Notebook, 1993-


POTTERY AND PORCELAIN - Glossary - A List of Museums and Galleries - Ceramics - [A materials resource site with links]

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Devonshire. Rustic lead glazed earthenware was made [mainly at Barnstaple, Bideford and Freming-ton] from the seventeenth century onwards. The characteristic ware was of red clay with designs incised through a white slip, under a yellow-green glaze.

'DK' mark. See Derby.

'D' mark. See Bow, Derby.

'Doctor Syntax'. Fine underglaze blue transfer prints representing the adventures of Doctor Syntax, used as tableware decorations by James and Ralph Clews, Cobridge, c. 1821. Pottery figures were also popular. The Tours of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque by Dr. Clombe, with illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson, published 1815-21, were a satire upon the writings of the Rev. William Gilpin.

Don Pottery [Swinton, Yorkshire]. Made creamware and other Leeds-type pottery, early nineteenth century.

Dots mark. See Bow.

Doulton [Lambeth]. Stoneware pottery, founded 1818, making mainly industrial brown ware.

Dragon. By far the commonest motif of decoration on Chinese porcelain, the dragon with five claws is a symbol of the Emperor, with four claws it represents princes of the blood, and with three claws it was intended for high officials. The dragon represents Spring, and it is the Spirit of the Waters which brings rain to the young crops. It is a mild and beneficent creature [apart from some Buddhist dragons called Nagas], and the Blue Dragon is a Taoist temple guardian. Dragons are often found in pairs in pursuit of something called a 'flaming pearl' which is [p. 491] probably intended to represent the sun. The Dragon is one of the four Supernatural Creatures, the others being the Phoenix, the Kylin, and the Tortoise. It also represents the East from the Four Quadrants. The Dragon does not have the same connotation in Japan, where it was adopted as a motif of decoration from China. The Japanese dragon has three claws, unless it is part of a decoration copied from the Chinese sources.

Duesbury, William [1725-86]. Independent decorator in London 1751-3; controlled porcelain factories at, successively, Derby [1756-86]; Chelsea [1770-84], and perhaps Longton Hall [1760] and Bow [1763 onward]. His son, also William [1763-96 or 97] owned the Derby factory 1786 until his death.

Dwight, John [c. 1637-1703]. Potter, of Fulham from about 1671.

Easter eggs. 'Nest' eggs decorated, inscribed with the name of the recipient, and given as Easter and Birthday gifts.

East India Company. The Honourable East India Company was incorporated in 1600, and had a monopoly of trade between England and the East. Factories [warehouses] were established for trading with China during the second half of the seventeenth century at Tongking, Amoy, Tainan [on Formosa], and at Gombron in the Persian Gulf. None lasted for more than a few years. In 1715 Canton became the principal port, and the Chinese side of all business came under the regulation of the Co-hong, a closed corporation of the local merchants. The Company formed a Council of Supercargoes to deal with them. In addition to the ships belonging to the East India Company, licenses were granted to the vessels of other traders, and there were in addition numerous unlicensed and unprincipled interlopers. Before long the vessels of the licensees and the unlicensed outnumbered those of the Company and, in turn, the total number of British vessels outnumbered those of all the other trading companies of the European nations. The factories of the various trading nations fronted the Pearl river, and contemporary views of them are found on porcelain and in paintings on canvas and glass. The East India Company was dissolved in 1858.

East India Company china and 'Compagnie des Indes' china. The wares imported by these trading companies. The former continued till 1854.

'Eggshell' porcelain. See Famille rose. Thin-bodied white bowls of Yung Lo [1403-24], with faint incised or slip painted designs, were copied in the K'ang Hsi period. Some modern Japanese porcelains are eggshell thin.

Egyptian black. Hard stoneware body heavily stained with manganese.

Ehret, G. D. Born at Heidelberg in 1708, became one of the most celebrated botanical artists of the eighteenth century. His work inspired some of the botanical designs on Chelsea porcelain. He died in 1770.

Eight Buddhist Emblems, The. The Pa chi-hsiang which are frequently used as painted decoration on porcelain. They are LUN, a flaming wheel [the wheel of the Law]; LO, a conch shell, a wind instrument used in religious ceremonies; SAN, a state umbrella; KAI, a canopy; HUA, a lotus, emblem of purity; a vase; YU, a pair of fishes, a symbol of connubial felicity; CHANG, an endless knot.

