Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Kraak Porcelain wares 1570-1645 - Dishes - Page 1


Object 2011867








Height 32 mm (1.26 inch), diameter of rim 202 mm (7.95 inch), diameter of footring 107 mm (4.21 inch), weight 337 grams (11.89 ounce (oz.))


Dish on footring, slightly scalloped flat rim. Kiln sand adhering to the base and footring. Decorated in underglaze blue with two spotted deer in a landscape surrounded by foliage, rocks, birds, plants and a tree encircled by a double band. The interior rim is decorated with ducks among water plants. The exterior rim is even more unusual. Under the rim are two groups, each with prunus branches and a bird perched on one of the branches, which combine two well-known underside motifs: the prunus branches, and the bird on bifurcated branches.


According to Rinaldi this dish can be classified as a Border II (c.1565-1600), type b, dish. Border II dishes are usually small, from 14 to 22 cm. This is the only border in which the cavetto and the rim are not decorated as a unit. Another peculiarity of this border is that it does not have moulded designs. The cavetto is white and two interchangeable motifs are commonly found on the flat foliated rim. The centre medallion is frequently decorated with a deer and sometimes with a pagoda motif. The underside is decorated on the wall with a bird on bifurcating branches, while there are delicate prunus sprays under the rim. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.76-80


In these Border II, type b, dishes, the deer are surrounded by foliage, rocks, birds and a peculiar round shape with ragged edges  and a cross section in the centre. In the beginning this may have represented rocks but, through formality and stylization, this motif may have degenerated into a feature with a completely different meaning: the Wheel of Law. it represents Buddha's first sermon in the deer Park at Sarnath. This hypothesis is sustained by the exclusive use of the motif in conjunction with deer decoration on dishes and bowls. The deer is commonly believed to represent the Daoist symbol of long life but this would not have discouraged the open-minded Chinese potter from giving it a dual symbolism. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.79


The central decoration of two deer in a landscape refers to the belief that only deer were capable of finding the divine mushroom of immortality. It fits seamlessly into the popular Chinese iconography of that period, in which a long life is central. (Campen & Eliëns 2014, p.56)  


For identically decorated dishes, please see:

For identically decorated dishes found in a cesspit of in use between 1600 and 1625 of a building on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam, please see:

Condition: A shallow chip and a restored chip with a connected hairline to the rim.



Rinaldi 1989, Pl.53 & 54

Campen & Eliëns 2014, p.53, Fig.1 & p.56 

Krahe 2016, cat. 104


Price: Sold.


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