- Museum number
Porcelain night-light with detachable base, in the form of a crouching cat with underglaze blue decoration. This night light is in the form of a crouching cat with its paws tucked underneath it, pricked-up ears, openwork round eyes and clenched openwork jaws. It has a detachable oval base which is hollow and has a round opening with a raised round neck to one side. It is painted in underglaze blue with a mottled 'jukizumi' effect simulating the cat's fur and with lotus reserved in white on a blue ground around the edges of the stand.
- Production date
- 1643 (circa)
Height: 12.50 centimetres
Width: 13.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Interestingly this type of cat is not unique. A vessel in the shape of a cat lying with its paws tucked beneath it, open jaws, pierced eyes and erect ears, but with a tall pipe with a thickened rim rising from the centre of its back, glazed in a 'mottled watermelon shade of green', is in the Ardebil shrine, predating the inventory of 1611. This night light was recovered from the Hatcher wreck, dating to c. 1643 (see BM 1984.0303.11). Four similar cat night lights with detachable bases were sold in the Hatcher wreck sales at Christie's, Amsterdam.
Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994:
This vessel, along with BM 1984.0303.7, 8, 10, 6, 19 and BM 1985.1119.38, belongs to a group of 23,000 underglaze-blue decorated pieces recovered from the wreck of an unidentified Asian ship in the South China Sea (Sheaf and Kilburn, 1988, pp. 12 - 80). Its cargo consisted basically of two different types of ware made at Jingdezhen at the end of the Ming dynasty: very late versions of 'kraak' porcelain, such as the dish in the present group, and examples of 'Transitional' porcelain, such as the jar and mustard pots. The discovery of two covers for oviform jar's inscribed with a cyclical date corresponding to 1643 make a fairly precise dating of the wreck possible. This ship may have been on its way to Indonesia, probably carrying besides porcelain, also spices, silk and other commodities for sale to the Dutch, whose East India Company had offices in Batavia, modern Jakarta, Indonesia.
- 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
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased at Amsterdam, 14 March 1984, lot 280.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Hatcher Wreck