Eight Horses of Mu Wang, The. Mu Wang was an Emperor of the Chou dynasty who traveled around his kingdom in a chariot drawn by eight horses. He visited the Goddess, Hsi Wang Mu, in her western garden, where grew the tree which bore the Peach of Immortality. The eight horses occur in painted decoration, especially relaxing from their day's labours.

Eight Immortals, The. In Chinese, the Pa-hsien. The Eight Immortals are Taoist legendary figures who accompany Lao Tzü [Shou Lao]. Lao Tzü himself is easily recognizable from a large and protuberant forehead. The Immortals include CHUNG-LI CHUAN, a fat man with a feather fan and the peach of longevity; LÜ TUNG-PIN, carrying a sword and a fly-whisk; LI T'IEH KUAI, a lame beggar with a stick or crutch who carries a gourd; TS'AO KUO-CH'IU, carrying his tablets of admission to the Sung Court; LAN TS'AI-HO, with the flower basket and spade of the gardener; CHANG KAO, sometimes seated on a mule facing the tail, carrying a peach, a feather fan, or a bamboo tube drum; HAN HSIANG TZÜ, carrying a flute, and HO HSIEN KU who is an immortal maiden with a peach or a lotus. These personages appear quite commonly in painted form, or as ceramic figures, with Lao Tzü in addition. They also occur on some eighteenth-c. European porcelain in painted form and as figures; for instance, the early white Bristol figure of Li T'ieh Kuai.

Eight Precious Things, The. The Pa pao, frequently the subject of painted decoration. They comprise a pair of rhinoceros horn cups, a musical stone of jade, the artemisia leaf, a jewel, a coin, a painting, a pair of tablets, and a symbol of victory. The Pa pao are closely related to the Hundred Antiques [q.v.].

Eight Trigrams, The. The Pa Kua, or Eight Trigrams, are a series of eight sets of three lines, broken and unbroken, which represent natural forces--heaven, wind, earth, water, fire, thunder, vapour, and mountains. They occur fairly frequently as decoration, moulded or painted, on Ch'ing porcelain which is a cylinder squared on the exterior, derived from an ancient jade astronomical instrument and known as tsung. The Eight Trigrams are also employed in the Book of Changes of the Warring States period for purposes of divination and for forecasting the future.

Elers, John Philip and David. Stoneware potters, originally silversmiths, of German extraction, settled in England before 1686. Worked in Fulham about 1690-3, at Bradwell Wood about 1693-8.

Enamel. Enamel painting on porcelain, a decoration in vitreous colours which fuse upon the glazed surface in the muffle kiln at a low temperature. On soft-paste porcelain the enamel sinks deeply into the fusible lead glaze. On hard-paste porcelain it is not absorbed.

Encaustic painting. Josiah Wedgwood was granted a patent in 1769 for: 'The purpose of ornamenting earthen and porcelaine ware with an encaustic gold bronze, together with a peculiar species of encaustic painting in various colours in imitation of the antient Etruscan and Roman earthenware.' He prepared a number of substances by which were produced the following colours: red, orange, white, green, blue, yellow, and both a matt and a 'shineing' black. The principal use for these colours was in the decoration of the basaltes body, which was modelled and painted in imitation of ancient Greek ware. [p. 492]

Engine turning. Process of turning a dried but unfired pot on a lathe to produce a relief pattern, often of an irregular basketwork design ['rose engine turning']; probably introduced by Wedgwood about 1760.

Etruria and 'Etruscan' vases. See Wedgwood.

Faîence [also Fayence]. The term, derived from the Italian town of Faenza, was adopted in France at the beginning of the seventeenth c. to describe tin-glazed earthenware. It has since been loosely applied to all kinds of white pottery.

Famille noire. K'ang Hsi wares enamelled in famille verte style, generally 'on the biscuit', with dry black ground colour, made lustrous by a covering of green glaze. The large vases with superb floral designs have fetched great sums, encouraging forgeries and skillful redecoration of old pieces. Cups and bowls are less rare. A few marked examples are of the Yung Chêng period.

