Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Chinese Porcelain

 

Kraak Porcelain wares 1570-1645

 

Klapmutsen

 

Page 1

Dutch merchants arrived in Asia towards the end of the 16th century. The Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC, (Dutch East India Company, 1602–1799), was founded in 1602, competed fiercely with the Portuguese as traders. Porcelain from captured Portuguese vessels (caraccas) was called kraak porcelain, a Dutch corruption of the Portuguese word. It was made especially for export in Jingdezhen, the porcelain centre in Jiangxi Province. The VOC shipped it in huge quantities and soon it was a commonplace item in Dutch interiors.

 

Kraak porcelain was primarily bought for practical use but pieces also had decorative functions. The paintings, done in underglaze blue only, show landscapes and animals, rarely human figures, making this porcelain suitable for Islamic markets, too. Buddhist and Daoist good luck symbols make up the paneled border decorations. Plates and dishes were moulded. They are thin, usually rather quickly finished and often have kiln grit adhering to the underside. The glaze on the edge is often retracted. Apart from large dishes, the bases of other objects are glazed, and the V-shaped footring is slightly undercut. Initially, the panels on kraak porcelain were raised, but this feature disappeared at the end of this period.

 

Following Rinaldi in her book 'Kraak Porcelain. A moment in the History of Trade.' Kraak porcelain wares have, if available, been classified into four groups:

  • Dishes
  • Klapmutsen
  • Bowls
  • Closed Forms

In turn these groups have been subdivided according to specific characteristics

Bowls of this shape with a flat rim are traditionally called klapmuts in Dutch, comparing the shape with a cap with flaps. The klapmuts is mentioned in VOC records for the first time in 1608. Rinaldi states that they were specially developed to meet a demand from European customers, who wanted to be able to rest their spoons in the bowl without damaging the edge. In fact the form was already well-known, not as shallow bowls, but as late 15th-early 16th century large and fairly deep dishes in underglaze blue or as Song and early Ming celadon saucers and dishes. The klapmuts is just another variety in the gradual development of this type.(Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, pp.38-39), (Rinaldi 1989, p.118), (Jörg & Van Campen 1997, p.60)

Klapmutsen are divided in six groups each bearing one or more typical decorative motifs.

 

Group I (c.1595-1610)

  • Rim with a running decoration of foliage, usually divided in two groups. Cavetto and walls have well-drawn panels usually with flower or peach sprays. They are usually small from 100 mm (3.93 inch) to 230 mm (9.06 inch) in diameter.

Group II (c.1595-1610)

  • Rim with a peony scroll. Cavetto and walls have well-drawn panels with early motifs such as delicately drawn flower sprays, herons and, in later pieces, auspicious symbols. They are usually between 200 mm (7.87 inch) to 230 mm (9.06 inch) in diameter.

Group III (c.1595-1610)

  • Rim with four sections with diapers and four cartouches with flower sprays. Cavetto and walls have ogival panels with delicate flower or peach sprays. A deer motif in the centre is common. The size is between 200 mm (7.87 inch) to 230 mm (9.06 inch) in diameter.

Group IV (c.1605-1645)

  • Rim with four reserves with peach or flower sprays surrounded by diapers. Cavetto and walls have ogival panels on early pieces, oval ones for later examples, filled mostly with peach or flower sprays. They are of small size: from 140 mm (5.51 inch) to about 200 mm (7.87 inch) in diameter.

Group V (c.1605-1650)

  • The most typical and common of klapmutsen. the monster mask and segments with diapers are predominant motifs on the rim. Cavetto and walls have ogival panels on early pieces, oval ones for later examples, filled with a wide variety of motifs, mostly symbols. Early examples are small, 150 mm (5.90 inch) to 210 mm (8.26 inch) in diameter, later examples from the Hatcher Cargo are as large as 270 mm (10.63 inch) in diameter.

