Shopping for Porcelain, Pottery and Blue Onion Pattern
Shopping for porcelain in Prague is easy. The souvenir shops in the historic centre brim with porcelain and ceremics. If you want to avoid tourist prices, do your shopping at Dum Porcelanu or Thun Sklo Porcelan just outside the city centre. These are two stores specializing in Czech onion pattern porcelain and Bohemian crystal. You will find here no inflated prices and no tourists. Whether you want to buy a complete dinner set or simply a mug or cup and saucer, shopping in these two stores is fun. Nice gifts for (grand) children are Little Mole or Hello Kitty children’s tea sets and mugs. Mole, Krtek or Krteček in Czech, is the main character in Czech animation films.
Shopping for Porcelain at Dum Porcelanu
The extensive collection of Dum Porcelanu, Jugoslavska 16, in Prague includes names such as Meissner, Haas & Czjzek, Goebel and Hummel. You’ll find Chinese tea cups made of delicate porcelain, but also robust earthenware bowls and crystal wine glasses and carafes. The original blue onion pattern porcelain is made by Cesky porcelan and is microwave and dishwasher safe.
Shopping for Porcelain and Bohemian Crystal at Thun Sklo Porcelan
The Thun store Sklo Porcelan, Vinohradska 52, is a factory outlet and has almost the same assortment as Dum Porcelanu with the difference that there is a department with rejects. These are hard to recognize for the untrained eye. However, the difference in price is obvious and is a good indication.
Ming and Blue Onion Pattern
It is no coincidence that onion pattern porcelain is hard to distinguish from Ming porcelain. In the seventeenth century, the Dutch East India Company transported Ming porcelain to the Netherlands. A true craze arose; everyone wanted to show off this beautiful white-blue Chinese porcelain but for many this was too expensive. Dutch and German potters imitated the originals. Almost everyone could now afford Ming porcelain: chic and affordable. European craftsmen in Meissen (outside of Dresden in Germany) copied the peaches, pomegranates and other fruit from older Chinese patterns and made them look like onions, hence the name.
Blue Onion Pattern: a Genuine Imitation
At first sight blue onion porcelain is difficult to distinguish from Chinese porcelain. On a closer inspection there is a distinct difference. Blue onion porcelain is thicker than the fragile Chinese porcelain. This is because the Chinese used first-class quality clay, a type not available in Europe. European potters found a solution and fired their earthenware unglazed, then hand painted it and glazed it. This done, they fired it for a second time. The result is the blue and white onion porcelain and also Delftware, famous porcelain from the city of Delft in the Netherlands.
Read here more about the history of Delft porcelain
How to Get There
Shopping for porcelain in Prague is easy because Dum Porcelanu is in the Nove Mesto district close to Namesti Miru. At Christmas you will find in this square the Christmas and Easter markets and at other times of the year Famers’ Market.
Address: Dum Porcelanu, Jugoslavska 16
Open: Monday to Friday 09.00-19.00, Saturday 09.00-17.00, Sunday 14.00-17.00
Thun Sklo Porcelan is in the Vinohrady district, in a shopping street that starts just behind the National Museum on Wenceslas Square.
Address: Thun Sklo Porcelan, Vinohradska 52
Open: Monday to Friday 09.00-18.00, Saturday 09.00-17.00