Famille rose. Porcelain painted in a palette which includes an opaque rose enamel derived from colloidal gold. The colour is the same as the European purple of Cassius, invented by Andreas Cassius of Leyden about 1675 and taken to China by Jesuit missionaries before 1700. It was first used at Peking for painting on enamel on copper, and appears to have reached Ching-tê about 1700. Most painting using this colour, however, was executed in the Canton studios. The finest examples of famille rose porcelain painting belong to the reign of Yung Chêng, and to this reign belong plates painted in meticulous detail on the front with, on the back, an unbroken ground of rose enamel, except for the space within the footring--the so called 'ruby-back' plates. As the century progressed the colour was increasingly employed for export wares, and quality deteriorated. Towards the end of the century it formed part of a palette known as rose-verte used, for the most part, to decorate run-of-the-mill export wares such as the 'Mandarin' types.

Famille verte. This, and the other familles, are the result of an arbitrary classification based on the predominant colour in the palette employed which was made by Albert Jacquemart in the middle of the nineteenth century. All of them belong to the Ch'ing dynasty and the best work in all categories was done between 1662 and about 1760. The famille verte is a development of the Wan Li wu ts'ai, or Wan Li five-colour decoration, dating from the end of the sixteenth c. The verte is a brilliant transparent green enamel. The earliest examples also have passages of underglaze blue later to be replaced by an enamel blue. Surrounding the enamel blue on many pieces is a slight 'halo', to be seen when light falls on the glaze at an angle. This does not occur on every genuine specimen, but it has not yet been seen on a spurious piece. A forger who was also a first-class ceramic chemist might conceivably be able to reproduce the effect, since the probable cause is known, but it is very unlikely.

'Fazackerley' colours and patterns. See Liverpool [delftware].

'FBB' mark. See Worcester.

Feeding bottle. Flattish oviform article with a small circular aperture at the top and a small nozzle.

'Fledspathic glazes'. Those containing feldspar rock, an essential ingredient of porcelain glazes; but used also on stonewares [see main article].

'Female archer'. Subject of 'Pratt'-type jugs and earthenware figures intended as satire upon the smart archery parties popular in 'high' society, 1800-50. Sometimes known as the 'fair toscopholite' or 'toxophilite'.

Ferronnerie. A style of ornament resembling wrought-iron work.

Ferruginous. Containing iron oxide and, therefore, reddish brown in appearance.

Ferrybridge [near Pontefract, Yorkshire]. Pottery making Wedgwood-style stoneware and creamware, late 18th and early 19th centuries. From 1796 to 1806 the firm had Ralph Wedgwood as partner, and used the mark 'Wedgwood & Co', impressed.

Fitzhugh. A Chinese pattern very popular in America was the profuse floral arrangement known as Fitzhugh [said to be a Yankee version of Foochow]. The wide, distinctive border is composed of pomegranates, butterflies, and latticework, and the centre [p. 493] is filled with four large medallions of flowers and emblems. The border alone sometimes frames enamelled motifs, as on George Washington's Cincinnati service. Enameled decoration is also combined with the complete design, usually in the form of a monogram, occasionally of an eagle, placed in the centre. Though most often in underglaze blue, Fitzhugh occurs also with overglaze colour--green, brown, or orange.

Flambé glazes. Glazes in which kiln conditions produce variegated colour effects, e.g. on some Chün wares of the Sung dynasty, the eighteenth-c. copper-red wares, and Canton stonewares.

Flasks. In form of fish, mermaid, constable's baton, horse pistol, boot, potato, cucumber, barrel, or a figure of some royal or political celebrity, commonly made in brown stoneware or 'Rockingham'-glazed earthenware, early nineteenth c. Chief centres: Denby, Chesterfield, Brampton, Lambeth. [See Reform Flasks.]

Flaxman, John, R.A. A well-known sculptor who was employed by Josiah Wedgwood from 1775 to 1787. Much of his work has been identified; it includes a number of plaques in relief, some portraits, and a set of chessmen. His father, also named John, supplied plaster casts of antique busts to Wedgwood, and some confusion has resulted in the classification of the work of father and son.

Flight & Barr; Flight, Barr & Barr. See Worcester.

