Pater Gratia Oriental Art

The Nanking Cargo, 1752


Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752


Object 2011620


Beer mug




Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986




Height 105 mm (4.13 inch), diameter of mouthrim 87 mm (3.43 inch), diameter of footring 87 mm (3.43 inch), weight 452 grams (15.94 ounce (oz.))


Cylindrical beer mug on footring, loop strap handle. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with the 'Peony' pattern small size with a tree peony issuing from rockwork on a terrace below trellis pattern border. On the base the original Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale label proving it has been one of two similar beer mugs sold in lot 1598. (Amsterdam 1986, p.46)


For centuries lo-alcoholic beer had been a common less risky alternative to water, which often was quite polluted. There has therefore been a long design tradition of beer ware such as beer jugs, mugs and crucibles. As soon as the possibility arose of having porcelain copies of all kinds of practical Dutch (household) ware manufactured in China, beer jugs were also often made to order there. Both tall straight models as well as bulbous types were available.

Later on during the 18th century wide, cylindrical English beer jugs had become popular. As became clear from the wreck of the Dutch East India Company ship the Geldermalsen (1752) sets of beer mugs increasingly in size were also made to order in China.

In Japan beer mugs were only manufactured for trade during a short period of time in the late 17th century. The existence of Delft copies of these jugs illustrates that there must have been a considerable demand for them in the Netherlands in those days. (source: Groninger Museum)


Of the 821 beer mugs bought in, no less than 681 have been recovered. The beer mugs found by Hatcher occur in three increasing sizes and represent the one pint, one and a half pint, and the two pint varieties. the one pint mug was not bought in, or not recovered by Hatcher. They are all decorated in Chinese Imari and a few enamels (rose, green), now blackened due to being submerged in salt sea water for two and a half century. In the handle a small hole has been made on purpose intended for the silver or other metal lid that would customarily have been added in Europe. (Jörg 1986/1. pp.92-93), (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.137


In total 471 beer mugs with the 'Peony' pattern small size, were sold divided over the lots: 1582-1672. (Amsterdam 1986. pp.46-51)


Condition: A firing flaw to the inner wall. A fleabite with a short V-shaped hairline and a chip to the rim. Glaze rough spots to the handle.



Amsterdam 1986, lot 1582-1672

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 85

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl. 179

Groninger Museum


Price: € 499 - $ 555 - £ 450

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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