Group VI (c.1605-1620)

  • Very large klapmutsen, 370 mm (14.57 inch) to about 500 mm (19.69 inch) in diameter, usually have three monster masks and peony scrolls on the rim. In most cases the panels on cavetto and walls have an ogival contour and are filled with symbols or peach sprays. Such vessels are rare and often of very good quality.

(source: Rinaldi 1989, p.120

2011932
2011932

Kraak Porcelain wares 1570-1645 - Klapmutsen - Page 1

 

Object 2011932

 

Klapmuts

 

China

 

1605-1645

 

Height 50 mm (1.97 inch), diameter of rim 143 mm (5.63 inch), diameter of footring 63 mm (2.48 inch), weight 152 grams (5.36 ounce (oz.))

 

Klapmuts or bowl on footring, flattened rim with foliated edge. Mounted with a mid 19th century Dutch silver handle (marked). Decorated in underglaze blue. In the centre a walking figure holding a larger parasol. On the interior wall four medallions filled with flowers and peaches, on the rim four medallions with flowers and peaches flanked by scale or swastika motifs and separated by narrow panels filled with a bow hanging from a ruyi head. On the exterior wall four oval shaped medallions with four stylized flaming pearls, separated by narrower panels decorated with lingzhi. On the exterior rim three elongated flowering stems. On the base a circular paper dealers label that reads: 'Geoffrey Waters London SW3 4PW'. 

 

According to Rinaldi this klapmuts can be classified as a group IV klapmuts. The decorative style of Group IV may have been adopted at quite an early stage of klapmutsen evolution, probably in the early years of the seventeenth century, but a small production continued for some years. In fact some klapmutsen with the same decorative rim motif have, in the medallion, a seated figure in a landscape which is very Transitional in style. The depiction of a human figure, coupled with the deterioration of the outside decoration (roundels with a dot in the centre), place some of these pieces in the later years of Kraak production (1635-45). (Rinaldi 1989, pp.127-129)

 

When the Dutch captured Formosa in 1624, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) provided the merchants who kept in direct contact with potters in Jingdezhen with wooden models of silver objects that they wanted to be executed in Porcelain. Furthermore, the VOC specified which sort of decoration they wanted these products to have. People were primarily keen on decoration containing Chinese figures. Such subjects, however, very seldom appear on Kraak porcelain.(Campen & Eliëns 2014, pp.55-56)

 

For a bowl (kraaikop) similarly decorated with a walking figure holding a parasol, please see:

Condition: Three small firing flaws.

 

References:

Jörg 1984, cat. 10

Rinaldi 1989, pp.127-129 & Pl.137

Campen & Eliëns 2014, pp.55-56

 

Price: € 1.499 - $ 1,673 - £ 1,290

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

 

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2011634
2011634

Kraak Porcelain wares 1570-1645 - Klapmutsen - Page 1

 

Object 2011634

 

Klapmuts

 

China

 

1605-1645

 

Height 50 mm (1.97 inch), diameter of rim 144 mm (5.67 inch), diameter of footring 66 mm (2.60 inch), weight 110 grams (3.88 ounce (oz.))

 

Klapmuts on footring, flat rim with a foliated edge. Decorated in underglaze blue. In the centre a figure sitting on the ground near a river in the background rocks, trees, mountains and clouds. On the interior wall four medallions with flowers and peaches, on the rim four medallions with flowers and peaches flanked by diaper motifs and separated by narrow panels filled with a bow hanging from a ruyi head. On the exterior wall four oval shaped medallions with four stylized flaming pearls, separated by narrower panels decorated with lingzhi. On the exterior rim three elongated flowering stems. The footring has been pierced. 

