From our Chinese Blue and White Collection, a very finely painted "Tea Production Plate," early Qianlong Period circa 1740, depicting one of the stages in the cultivation of tea. Derived from an armorial service pattern originally made for an aristocratic Dutch family named Snoek sometime between 1736 and 1738, this plate with its rare "shell and cornucopia border," later became part of a series depicting the 24 stages in the cultivation and marketing of tea. There are 24 different scenes; each scene is actually numbered on the back 1- 24. This one is literally called "pattern 3" and is so numbered on the back. Various other surviving examples from the service are known: One is in the Peabody Museum in Salem Massachusetts (pattern 12), and another in the Metropolitan Museum in New York (pattern 13). In The Choice of the Private Trader, item # 69 depicts plate # 15 which shows the navigation of tea bales down the river to Canton. Our last 2 photos show this dish for reference and comparison.
Size and Condition: Diameter is slightly larger than 11 inches. This particular dish has 2 short sealed hairlines and 2 filled chips, though the dish still rings very well when tapped.