Blue and White Kangxi Period 1662-1722
Around 1680, Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722) established his authority over all parts of China after a long period of civil strife. The porcelain factories in Jingdezhen that were demolished in 1675 resumed production and within a few years exports were booming. Chinese junks sailed to Batavia, bringing their porcelain to the market. From there, it was shipped to the Netherlands in VOC (Dutch East India Company, 1602–1799) vessels. However, private individuals bypassed the Company and also imported huge quantities of porcelain to Holland. In Europe, a change in dining habits and the introduction of tea and coffee created new demands. New varieties of Chinese export porcelain were produced, including all kinds of Western shapes. Porcelain, sometimes in miniature, was frequently used to decorate house interiors in Europe.
Much porcelain of this period is decorated in a clear, transparent underglaze blue. Popular decorations included the Buddhist lotus motif, a pheasant with long tail feathers on a rock amidst flowers, and the ‘Long Eliza’ with the 'Dancing Fool', the Dutch name for a Chinese lady and a small boy depicted in a garden.
Kangxi porcelain is very well made, with a thin body, a balanced shape and a smooth glaze without impurities. Cobalt blue oxide was subtly applied in varying degrees of saturation, suggesting depth and volume. The colour ranges from a silvery to a deep dark blue; in the best pieces the details and the craftsmanship are amazing. However, due to stricter controls by officials, the freedom and easy way of painting that was so characteristic of the preceding Transitional period now gave way to a more formal style with an emphasis on symmetry and centralism.
Blue and White Kangxi Period 1662-1722 - Dishes - Page 1
Height 27 mm (1.06 inch), diameter of rim 245 mm (9.65 inch), diameter of footring 134 mm (5.28 inch), weight 415 grams (14.64 ounce (oz.))
Dish on footring, shallow sides, wide flat rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with a central flower head surrounded by a scroll of issuing lotus flowers in a double concentric band surrounded by four large flower heads on a underglaze blue scale pattern ground. On the rim single, repetitive flower stems. The reverse with two flower sprays. Marked on the base with the symbol mark: Lozenge, one of the Eight Precious Symbols. Symbol of victory and success, in a double circle, underglaze blue.
In Dutch East India Company (VOC) documents this type of dish is called a 'double dinner plate', which is larger than a normal plate of c.230 mm. It's rather special in that the flat shape clearly reflects the model that was used by the Chinese potter, namely a Dutch pewter plate. This type of plate was produced for only a short period, c.1695-1710; it was succeeded by slightly deeper plates. The decoration on the rim also shows Western influence in the stiff repetition of different flowers, probably based on European printed designs.
For dishes with identically decorated rims, please see:
- "Een verzameling blauw-en-wit Chinees porselein te Brummen", ANTIEK, IV-3, October 1969, p.127, cat. 15.
- European Noble and Private Collections. Including the G.A.H. Buisman Jzn. Chinese Armorial Porcelain Collection, auction catalogue Christie’s Amsterdam, 14-16 February 2006, p.419, lot 1060.
- 300 Treasures, (F. Suchomel, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, Prague, 2015), p.237, cat. 116.
For an identically shaped dish, please see;
- Chinese Ceramics in the Collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The Ming and Qing Dynasties, (C.J.A. Jörg in collaboration with J. van Campen, Philip Wilson Publishers Limited, London, 1997), p.255, cat. 291.
Condition: A few very tiny fleabites to the rim and a X-shaped hairline to the base.