Large Chinese Ming Dynasty Blue & White Porcelain Dish - Phoenix
This blue & white "Swatow" (or "Zhangzhou") porcelain dish was made during the Wanli Reign (1573 - 1620) of the Ming Dynasty. It is coated in a thick glaze and decorated in underglaze blue. The pattern features a standing phoenix surrounded by foliage and blossoms which include the peony and bamboo, the phoenix symbolising peace and prosperity, the peony riches, love, affection and beauty and the bamboo longevity. The underside is decorated with simple blue rings.
Swatow, or Zhangzhou, ceramics were often exported to the South East Asian market. A common feature of such ware is the sand / kiln grit that adheres to the glaze on the underside as they were placed on sand in the kiln prior to firing. On this example part of the base is unglazed and has fired to a deep reddish brown.
This dish was recovered from a shipwreck by Captain Michael Hatcher of "Hatcher Cargo" fame.
This dish is more highly-fired than most Swatow pieces, with a distinct ring when tapped. The glaze has a nice "silky" feel to it. There is a short "split" at the rim, and the dish is a little warped, both obviously caused during manufacture. There is also a small chip to the underside rim edge, the glaze at the edge of the chip clearly showing that this also was caused during manufacture. There are traces of sea-growths still adhering to the surface in places. Overall a very good example with no restoration or repair.
Diameter 27 cm (10.75 inches).
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