An 18th Century Blue and White Chinese Export Porcelain Merian Salt

Qianlong c.1740 - 1750

A Blue and White Chinese Export Porcelain Botanical `Merian` Salt c.1740-1750. The center of the Qianlong export porcelain salt is painted with a butterfly or moth hovering over two large caterpillars on a spray of iris and clematis. The cavetto and border with intricate strapwork designs. Porcelain of this type can be found with Famille Rose decoration, blue and white decoration as well has blue and white with gilding. The glaze has a blue-white hue.


Two restored chips to the rim.
Stock number
For a blue and white `Merian` plate (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia) next to a Famille Rose example (Hodroff Collection) see : The Magazine Antiques` in New York (Brant Publishers, August 2000). A polychrome `Merian` plate (with a crack) see : `Important Chinese Export Porcelain and Chinese Works of Art From The Collection of The Late Mildred R. and Rafi Y. Mottahedeh ( Sotheby`s, New York, 19th, lot 228; $5,700 October 2000). For another Famille Rose `Merian` plate see our `Sold Items` number 17227. For a Blue and White porcelain Merian plate see our 'Sold Items' 23502.



Maria Sybille Merian (1647 - 1717) :
This design is based upon elements taken from four plates in part three of Merian`s Caterpillar Book, Published in 1717, but is not by Merian herself (it is not from her `sketchbook` as is often claimed ). The German born Dutch Botanist Maria Sybille Merian (1647 - 1717), who in 1699 travelled to Surinam, where she collected specimens and made drawings, these were published in 1705 as `Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium`. Merian was the first person to make study and make scientific drawings of moths. Although the design appears close to some of Merian`s drawings and prints no exact match has been found. Another contender for this distinctive design is the Dutch artist Cornelis Pronk but it not among the known designs commissioned by the V.O.C. (The Dutch East India Company). This `Merian` design occurs in Famille Rose as well as blue and white, clearly there were several services made over a number of years. I am greatly indebted to Charlotte Jacob-Hanson for her corrections of this text based upon her research : See `The Magazine Antiques` in New York (Brant Publishers, August 2000).

Chinese Export Porcelain botanical `Merian` porcelain plate, early Qianlong c.1740-1750.

Robert McPherson Antiques - Sold Archive

Chinese Export Porcelain Botanical `Merian` Plate c.1740-1750.