LARGE Chinese Ming Dynasty Enamelled Porcelain Dish (with unusual kintsugi repairs)
This large and very impressive "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 elaborately decorated in overglaze polychrome enamels. The pattern is generally known as the "split pagoda" design due to the central design featuring a pagoda that is spilt in two. The main design is depicted in black and turquoise enamels but there are also rings and seals of Chinese characters in red enamel that are usually accepted as being undecipherable.
A sizeable section of this dish has at some time been broken out and re-stuck and there is a small section from the rim that has been replaced. However, these repairs have been preformed in Japan using the kintsugi technique (gold lacquer). We show close up images of these repairs to show the level of skill and workmanship involved.
Even allowing for the kintsugi repairs, this is certainly a superior example of its type. In the centre of the dish is the split pagoda design together with mountains and trees. Look closely to see the various smaller buildings and people. Around the cavetto are four panels also decorated in fine detail showing a variety of buildings and people doing various things in landscape settings; riding a horse, sitting, walking with an umbrella, punting a boat. Compared to most other known examples the detail of the decoration is exceptional, as is the condition of the overglaze enamel, which is usually very thin and worn.
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 yellowish brown.
This is a large dish with a diameter of 40 cm (15.75 inches). In addition to the kintsugi repairs, there is a hairline to the rim that has been stabilised, another short hairline and a very small surface chip to the glaze at the rim edge. However, this dish is totally stable and, indeed, has a deep sonorous ring when tapped.
For information: in the book "Ming Ceramics in the British Museum" on page 338 a slightly smaller version is shown (although their example may be in better condition the detail of the design is certainly not as good as on our example). Likewise, two inferior examples, one of which is clearly repaired, are illustrated in the Het Princessehof Museum book "Swatow" by Barbara Harrisson.
This dish is available for inspection at our gallery, here in Brighton.
*** TO ORDER THIS ITEM PLEASE EMAIL US QUOTING OUR STOCK NUMBER (see above) - WE SHALL THEN EMAIL YOU BACK WITH POSTAGE COSTS AND PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS ***
*** FOR FULL DETAILS OF OUR GUARANTEE AND PAYMENT OPTIONS, PLEASE CLICK ON "Buying from us - All you need to know" ON OUR HOME PAGE ***