Klapmuts (Bowl). Provenance: China. Dating: Wanli period (1573-1620). Klapmuts (Bowl) on a footring with a glazed base a flattened rim and foliated edge, decorated in underglaze blue.
According to M. Rinaldi in her book; Kraak porcelain. A moment in history of trade, London 1989, p.129, this Klapmuts can be classified as a group V klapmuts. In 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. (source: M. Rinaldi, Kraak porcelain. A moment in history of trade, London 1989). On the rim of this particular klapmuts four large and slightly triangular panels are decorated with a monster mask, while the narrow sections extend, without interruption, from rim to centre medallion are filled with hanging tassels. On the cavetto two ogival panels with peach alternate with two panels containing auspicious symbols. The ogival shaped panels on this particular Klapmuts are a very rare feature, the most common shape being the four-lobbed oblong. In the centre medallion a decoration of a bird perched on a rock in a marsh landscape with flowering plants, The panels on the exterior wall are decorated with pearls and dots while the lobbed narrower panels have stylized lingzhi. On the exterior rim three elongated flowering stems. Dimensions: Height: 44 mm (1.73 inch), Diameter: 140 mm (5.51 inch),Diameter of footring: 70 mm (2.76 inch). Condition: A hairline and chip to the rim and three firing flaws to the bottom, the footring has been pierced. Reference; M. Rinaldi, Kraak porcelain. A moment in history of trade, London 1989, p.29, Classification of Klapmutsen, Group V.