Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Blue and White Kangxi Period 1662-1722 - Other wares - Page 1


Object 2011331


Spice dish






Height 27 mm (1.06 inch), diameter width 117 mm (4.61 inch), diameter length 137 mm (5.39 inch), weight 154 grams (5.43 ounce (oz.))


A single spice dish of tapered lotus leaf-shape. Decorated in underglaze blue with a ´Long Eliza´ figure with three little boys in a fenced garden landscape. On the interior walls four sprays of foliated scrolls. The reverser is undecorated.


This spice dish was once part of a Chine de commande spices set, comprising of an eight pointed star-shaped central dish surrounded by eight tapered lotus leaf-shaped radial form dishes.


The philosopher (Mengzi (also: Mencius, 370-290BC) is considered the second-greatest sage of China after Confucius. There is a saying in China, mengu sanqian (Mengzi's mother moved three time), meaning that a family simply has to move house if the surroundings of the home harm the development of a child's character, Legend has it that after the father's death. mendzi's family moved near to the graveyard in order to be close to the father's grave. Soon Mengzi and the children in the neighbourhood started to imitate mourners. The mother did not think this a suitable atmosphere for a Confucian education and moved to the vicinity of a marketplace, where Mengzi imitated the shouts of the stallholders. At long last the mother moved to live in the vicinity of a school, where Mengzi tried to be like the teachers and eventually became a scholar himself. The number 'Three' in the saying of course does not mean exactly three, but 'many' moves instead. From the various versions of the story, this baluster vase depicts a fight between little Mengzi and a boy next door as the reason for moving. Hence the scene on the baluster vase exemplifies motherly care. (Suebsman 2019, p.38)


Slender Chinese women in a garden may reflect a literary source, or may merely be depictions of beautiful ladies, but in combination with a dancing boy, his arm in the long sleeves of his garment, this motif probably comes from a deeper, older cultural layer. As recent research has shown, the dancing boy is connected to New Year's festivities and exorcism practises. In this context, the woman may be a personification of Xiwangmu, The Queen Mother of the West and a symbol of immortality. In the Netherlands, the lady and the boy were known by their Dutch names Lange Lijs and Zotje, names that were taken over in English as 'Long Eliza' and 'the Fool'. They were the epitome of Chinese exoticism for the Western beholder and served as a model for numerous imitations in chinoiserie settings. (Jörg 2011/2, p. 37)


In the Age Looxma Ypeij (1833-1892) collection, Princessehof Leeuwarden nationaal keramiekmuseum, one of the notable Chine de Commande objects is a spices set comprising of an eight pointed star-shaped central dish surrounded by eight tapered lotus leaf-shaped radial form dishes. At first sight one would identify this set as Dutch (Delft), infact the set is Chinese. Clearly this set is a Chinese copy of a Dutch (Delft) original. These Dutch Delftse specerijensets (Delft spices sets) were part of large dinner services of which 17th century examples are known. Around 1685 an identically shaped set with an eight pointed star-shaped central dish surrounded by eight smaller dishes was made in Delft by De Witte Starre for Wenzel Ferdinand Prins Lobkowitcz van Bilina (1656-1697). This Dutch Delft spices set is completely identical to the extremely rare and complete Chinese set in the Looxma collection. (Pohle 2006, pp.6-13


For an identically decorated complete spice dishes set, please see:

For an identically decorated dish, please see:

Condition: Two tiny shallow glaze rough spots to the rim and some unglazed spots to the exterior wall.



Jörg & Van Campen 1997, cat. 91 & 116

Pohle 2006, cat. 5

Jörg 2011/2, p. 37

Suebsman 2019, cat. 8


Price: reduced from € 499 - $ 560 - £ 435 now with 50% discount to € 249 - $ 281 - £ 223 

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


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