WANLI to CHONGZHEN c.1600 – 1640 Ming Porcelain

A Rare Ming Porcelain Persimmon Glazed Deep Dish, Late Wanli to Chongzhen c.1600-1640, Probably Jingdezhen Kilns or Perhaps from the Kilns in Pinghe or Hua`an Kilns in Heping County, Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province. Painted in White Slip with Flowering Prunus to the Center and the Cavetto Painted with Tree Groups of Bamboo Leaves.


This dish is likely to be a `heirloom` piece, in other words it has been in Japan since it was made. It is very much in the Japanese taste and is accompanied by a late 19th or early 20th century Japanese box. This type of slightly deep dish is thought to have been used as a `bowl`, as it is inscribed in ink as such on the lid of the box. Old paper labels to the sides of the box indicate that it changed hands some time between the Meiji and early Shōwa Period (Meiji Period 1868 1912, Shōwa Period 1926-1989).
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For Swatow and Jingdezhen examples of this type of decoration see : Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum.(Jessica Harrison-Hall, The British Museum Press, 2001. ISBN 0-7141-1488-X) page 346 to 349. For a Ming porcelain vase dated to late 16th century see : Chinese Porcelain in the Collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Ming and Qing Dynasties (Christiaan Jorg, Phillip Wilson, The Rijksmuseum, 1997) page 42, plate 61.



Porcelain produced at the kilns of Pinghe or Hua`an Kilns is often referred to as Swatow ware. During the late Ming dynasty the kilns from this region made blue and white as well as brightly coloured enamelled wares but they were also known for there monochrome porcelain decorated with white slip. They used brown as a ground colour but also blue and even white on white. The present example is rather different to the Ming Swatow ware with white slip that one normally encounters. The brown is speckled and uneven with some of the darker spots showing what looks like a copper green. Other indications that this piece may not be Swatow ware is the fact that the decoration is painted, Swatow wares normally have intricate trailed and dotted decoration. There is grit on the footrim, a typical sign of Swatow wares but there is hardly any grit and the potting is altogether to neat for a piece from the Pinghe or Hua`an Kilns. It is therefore far more likely this Ming porcelain dish came from the kilns at Jingdezhen.