Ming Porcelain Dish for the Japanese Market, Tianqi Period 1621 – 1627

A Ming porcelain dish made for the Japanese market, Tianqi period 1621-1627. Decorated with Shen, ‘Clam-Monsters’. The edge with Kraak type panels.


In very good condition, some small glaze chips and typical fritting.
Diameter: 14 cm (5 1/2 inches)
Stock number



Clam Monster /Shen :
shen is a strange mythical beast sometimes referred to as a 'clam-monster' that miraculously transformed shapes. The Chinese Classics use the word shèn to mean 'a large shellfish' that was associated with funerals and 'an aquatic monster' that could change its shape, which was later associated with 'mirages'.

Ko-Sometsuke :
Ko-Sometsuke, meaning `Old Blue and White` is a term used to describe Chinese blue and white porcelain made for Japan. This late Ming porcelain was made from the Wanli period (1573-1620) and ended in the Chongzhen period (1628-1644), the main period of production being the 1620`2 and 1630`s. The porcelain objects produced were made especially for the Japanese market, both the shapes and the designs were tailored to Japanese taste, the production process too allowed for Japanese aesthetics to be included in the finished object. Its seams firing faults were added, repaired tears in the leather-hard body were too frequent to not, in some cases, be deliberate. These imperfections as well as the fritting Mushikui (insect-nibbled) rims and kiln grit on the footrims all added to the Japanese aesthetic. The shapes created were often expressly made for the Japanese tea ceremony meal, the Kaiseki, small dishes for serving food at the tea ceremony are the most commonly encountered form. Designs, presumably taken from Japanese drawings sent to China, are very varied, often using large amount of the white porcelain contrasting well with the asymmetry of the design.