Flint enamel. Fenton's Enamel, an improvement on the brown Rockingham glaze, patented 1849 by Lyman, Fenton & Co. of Bennington, VT, but soon copied by East Liverpool and other factories. Metallic powders dusted on the glaze produced streaks and flecks of colour. See Rockingham.

'Florentine-green' dishes. Mid-fifteenth-c. majolica dishes painted in green, orange, and purple, at Florence.

Flowers. Porcelain, usually mounted on ormolu branches, were made at Chelsea and Derby as embellishments for porcelain figures, etc.

Flower symbolism. Flowers [and plants and trees generally] are used very widely in the decoration of porcelain in the Far East, and an elaborate symbolism is attached to most of them. The seasons are represented by the prunus [Winter], the tree peony [Spring], the lotus [Summer], and the chrysanthemum [Autumn]. A favourite subject since the days of K'ang Hsi has been prunus blossom in white against a pulsating blue ground irregularly divided up by lines to suggest the cracked ice of the thaw. A flower is associated with each of the months--January, the prunus or plum; February, the peach; March, the tree peony; April, the cherry; May, the magnolia; June, the pomegranate; July, the lotus; August, the quince; September, the mallow; October, the Chrysanthemum; November, the gardenia; December, the poppy. The bamboo [q.v.] is a longevity symbol, and is very commonly represented. The lotus is associated with Buddha and Kuan-yin. The peony represents sexual love; the peach, immortality; the 'Buddha's hand' citron [citrus medica], wealth; and the pomegranate, cut to reveal the seeds, a numerous progeny. The ling chih fungus [the fomes japonicus] grows on tree trunks and is an emblem of immortality. It grew in the Taoist Isles of the Blest, and the deer [a longevity symbol] often carries one in its mouth . Kung-fu Tzû [Confucius], Lau Tzû, and Buddha, the Three Friends, are represented by the prunus, pine, and bamboo respectively.

'F' [and F reversed] mark. See Bow, Worcester.

'Fretted-square' mark. See Worcester.

Fuddling cups. Cups of three, five, or more conjoined compartments communicating internally, made at Donyatt and Crock Street, Somerset, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Fukien. See Tê Hua porcelain.

Fulham. See Dwight, Elers. In the eighteenth century massive mugs of brown-and-grey salt-glazed stoneware were made, with applied reliefs of hunting scenes, topers, etc.

Garniture de Cheminé Set of five vases, two trumpet-shaped beakers, and three covered vases, usually of baluster shape, a combination originating in China, whence adopted by most European Fašence and porcelain factories.

Gaudy Dutch. The popular name for a gaily decorated Staffordshire pottery produced c. 1810-30 for the American trade.

Gaudy Welsh. Also gaudy ironstone. Later wares [c. 1830-45 and 1850-65] made in England for the American trade.

'German flowers' [deutsche Blumen]. Contemporary name for naturalistically painted flowers, introduced as porcelain decoration at Meissen about 1740. Ombrierte Teutsche Blumen, flowers with shadows, are a variation. Later the treatment became freer, and smaller flowers, arranged in sprays or bouquets, were scattered over the whole surface until, under classical influence, they were confined between conventional rims and borders.

Giles, James. Owned a decorating establishment in London about 1760-80, where much Bow and Worcester porcelain was painted.

'Girl in a swing' family of early porcelain figures [mostly white] having Chelsea affinities; by some conjecturally ascribed to dissident workmen from Chelsea, c. 1750. [p. 494]

Glaze. A shiny coating, rendering porcelain impervious to liquids while lending brilliance to its surface. In China body and glaze were fired together. At Meissen the body was fired first at a low temperature [Verglühbrand], then dipped in a liquid glaze mixture and subjected to firing at a higher temperature. Glazes can be translucent, opaque, or coloured. The chemical composition is dependent upon that of the body beneath, lead and salt glazes being applied to pottery and soft-paste porcelain, feldspathic glazes to hard-paste porcelain.

'G' mark. See Bow.

Gold star. A pattern commonly used as a border for tea and dinner services, etc., towards the end of the eighteenth century, and in the early years of the century following. It is in the form of a band of dark-blue overglaze enamel, with small gold stars set on it at intervals. It was, and is, very popular in America.

