A Ming Kraakware Porcelain Dish, Wanli Period 1573 – 1620

A Ming porcelain dish, Wanli period c.1600. The Kraakware dish is painted to the center with two deer in a landscape with a scholars rock, pine and Lingzhi fungus.


Light fritting, minute glaze chips.
Diameter : 20 cm (7 3/4 inches)
Christie's, label to the base. From a Private English Collection of 17th and 18th Century Chinese and Japanese Porcelain.
Stock number



Kraakware :
All Kraak porcelain was made at the main ceramic center 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 center 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.

Ruyi-Head and Lingzhi Fungus Designs:
The Ruyi scepter has been an important symbol in China since at least Western Han times, its origins are still unclear, it might be Chinese but it could equally well be a Buddhist import. The Taoists believe the Ruyi evolved from the Lingzhi fungus, their symbol of immortality. Indeed the Ruyi-Head, that is the top of the scepter which curves back over the main body is often modelled as a Lingzhi fungus cloud form. Lingzhi is the immorality fungus and Ruyi means "may you have".