Friday, February 1, 2013

The Mystique of Old Blue Willow

By Nancy Jill Thames

Certain things make our lives cozy. For me, those include comfy furniture, someone to talk to, a good book to read and pretty dishes. Over the years I've had many sets, but none so cherished as my Old Blue Willow
Hollywood often used these dishes as props in movies, especially Westerns. When the dishes were used in The Andy Griffith Show or in Murder She Wrote, somehow my mind told me if I had those same dishes, my life would be as interesting and exciting as Aunt Bea's or Jessica Fletcher's. Raising four children as a stay-at-home mom fulfilled those wishes, I'm happy to report. 

My Lovely Old Blue Willow Platter
I still remember the day I received the set from UPS. Lovingly, I took each dish from the box and washed them by hand. I suppose I've always loved playing house, but having these dishes brightened my time spent in the kitchen each day. I would glance at the two doves and be carried away to the plight of the two lovers. One day I changed my decor so the blue dishes had to go. Blue did not go with sage, somehow. I couldn't bear to let go of the set entirely, and thus saved one piece before selling the set in a garage sale.

Notice the Chinese design around the edges. Do you see the pagoda, bridge, boat, and two doves in flight? The story touches me whenever I use this  platter for serving food at parties.

Here's the story from Wikipedia if you've never heard it before.

The Romantic Fable: Once there was a wealthy Mandarin, who had a beautiful daughter (Koong-se). She had fallen in love with her father's humble accounting assistant (Chang), angering her father (it was inappropriate for them to marry due to their difference in social class). He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart. The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke. The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.
On the eve of the daughter's wedding to the Duke, the young accountant, disguised as a servant, slipped into the palace unnoticed. As the lovers escaped with the jewels, the alarm was raised. They ran over a bridge, chased by the Mandarin, whip in hand. They eventually escaped on the Duke's ship to the safety of a secluded island, where they lived happily for years. But one day, the Duke learned of their refuge. Hungry for revenge, he sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death. The Gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers into a pair of doves (possibly a later addition to the tale, since the birds do not appear on the earliest willow pattern plates).

Old Blue Willow will always be one of my favorites. I've linked three sites in blue to purchase if you're interested. What about you? Have you ever owned a set like mine?

Thanks for joining me today on COZY MYSTERY MAGAZINE. 
Have a lovely weekend, dear readers.

See you in my books!
 ~Nancy Jill

Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames began publishing Christian fiction in 2010. The author of six books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and is listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List, this in addition to winning first place for her Chocolate Cream Pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren in two states, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her own personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers Guild and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales.

Nancy Jill is busy working on book 7 "The Ruby of Siam" a mystery taking place in London, England.
To learn more about the author and check out her books, please visit her blog at  
Cozy Mystery Author, Nancy Jill Thames.

To view and purchase her books on this site, please visit the Cozy Book Store.


  1. Nancy, I've read that fable/legend of the Blue Willow before and once owned a set. Like you, I admired the pattern (and still do), but the set didn't really go with anything else in my color scheme at the time. Fascinating article. Thanks!

    1. You're welcome! The Corelle I use is almost indestructible - but Abundace is a nice pattern, too, and I do have all the serving pieces.

  2. What is it about that pattern that makes you feel a sense of home and family? Good article.
    Debbie Malone

  3. Barnsy January 1, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    There is another story or legion about the Blue Willow pattern. I can't remember just how it goes but at one time in China, the blue willow pattern was used as a symbol of rebellion. If caught with this pattern in your possession, it meant you life. The young lovers story was used to cover the real symbolism of the blue willow pattern.

    1. Barnsy - that's fascinating!

      Thanks for sharing.

      ~Nancy Jill

  4. Life would not be the same without my Blue Willow ! Lynnette...South Australia.


  5. I know exactly how you feel, Lynnette - it's such a lovely pattern.


    ~Nancy Jill


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