Antique Chinese Famille Noire porcelain. Famille Noire (fr., black family, or black palette) Chinese porcelain refers to those decorated with a black background and complimentary polychrome enamel decoration traditionally including aubergine, white, yellow and green. When red is introduced, it may be argued, depending on the manner of decoration, whether the object is truly famille noire (though later). Famille noire porcelain became popular under the Empress Dowager Cixi for whom many old porcelains were purportedly skinned of their glaze and clobbered. There was also demand from early Western collectors of Chinese porcelain. The debate remains alive and well whether any genuine Kangxi (when the palette was reputed to have originated) famille noire pieces predated Cixi's reign. 19th century examples exhibit a melding of translucent colored enamels with a green undertone. Later examples are rather opaque and the colors flat.