of porcelain, which is decorated with a blue pigment, generally cobalt oxide. The design is generally applied by hand, and was originally done by brush painting. But nowadays, it is done by stenciling, transfer-printing or other methods.
Cobalt pigment is one of few that can withstand the high firing temperatures required for porcelain, which partly accounts for its longevity. Historically, many colours required overglaze decoration, and later, a second firing at a lower temperature.
Blue and white pottery first became extensively used in Chinese porcelain in the 14th century, after cobalt pigment began to be imported from Persia. It was widely exported, and inspired imitation wares in Middle East ceramics, Japan and Europe.
FROM CHINA TO GOA
This blue and white pottery, better known as Macao crockery, in Goa, has long been part of Goan culture, and dates to the time of the Portuguese. Both Goa and the Macau peninsula (located on China's southern coast) were under Portuguese rule for over 400 years, between the 16th and 20th century. So, it was just a matter of time before trade would be established and the people of Goa would enjoy products from Macao, and vice versa.
Thanks to these trade relations, Goa started importing crockery, which was manufactured in Macau (or Macao, as the Portuguese call it). Soon cups, saucers, plates and tea sets, made in Macao, were found in the homes of elite Goans, and have been a part of Goan culture ever since.
Eventually, the Portuguese rule came to an end in Goa, in 1961. A couple of decades later, in 1999, the Portuguese handed over Macao to China. But, Goan families continued to own the beautiful blue and white crockery, as it had been passed from one generation to another.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND
Not only does Macao crockery look chic, but what’s more important is that it goes through a five-time heating process, making it tough and not easily breakable.
So, what items are available in Macao crockery? A whole range of pieces required for high tea, fine dining and more, including delicate blue and white teapots, dinner sets, cups, saucers, cutlery, cake platters, serving dishes, serving plates for Bebinca, bowls for Xacuti/Chana Masala, plates etc.
This beautiful crockery has multiple purposes. While many people use it to serve food, others mount it on walls, or keep them as decorative show pieces.
Macao crockery is not easily available in Goa. Should you be interested in owning a few pieces, head for Casa Macao, with outlets in Panjim & Nerul, which imports these lovely porcelain items, straight from Macao.
WHERE: Casa Macao, (Panjim & Nerul)
PRICE RANGE: Plates start at approx ₹ 200 per piece. A set of 6 cups, 6 saucers and a teapot starts at ₹ 1,000, while a tea cup set starts at ₹ 2,000.
CONTACT: +91 88055 86539