BFE 08 A large Zhangzhou (Swatow) dish

Ming dynasty, ca. 1600-1620

The large dish has deep rounded sides supported on an inverted foot.
The inside is painted in underglaze blue of greyish tone, in the centre with a compass card with radial lines and celestial constellations surrounded by two large Portuguese ships with two masts and billowing sails, a large fish emerging from crested waves, and a landscape with three peaked mountains and pagodas. The cavetto is painted with four ogival panels, two containing a rosette surrounded by leafy branches of peach and birds, alternating with two further panels of foliage and a stylised flower flanked by two parrots, all reserved on a checkered ground with tasselled pendants below a lotus. The reverse has two scetchily drawn spiralling motifs and two circles. The base, foot and lower part of the exterior have large parts of grit adhering.
Diameter 47.3 cm; with metal hanging system

The compass card, ships and fish suggest a Portuguese or Dutch navigation chart which sometimes included these elements.

Similar dishes are known in private and public collections:
One in the RA Collection, illustrated in Maria Antonia Pintos de Matos, 'The RA Collection of Chinese Ceramics' Part I, Pl 80;
One is in the British Museum, see Harrison-Hall, 'Ming Ceramics in the British Museum',  London, 2001, No 11:125
Two are in The Museum Princessehof Leeuwarden, illustrated in Harrison, 'Swatow in Het Princessehof Leeuwarden', 1979;
One in the former Mottahedeh Collection, See Howard & Ayers, 'China for the West' vol. I, 1978, p. 52, no 7

Provenance: An old Dutch private collection purchased at Paul Brandt Auctions Amsterdam, 27 April-4 May 1965
Invoice available 




Ceramics > Early Ceramics