Gombron. In the early part of the seventeenth century the English East India Company established a factory at the port of Gombron, in the Persian Gulf. As a result of this, native Persian ware and Chinese porcelain imported into England from this source were referred to indiscriminately as 'Gombron ware'. As late as the 1770s Horace Walpole wrote of 'two basins of most ancient Gombron china', which may have been either Persian or Chinese. The modern name of the port is Bandar Abbas.

Gotch. East Anglian word for a large stoneware jug.

'Granite' ware. A creamware with minutely speckled glaze resembling granite, late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Greatbach, William. Potter, of Lane Delph, Staffordshire. Some creamwares with black transfer prints washed over in colours bear his name, probably as maker [some dated 1778].

Green glazes. Apart from the celadon wares, see Medium- and low-temperature glazes.

Gretna Green. Popular black print showing a run-away couple being married by the Gretna blacksmith, accompanied by the verse, 'Oh! Mr. Blacksmith, ease our pains: hand tie us fast in Wedlock's Chains'. Known alternatively as 'The Red Hot Marriage'.

'Greybeards'. See Bellarmines.

Grey hen. Stoneware liquor bottle.

'Greyhound' jugs. Jugs with greyhound handles and relief decorations of sporting subjects.

Griffin mark. See Rockingham.

Ground colours. Areas of coloured glaze as a background to painted or gilt decoration, often in reserved panels; chiefly yellow, deep blue, claret, green, and turquoise.

Hackwood, William [d. 1839]. Wedgwood's principal modeler from 1769 to 1832. Hackwood spent much of his time in adapting the antique, but is known also to have done some original work. Occasionally he signed his work with his name in full, or with initials.

Hancock, Robert [1730-1817]. Engraver. Hancock probably learned transfer printing at the Battersea enamel factory [1753-6], subseequently practicing it at Bow [1756], Worcester [1757 at latest, until 1774], and Caughley [1775].

Han dynasty [206 B.C.-A.D. 200]. See Chinese pottery.

Hard paste. Hard paste [or true] porcelain is compounded of 'china clay' [kaolin] and powdered feldspathic rock ['china stone' or petuntse]. It is glazed with petuntse. Under intense heat [about 1450° C] the petuntse fuses into a kind of natural glass. The clay, which will only fuse at 1600° C. holds the object in shape during firing. True porcelain cannot be cut by an ordinary steel file.

Hausmaler. Independent faïence and porcelain painters of Germany, working on white porcelain from Meissen, Vienna or on Chinese export ware, in competition with legitimate factory decorators. Hence the reluctance of the Meissen factory to sell white porcelain, and the introduction of the KPM mark as protection against outside painters. At Augsburg Johann Aufenwerth, his daughter Sabina, members of the Seuter family and others painted chinoiseries in gold and silver, framed by conventional lacework borders, which occasionally include contemporary scenes. In Silesia and Bohemia Schwarzlot and coloured monochrome decoration are more characteristic, originally derived from Dutch glass workers. Jacobus Helchis and Ignaz Bottengruber excelled in these techniques on Vienna porcelain. At Dresden Christoph Conrad Hunger combined the gold relief technique of St. Cloud with that of Saxon glass decorators. There also seems to be proof that Meissen factory workers occasionally undertook outside work. During the second quarter of the century Johann Friedrich Metzsch and R. Chr. von Drechsel, of Bayreuth, painted figures in landscapes with palace architecture or harbour views, enclosed in ornamental borders with shell motives, sometimes painted in purple monochrome.

Hearty good fellow. Toby jug in form of a swaggering standing figure clasping a jug.

Hens and Chickens. Emblems of Providence, hence frequent use as adornments of money boxes.

Hen dish. Oval, basket-shaped egg dish with cover in the form of a sitting hen.

Herculaneum. See Liverpool [creamware].

Historical blue. Also 'Old blue'. Staffordshire pottery transfer printed with scenes of actual places, notable persons, historic events. These deep-blue prints of the 1820s were followed by light colours about 1830 and into the 1840s.

Ho-ho bird, or fêng-huang. The phoenix.

Hollins, Samuel. Potter of Shelton, Staffordshire, late eighteenth century. Made chiefly Wedgewood-type stonewares. MARK: S. HOLLINS [impressed]. He was succeeded by his sons. MARK: T. & J. HOLLINS [impressed].

Honan wares. Black-and brown-glazed wares of the Sung dynasty, probably made in Honan Province.

