There are two versions of this biblical scene on Chinese export porcelain, one in Blue and White is normally dated slightly earlier than the Rouge de Fer version. I tend to think they are the same date date, made during the Yongzheng period 1723 -1735. The Blue and White porcelain version, often of very large sized dishes, is more complicated in design than the other version and appears to be influenced by Delftware. There are diaper borders and luscious looking fruit within the border. The Rouge de Fer pattern has a border in the Baroque style with wonderful chubby cherubs holding ribbons attached to the cartouche at the bottom and to a basket of flowers at the top.
The central scene of both the Blue and White as well as the Rouge de Fer examples depicts the following subject :
Matthew 3:16 is the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. Jesus has just been baptised by John the Baptist and in this verse the Holy Spirit comes to him like a dove.
In the King James Bible the text reads:
- And Jesus, when he was baptised, went
- up straightway out of the water: and,
- lo, the heavens were opened unto him,
- and he saw the Spirit of God descending
- like a dove, and lighting upon him.