BEN 02 A small blue and white 'Kraak' dish with Egret mark

Wanli-Tianqi, c. 1600-1625

The rounded sides are moulded with two rows of overlapping petal-shaped panels spreading towards the lobed rim. The centre is painted in underglaze blue with a pheasant on a rock amidst flowers, hovering insects, overhanging rocks, clouds and a distant sun or moon. The foot rim is surrounded by a double-line border. The recessed base is painted with an egret in underglaze blue.
13.4 cm diameter

The present dish has characteristics of the early ‘Transitional’ style like the dark outlines filled with light washes and the overhanging rocks with downward pointing bushes (1).
Compared to the larger egret-marked dishes, the present dish is very different in terms of size, shape, border type and painting style. Even the egret on the base is much more hastily executed. It is therefore thought that dishes of this group were produced slightly later than the larger egret dishes (2). An unusual feature on the present dish is the double-line border encircling the outside foot rim (3). Egret-marked dishes of this type are very rare. Only six examples, including the present dish, number 12 in this catalogue, two in the Groninger Museum and two from a private collection, seem to be known (4).

Provenance: Formerly in a Dutch private collection

Maura Rinaldi, Kraak Porcelain – A Moment in the History of Trade, London, 1989, pl. 260b and 261

  1. Butler, M., Medley ,M.,  and Little, S., Seventeenth Century Chinese Porcelain from the Butler Family Collection- Beauty's Enchantment, Shanghai 1990, p. 76
  2. Rinaldi, M., Kraak Porcelain- A Moment in the History of Trade, London 1989, p. 195
  3. Rinaldi, M., 1989, p. 76
  4. Kilburn, R.S., Transitional Wares and their Forerunners, Hong Kong 1981, pl. 29
  5. Rinaldi, 1989, pl. 261a-e
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