Blue-and-white porcelain fish dish

From Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, southern China
Yuan dynasty, 14th century AD

Large porcelain dish with fish among waterweeds

Porcelain decorated with underglaze blue (commonly known as blue-and-white porcelain) probably appeared in China in the second quarter of the fourteenth century. While the vast majority of early blue-and-white porcelains were exported, particularly to the Islamic countries of Turkey, Timurid Persia (present-day Iran) and Syria, excavations at Jingdezhen have shown that there was some demand in China itself.

This dish takes its shape from Islamic metalwork. The foliated bracket rim required the use of an inner and outer mould, with the dish pressed in between. The rim is flat and there is a rather deep well, or cavetto.

The complex decoration, with several distinct designs arranged in concentric circles, is characteristic of fourteenth-century blue-and white dishes. This complexity is also evident on vases and jars, with the decoration filling a number of bands. Although the shape is imported, the floral scroll motif and the fish among waterweeds are entirely Chinese in character.

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More information


S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)


Diameter: 46.500 cm
Height: 7.500 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1968.4-22.26


Bequeathed by Mrs Walter Sedgwick


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