VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Dish
GRV 1929-36
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

A dish with a tapering foot ring and a wide flat rim. The centre is decorated in underglaze blue with the character Shou in the landscape. Within the outlines of the character, there are two cranes and three deer. On the undecorated sides, on the rim of the eight round panels, each has a stylized flower surrounded by four different kinds of trellis work, each appearing twice. The reverse of the rim has six small peach branches; two elongated peach branches around the outsides. It has kiln-sand adhering to the base. This powerfully-painted dish with a Daoist motif is characteristic of the so-called Swatow ware from Fujian Province in south China. Characteristic of pieces produced in these private kilns – those in Zhangzhou among the most important – are the thick stoneware-like body, the adhering kiln-sand and the flowing, imaginative decoration. The character Shou represents long life; the two cranes, the mountains and the three deer emphasize this symbolism. The thick glaze is unevenly distributed over the dish, revealing the brown-burned body in places.

History of the Object
Much Swatow was exported to Indonesia, where it was highly valued and formed part of the local culture. Dishes were used to serve food at communal meals as well as funerary gifts. The Princessehof collection of Swatow dishes is the largest and most important in the world. An important part of it was acquired by the engineer Reinier Dirk Verbeek (1841-1926) on the west coast of Sumatra. Shards of this type of dish, decorated with a large character have been excavated at the ceramic kilns in Zhangzhou in Fujian Province.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Porcelain, underglaze blue 
Measurements
height 9 cm, diameter 39.7 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China; Fujian 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century; 1600-1640; Ming Dynasty 
Function
Dishes were used to serve food at communal meals as well as funerary gifts. 
Acquisition
Gift from the private collector Reinier Verbeek, 1929. In this year he donated his entire collection of Swatow plates to the museum. 
Copyright
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Acknowledgements
B. Harrisson, "Swatow in the Princessehof", Leeuwarden 1979, cat.no. 94; C.J.A. Jörg (ed.), “Oosters Porselein in Nederland: vier museumcollecties”, Groningen 2003, cat.no. 37. 
Owner
Gemeente Leeuwarden, Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Museum
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden 
Credit line
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands 

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