Swatow-type Zhangzhou Export Ware porcelain dish. Decorated in red, turquoise, green and black overglaze enamels. Central design of mariner's compass motif, with Island of Bliss landscape above, galleon to the right and fish in aquatic plants and waves to left. Four circular medallions round rim, each enclosing a character , 'yuan lai jin yue' ('Coming from afar, they approached with pleasure'). In between, floral panels flanked by sprays and parrots. Base roughly glazed.
- Made in: Zhangzhou
- (Asia,China,Fujian (province),Zhangzhou)
- Height: 81 millimetres
- Diameter: 369 millimetres
Inscription Positioninside dish
Inscription TransliterationJin yue yuan lai
Inscription TranslationPleased to have arrived whether from far or near
Inscription CommentThe words were quoted from Lunyu (Analects of Confucius), '近者說[悅]，遠者來', and mean 'the near one is joyful, the far one is please to come'.
Published PDF date : Ming Wanli (1573-1620) late 16th centuryRoom 95 label text:
Dish with a map-style design
This heavily potted and crudely painted dish was made for export in the Chinese coastal province of Fujian. Merchants traded them to countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia as well as to Japan and Holland. They are characterised by coarse sandy bases and designs rendered in free and spontaneous brushstrokes. This example is painted with a map-style design showing ships, a compass and sea monsters. The characters in the cavetto are read together 近悅遠來 (jin yue yuan lai 'pleased to have arrived whether from far or near’).
Porcelain with overglaze turquoise, red and black enamels
Zhangzhou (‘Swatow’) ware
Pinghe county, Zhangzhou prefecture, Fujian province, 福建省, 漳州, 平和縣
Ming dynasty, about AD1573–1620
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Object reference number: RRC39684
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