Chinese Ming Dynasty Porcelain Dish - Deer Pattern - Wanli Shipwreck
This porcelain dish, was made at the Jingdezhen kilns, Jiangxi province in the north-east of China during the last years of the Wanli reign (1573 - 1620) or possibly the Taichang reign (1620) or the Tianqi reign (1621 - 1627); it was recovered from the "Wanli shipwreck" that has been dated to c. 1625. The underglaze blue pattern features two deer standing in a landscape, one with head raised, the other with head lowered but looking back at the other deer! They are surrounded by panels containing the peach (or sunflower) pattern. The reverse is much more simply decorated with blue lines and dots. As is often seen with such ware, in places are pieces of kiln grit embedded within the glaze, and there is insignificant "fritting" to the glaze at the rim edge.
The deer is a symbol of long life as it is said to be the only animal able to find the sacred fungus of immortality; the peach represents marriage, immortality and spring time.
Diameter 21 cm (8.25 inches). This dish is in very good condition, with a good ring when tapped and no repair or restoration.
For information: the "Wanli Shipwreck" is believed to have been a small Portuguese merchantman; it sank off the east coast of West Malaysia around 1625. Its recovered cargo numbered far fewer pieces than those of some more well-known cargos of Chinese porcelain. The site was excavated in 2004 and much of the excavated cargo was sold by the prestigious "China Guardian" auction house in Beijing in late 2005 with many pieces realising very high prices.
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