A Ming Blue and White Porcelain Kraakware Klapmuts, Late Wanli or Tianqi c.1600-1620

A Ming Blue and White Porcelain Kraakware Klapmuts, Late Wanli or Tianqi c.1600-1620. The Typical Kraak Decoration of Panels and Taotie Masks with a Central Design of a Landscape with a Bird on a Rock.

In excellent condition. There are three minute frits to the rim c.1 x 1 mm.
Diameter : 14.5 cm (5 3/4 inches)
Stock number
For a Ming Blue and White Porcelain Klapmuts from the wreck of the Witte Leeuw dated to c.1610-1612 see : Kraak Porcelain, a Moment in the History of Trade (Maura Rinaldi, Bamboo Publishing Ltd, 1989) page 132, plate 145. S.Marchant & Son An Irish Private Collection of Chinese and Japanese Ceramics.



Klapmuts / Klapmutsen :
Klapmutsen bowls with high or low sides were a favourite of the Dutch during the first half of the seventeenth century. A shallow Kraak porcelain Klapmutsen was ideal for stews and soups, a western pewter spoon could rest on the edge without falling in. V.O.C. records show that Klapmutsen were ordered in four different sizes.

Taotie Masks :
The masks on the rim are referred to as `Taotie` however Rinaldi points out that these are ..."most unlike the traditional Chinese monster mask. Indeed it has a definite resemblance to a gala, the mythological Indian glutton who was punished by having to eat his own body until only the mouth and upper part of the head and two tiny hands remained".

Kraakware / Kraak Porcelain :
Kraak Porcelain is a Type of Chinese Export Porcelain Produced from the Wanli period (1573-1620) until the end of the Ming Dynasty in the 1640`s. Kraak ware or Kraak porcelain was the first Chinese Export Ware to arrive in Europe in large quantities. Its name does not, as had been previously thought derived from the name of Portuguese trading ships, it is possible its name derived from Irish ships called Curachs. These trading ships worked between Ireland and England, they were know to the Dutch traders who used a similar word, craquen, to describe Portuguese trading ships. However in the 16th and early 17th centuries the word Kraak was not used in the V.O.C. record or inventories to describe porcelain. The first known time Kraak was first used as a term to describe a type of late Ming blue and white porcelain was in 1673. This was over 100 years after what we now know as Kraak porcelain was first produced, however there is some evidence that it was a term that had been in use for some time. Blue and white porcelain was exported to Europe in large quantities from the mid 16th century. It was highly prized and the Portuguese fort hard against the Dutch to keep control of this lucrative trade, but in 1602 the Dutch sold the cargo they captured from the Portuguese Carrack `San Tiago` and two years later they sold the cargo of the `Santa Catarina`. These ships caused a sensation, it was the first time such large amounts of Chinese blue and white porcelain had been available in Northern Europe, many of the pieces were `gifts` rather than to be sold on the open market . All Kraak porcelain was made at the main ceramic centre in China, Jingdezhen. It does vary in style and quality to quite a large extent, and some scholars include pieces as kraakware that others do not, so a definitive description is, I feel, rather difficult. The main group of kraak porcelain is less controversial. Normally thinly potted, often moulded, it`s designs are divided into decorative panels, with reserves that might include flowers and animals, taotie masks and stylised tulips. The bases often show `Chatter Marks`. These are ridges, that radiate from the centre of the base to the foot rim, they are caused by the potters finishing tool catching on the leather hard clay prior to glazing. When one looks at the construction, painting techniques and glazing of kraak porcelain it appears similar in many ways to some of the late Ming porcelain made for the Japanese market. I think it is quite possible that they were both made within the same kilns at Jingdezhen. Kraak porcelain also includes a few rare pieces that have the addition of underglaze copper red and there are a very few know examples of polychrome kraakware. Kraak porcelain went out of fashion at the end of the Ming Dynasty but was later revived during the reign of Kangxi (1662-1722). Swatow porcelain (c.1580-1640) was made in the kraak style but this is thicker and much cruder, the bases often show grit adhering.