Horn mark. Imitated from Chantilly, at Worcester and Caughley. [p. 495]

Hsüan-tê period [1426-35]. Classic reign for blue-and-white porcelains of very fine, richly glazed materials. A certain rhythmic vitality is found alike in the contours of vessels and in their painted lotus scrolls, flying dragons, etc. Blackish spots sometimes mottle the cobalt pigment. Underglaze copper-red painting, white wares with faint incised or slip designs [an hua], blue or red monochromes, and the use of yellow enamel grounds, are found. Later times [especially the 18th c.] 'borrowed' the reign mark, and also made admirable copies of the wares.

Hull [Yorkshire]. Pottery founded 1802, making Staffordshire-type earthenware. MARK [from 1825]: 'Belevue Pottery Hull' and bells.

Hunded Antiques, The. The Po kuy, frequently employed as painted decoration, are a collection of instruments and implements used in the arts and sciences, such as water pots, brushes, tablets, musical instruments, etc. 'Hundred' in this context means 'many'.

'Image toys'. Contemporary designation of mid-eighteenth-century Staffordshire figures.

Imari. A port in Japan which gave its name to a porcelain made at Arita and decorated in a distinctive style in underglaze blue, iron red, and gold. Similar patterns in these colours on Chinese porcelain are known also as Chinese Imari.

'I' mark. See Bow. Wrongly attributed to Isleworth.

Impasto. A method by which the colour is applied thickly so that it stands out in relief.

Imperial Russian service. Known also as the 'Frog' service. Josiah Wedgwood received the order to make this enormous service of cream-coloured earthenware in March 1773. It was for the Empress Catherine of Russia, and was to be placed in her palace near St. Petersburg [Leningrad], known as La Grenouillière. The device of a green frog was painted in a shield in the border of each piece. The service numbered more than nine hundred pieces, each of which bore at least one painting of an English view, the obtaining of which caused a great deal of difficulty. The cost of the actual ware came to £51 8x 4d, but the decoration and other charges raised the final total to nearly £2,500. The Empress is believed to have paid £3,000 for it, and Wedgwood wrote: ' . . . . there will not be near the profit upon this service that we have upon our commonest painted goods.' The painting of the service was done at Chelsea, where Wedgewood had an enamelling establishment under the supervision of Thomas Bentley. It was commenced in April 1773, and when the newly acquired showrooms at Portland House, Greek Street, were ready for opening in June of the year following it was found that a sufficient number of pieces of the service had been completed for an exhibition to be made of it. The service was shown there with success, and was seen by many famous people, including Queen Charlotte. It is at present in the Winter Palace at Leningrad.

Independent decorators. Porcelain in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was often obtained in the white and decorated by enamellers working outside the factory. Notable were W. Duesbury; J. Giles; Baxter [father of Thomas Baxter], who decorated Caughley and Coalport porcelain in a workshop near Fleet Street [early nineteenth century]; T. M. Randall and R. Robins, of Spa Fields, decorated Coalport, Swansea, and Nantgarw for the London dealers [c. 1815-25]. Salt-glazed stoneware was also enamelled outside the factory [e.g. by W. Duesbury], as was creamware [e.g. by Robinson and Rhodes at Leeds about 1760-70 and by Absolon at Yarmouth]. [See also Pardoe.]

India ware. The term in general use in England during the eighteenth century for imported Chinese porcelain. It gained currency owing to the Fact that the East India Company held a monopoly of trade with the East. It sold the goods it imported by auction at India House, London. This building in the City was demolished in 1861.

Inlaid decoration. Process used by medieval potters for decorating paving tiles [Cleeve Abbey, Westminster Abbey] and by Sussex potters, c. 1790-1850, for useful and ornamental wares. The decoration was formed by impressing the body with punches or with printers' types, and filling in with clay of a contrasting colour, usually white on red.


NOTE: References to MARKS may refer to illustrations of these marks which are not included in this document.
NOTE: * represents a configuration not available on the computer

[L. G. G. Ramsey, F.S.A., ed. The Complete Color Encyclopedia of Antiques. Preface by Bevis Hillier, Editor of The Connoisseur. Compiled by The Connoisseur, London. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1962. Revised and Expanded Edition.]



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