Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Chinese Porcelain


Zhangzhou (Swatow) wares 1570-1650 - Jarlets - Page 2


Object 2011208




(Southeast) China, Zhangzhou (Swatow)




Height 70 mm (2.76 inch), diameter 96 mm (3.78 inch), diameter of rim 46 mm (1.81 inch), diameter of footring 51 mm (2.01 inch), weight 321 grams (11.32 ounce (oz.))


Jarlet on footring with an angled shoulder wide mouth and a short straight upright neck. Crackled glaze. Decorated in underglaze blue with chilong (sea dragon) alternating with a flower spray, around the shoulder a border with florets between scrolls alternating with a half flower head. 


Porcelain factories in the South Chinese provinces of Fuijan and Guangdong produces goods for the oriental market such as Japan and what is now Indonesia. However, this porcelain is slightly coarser in its texture and decoration than the products destined for the Chinese domestic market and the European export market. This group was commonly and simply known as 'coarse porcelain', and later the name 'Swatow', came to be used. Nowadays it is referred to as Zhangzhou.

Only a limited number of collectors in The Netherlands showed interest in this kind of ceramic work. These collectors regarded it as fresh, decorative popular art that had remained free of Western influence. The largest collections in this domain were formed in the former Dutch East Indies and were later transported to the Netherlands.

To the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) , this porcelain was not particularly appealing in commercial terms because there was little interest for it in Europe. Of course, the company did attempt to get a slice of the cake in the trade between South China and the Indonesian archipelago with varying degrees of success. (Source: Breekbaar Goed. Een eerbetoon aan Minke A. de Visser (1989-1966), exhibition held at the Groninger Museum, Groningen, 20 March 2015 - 15 March 2016)


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)


Condition: Firing flaws to the body, the base and footring, a chip top the rim.



Harrisson 1979, p.81

Rinaldi 1989, pp.88-91

Breekbaar Goed. Een eerbetoon aan Minke A. de Visser (1989-1966), exhibition held at the Groninger Museum, Groningen, 20 March 2015 - 15 March 2016


Price: € 299 - $ 325 - £ 264

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


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