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Dish
0319694
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Dish on foot ring, flat rim with scalloped edge. Made in a mould, with relief pressed into the sides and rim. Decorated in underglaze-blue. In the centre a landscape with clouds and two cranes perched on a rock plateau with bamboo, a pine tree on the right. The sides and rim are divided into wide and narrow panels. In the wide panels, there are alternating butterflies, water birds and flowering lotus plants. In the narrow panels there are strings of jewels. On the outside of the sides there is a similar panel division with a fungus (lingzhi) and insects. The base is marked with an egret. Kraak porcelain was mass-produced in a limited variety of shapes and usually painted in an accomplished but commonplace style with birds, flowering plants and animals in a (water) landscape. The thin body and the panel divisions on the rims and the sides are characteristic of this type. This dish belongs to a special group marked on the base with a crane. These pieces are noted for their quality, finish and decoration. The significance of the mark is unknown: it may indicate a particular workshop or trading house.

History of the Object
Part of the porcelain produced during the reign of Emperor Wanli (1573-1619) was made for export. Besides the Chinese, Arabs, Malays and others, Portuguese traders also shipped this porcelain. They had established a trading post in Asia in the 16th Century and transported the porcelain in 'caraccen', a particular type of ship, called 'kraak' in The Netherlands. In the Eighty-Years War, the Dutch plundered Portuguese carracks and called the porcelain they found aboard 'kraak' porcelain. The Portuguese intended this porcelain primarily for inter-Asian trade. However, when the Dutch started participating in the Asian trade around 1600, they imported large quantities of Chinese porcelain to the Netherlands. This porcelain quickly became fashionable and was used as exotic tableware and for decoration.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Porcelain, under-glaze blue 
Measurements
height 2.4 cm; diameter 21 cm; diameter foot ring 12.3 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century; 1600-1625 
Function
 
Acquisition
Purchased in 1989 by Kunsthandel Blitz, Amsterdam 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
Lit.: C. Jörg, Oriental Porcelain in The Netherlands. Four Museum Collections, Groningen 2003, p. 22, cat. no. 5 Ref.: M. Rinaldi, Kraak Porcelain, London 1989, pp. 195-208 
Owner
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 
Museum
Gemeentemuseum 
Credit line
 

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