 

According to Rinaldi this klapmuts can be classified as a group IV klapmuts. The decorative style of Group IV may have been adopted at quite an early stage of klapmutsen evolution, probably in the early years of the seventeenth century, but a small production continued for some years. In fact some klapmutsen with the same decorative rim motif have, in the medallion, a seated figure in a landscape which is very Transitional in style. The depiction of a human figure, coupled with the deterioration of the outside decoration (roundels with a dot in the centre), place some of these pieces in the later years of Kraak production (1635-45). (Rinaldi 1989, pp.127-129)

 

When the Dutch captured Formosa in 1624, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) provided the merchants who kept in direct contact with potters in Jingdezhen with wooden models of silver objects that they wanted to be executed in Porcelain. Furthermore, the VOC specified which sort of decoration they wanted these products to have. People were primarily keen on decoration containing Chinese figures. Such subjects, however, very seldom appear on Kraak porcelain.(Campen & Eliëns 2014, pp.55-56)

 

A hole has been drilled in the very short footring in order to fit a wire through it - the traditional Dutch way to hang dishes on walls as display pieces. (Rinaldi 1989, p.137)

 

Condition: Firing flaws to the base and centre (one with four short connecting firing tension glaze hairlines only visible in the centre not on the base). A few very tiny fleabites and two very shallow glaze rough spots to the rim.

 

References:

Rinaldi 1989, pp.127-129, p.137 & Pl. 137

Campen & Eliëns 2014, pp.55-56

 

Price: € 799 - $ 849 - £ 677

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

 

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2010611
2010611

Kraak Porcelain wares 1570-1645 - Klapmutsen - Page 1

 

Object 2010611

 

Klapmuts

 

China

 

1605-1650

 

Height 44 mm (1.73 inch), diameter of rim 140 mm (5.51 inch), diameter of footring 70 mm (2.76 inch), weight 145 grams (5.43 ounce (oz.))

 

Klapmuts or bowl on footring, flat rim with a scalloped edge. Some kiln sand adhering to the footring. Decorated in underglaze blue with a bird perched on a rock in a marshy landscape with flowering plants. On the sides two ogival-shaped panels filled with peach and with two ogival-shaped panels filled with auspicious symbols. On the rim four large taotie monster masks, the narrow sections extend, without interruption, from rim to centre medallion are filled with hanging ribbons. On the exterior wall four oval shaped medallions with four stylized flaming pearls, separated by narrower panels with lingzhi. On the exterior rim two elongated flowering stems. The footring has been pierced.

 

According to Rinaldi this klapmuts can be classified as a group V klapmutsIn these klapmutsen the rim is divided into four large and four narrow panels in the most typical kraak style The four large and slightly triangular panels are decorated with a taotie monster mask, while the narrow sections extend, without interruption, from rim to centre medallion and are covered with a continuous design, usually a bow hanging from a ruyi head or a more elaborate motif. This group acquired its definitive stylistic shape around the fist years of the seventh century and continued to be produced in massive  for the rest of the first half of the century. They are most common of all klapmutsen and were produced in almost all sizes. The mask is often referred to as taotie, on of the oldest symbols used in Chinese decoration. It was represented as early as the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100) BC on bronze and later on jade. There are many variations of the taotie mask, whose purpose was to ward off evil spirits. It is interesting to note that though referred to as a taotie, the representation on the klapmuts is, in fact, most unlike the traditional Chinese monster mask. Instead it has a definite resemblance to a gala, the mythological Indian glutton who was punished by having to eat his own body until only the mouth and upper part of the head and two tiny hands remain. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.129-133)

 

The ogival-shaped panels on this particular klapmuts are a very rare feature, the most common shape being the four-lobbed oblong in later pieces they become plain ovals. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.130-131)

 

A hole has been drilled in the very short footring in order to fit a wire through it - the traditional Dutch way to hang dishes on walls as display pieces. (Rinaldi 1989, p.137)

 

Condition: A hairline and chip to the rim and three firing flaws to the bottom.

 

References: 

Rinaldi 1989, pp.129-133, p.137 & Pl. 141

 

Price: € 549 - $ 583 - £ 465

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

 

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2010626
2010626

Kraak Porcelain wares 1570-1645 - Klapmutsen - Page 1

 

Object 2010626

 

Klapmuts

 

China

 

1605-1650 

 

Height 45 mm (1.77 inch), diameter of rim 100 mm (3.94 inch), diameter of footring 43 mm (1.69 inch), weight 61 grams (2.15 ounce (oz.))

