Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Zhangzhou (Swatow) wares 1570-1650 - Jarlets


Object 2011774




(Southeast) China, Zhangzhou (Swatow)




Height 87 mm (3.43 inch), diameter 83 mm (3.27 inch), diameter of rim 25 mm (0.98 inch), diameter of footring 67 mm (2.64 inch), weight 275 grams (9.70 ounce (oz.))


Jarlet on footring, nearly vertical sides and an angled shoulder, a short upright neck with a slightly flaring rim. Crackled glaze. Fitted with unmarked Indonesian silver engraved mounts round the foot and rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with three panels filled with a spotted deer, rocks and plants. Around the shoulder a ruyi head pattern border.


These jarlets, supposedly made as containers for the export of oil and ointments in small quantities to consumers all over Southeast Asia, were mass-produced over centuries. As empties, they were part of every kitchen. With the passage of time, they became heirlooms and antiquities of small value. (Harrison 1979, p.81)


These jarlets were unearthed in large quantities particularly in Indonesia. These kind of jarlets were mass-produced over centuries and are very common in Southeast Asia where they, apart from being used as burial objects, were used for medicines, unguents and cosmetics. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.88-91)


According to Adhyatman, the smaller jarlets were used in former times as containers of medicine. (Adhyatman 1999, pp.28-29)


This jarlet probably had an Indonesian provenance and was collected by a (former) owner when he or she lived in the Dutch East Indies. The mounts, enhancing the shape, indicate the value such pieces had in local Indonesian communities, where they were often regarded as pusaka, holy and venerated heirlooms. (Jörg 2003/1, p.65)


For a another jarlet with different shape and decoration but with identically shaped and engraved mounts, please see:

For similarly decorated jarlets, please see:

Condition: Some firing flaws and fine crazing to the glaze, due to the firing process and wear to the glaze due to use over the ages.



Berlin 1929, cat. 686

Volker 1954, reprint 1971, Pl. IV, cat. 5c

Miedema 1964, cat. S87

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1977, cat. 53

Harrisson 1979, cat. 153

Adhyatman 1999, cat 150


Price: € 299 - $ 333 - £ 258

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


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