A large blue and white 'Kraak' bowl

Chongzhen period (c. 1635-1644)

The heavily potted and slightly warped bowl has deep rounded sides and a foliated rim. The interior is painted in deep shades of blue with a central roundel enclosing a lady seated on a stool spooling silk beside a flowering plant, all within a border of white petals reserved in white on a blue ground. The sides of the interior are divided into six wide and smaller panels, three painted with scenes of a scholar and attendant standing on a river bank with European houses and three painted with stylised Iznik style flowers. The smaller panels are painted with stylised tulips. The exterior is painted with similar panels, some enclosing figures on a river bank with rowing boats divided by smaller panels of stylised tulips. All the wider panels are framed by scroll borders.
The slightly convex base is fully glazed.
35,2 cm diameter

These large bowls are classified by Rinaldi as Shape VI.3.(1)
They are decorated in the Transitional style. They have all the Kraak characteristics, but the decoration adopted typical Transitional features, including Dutch flowers, tulips and Iznik style flowers.
The fact that there are no bowls with Transitional features in the Topkapi Saray indicates that the production of these bowls was mainly intended for the Dutch home market.

(1) Rinaldi, M., Kraak Porcelain, A Moment in the History of Trade, London 1989, p. 163


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