- Museum number
Four-sided porcelain bottle with underglaze blue decoration. This square-cross-section bottle has domed shoulders, a narrow cylindrical neck and flat base. Each face is painted in underglaze blue with an armorial device surrounded by scrolling fronds; below the arms are four different flowers issuing from Chinese rocks, and on the shoulder are panels with stylized flowers reserved on a blue diaper ground. The neck has been painted with horizontal lines.
- Production date
- 1590-1610 (circa)
Height: 31.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The bottle is modelled following a European glass shape, known also from European stoneware and faience. Such bottles would have been fitted with a pewter screw top, which in this Chinese version is indicated by painted horizontal lines on the neck. They were used mainly for spirits and were designed to be stored in wooden boxes, for easy transportation, especially on ships. The coat of arms has been identified as that of the Portuguese families Vilas Boas and Farias, or Vaz, with a crest in the form of a bird with wings displayed, and surrounded by scrolling fronds.
Similar bottles are in the Fundacao Medeiros e Almeida, Lisbon, Portugal, in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kassel, Germany and in the Museum De Vaart, Hilversum, Netherlands; another is in a private collection.
An identical bottle was recovered from the Wanli shipwreck circa 1625.
- On display (G33/dc34b/s3)
- 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