 

Klapmuts or bowl on footring, flat slightly upturned rim with a scalloped edge. Decorated in underglaze blue with a riverscape with a pagoda on a piece of land, rocks and mountains. The sides with four oblong panels two filled with peach the other two with flowering peony. On the rim four large taotie monster masks, the narrow sections extend, without interruption, from rim to centre medallion are filled with hanging ribbons. On the exterior wall four oval shaped medallions with four stylized flaming pearls, separated by narrower panels with lingzhi. On the exterior rim two elongated flowering stems.

 

According to Rinaldi this klapmuts can be classified as a group V klapmutsIn these klapmutsen the rim is divided into four large and four narrow panels in the most typical kraak style The four large and slightly triangular panels are decorated with a monster mask, while the narrow sections extend, without interruption, from rim to centre medallion and are covered with a continuous design, usually a bow hanging from a ruyi head or a more elaborate motif. This group acquired its definitive stylistic shape around the fist years of the seventh century and continued to be produced in massive  for the rest of the first half of the century. They are most common of all klapmutsen and were produced in almost all sizes. The mask is often referred to as taotie, on of the oldest symbols used in Chinese decoration. It was represented as early as the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100) BC on bronze and later on jade. There are many variations of the taotie mask, whose purpose was to ward off evil spirits. It is interesting to note that though referred to as a taotie, the representation on the klapmuts is, in fact, most unlike the traditional Chinese monster mask. Instead it has a definite resemblance to a gala, the mythological Indian glutton who was punished by having to eat his own body until only the mouth and upper part of the head and two tiny hands remain. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.129-133)

 

Condition: A few very tiny glaze fleabites to the rim.

 

Reference: 

Rinaldi 1989, Pl. 139

 

Price: € 499 - $ 530 - £ 422

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

 

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201076
201076

Kraak Porcelain wares 1570-1645 - Klapmutsen - Page 1

 

Object 201076

 

Klapmuts

 

China

 

1605-1650

 

Height 45 mm (1.77 inch), diameter of rim 140 mm (5.51 inch), diameter of footring 70 mm (2.76 inch), weight 138 grams (4.87 ounce (oz.))

 

Klapmuts or bowl on footring, flat rim with a scalloped edge. Some kiln sand adhering to the footring. Decorated in underglaze blue with an artemisia leaf with auspicious symbols. On the sides four oblong medallions with flowers and auspicious symbols. On the rim four large taotie monster masks, the narrow sections extend, without interruption, from rim to centre medallion are filled with hanging ribbons.

On the exterior wall four oval shaped medallions with four stylized flaming pearls, separated by narrower panels with lingzhi. On the exterior rim three elongated flowering stems.

 

According to Rinaldi this klapmuts can be classified as a group V klapmutsIn these klapmutsen the rim is divided into four large and four narrow panels in the most typical kraak style The four large and slightly triangular panels are decorated with a monster mask, while the narrow sections extend, without interruption, from rim to centre medallion and are covered with a continuous design, usually a bow hanging from a ruyi head or a more elaborate motif. This group acquired its definitive stylistic shape around the fist years of the seventh century and continued to be produced in massive  for the rest of the first half of the century. They are most common of all klapmutsen and were produced in almost all sizes. The mask is often referred to as taotie, on of the oldest symbols used in Chinese decoration. It was represented as early as the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100) BC on bronze and later on jade. There are many variations of the taotie mask, whose purpose was to ward off evil spirits. It is interesting to note that though referred to as a taotie, the representation on the klapmuts is, in fact, most unlike the traditional Chinese monster mask. Instead it has a definite resemblance to a gala, the mythological Indian glutton who was punished by having to eat his own body until only the mouth and upper part of the head and two tiny hands remain. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.129-133)

 

Condition: Perfect, a firing flaw to the base.

 

Reference: 

Rinaldi 1989, pp.129-133 & Pl. 141

 

Price: € 699 - $ 743 - £ 592

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

 

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