- Museum number
Black-ground cup with a European design of black trumpeters. It is painted with two black men in simple tunics and sandals, one with a green garment sounding a trumpet, the other in yellow blowing a horn, both standing on level ground which is indicated in green. The whole design is reserved on a black ground, which is intensified by an overlayer of green enamel. The scene continues on the foot and the rim is painted with golden spearhead borders. The inside of the cup is further painted with a small black orchid.
- Production date
- 1740-1750 (circa)
Height: 4 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994:
In its colour scheme this cup is reminiscent of 'famille noire' porcelains with designs mainly in yellow and green on a black ground, as they were made in the Kangxi period (1662-1722) and extensively copied in the early years of this century. The present piece, however, with its spearhead rim borders, clearly date from the Qianlong period (1736-1795). In this period this colour scheme was not used in China and seems to have been introduced from Europe together with the design itself. The way how the design incorporates the foot of the vessel is also very unusual for Chinese porcelain and may reflect a feature of the model. The decoration is reminiscent of Italian porcelain made at Naples, whose designs were often based on the figurative decoration of classical Greek vases and therefore show - like this cup - individual figures in strong silhouettes rather than picturesque figure scenes. Also in accordance with Greek pottery, the painters at Naples often used a black background for their figures, not, however, in combination with green and yellow.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1994, Taiwan, National Museum of History, Ancient Chinese Trade Ceramics
1995 27 Jan-26 Mar, London, BM, G91, East Meets West: Chinese Trade Ceramics in the British Museum
- Acquisition date
- Registration number