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141. Kraak Bowl

China, c. 1635-50
H: 16 cm Ø: 32 cm



Provenance: Private Collection, UK
with Vanderven Oriental Art (1997)

This large and robustly potted bowl, is decorated inside and out in intense underglaze blue with a violet tinge. It is in the typical so-called ‘Kraak’ style, with characteristics of the later Ming Dynasty. The bowl has high straight sides with a lightly foliated rim. It rests on a V–shaped foot rim, with a triple blue line running around the outside, with a rough unglazed edge. The glazed underside is slightly convex, with no further marks or decoration.

The decoration - both inside and out - is divided into six wide and six narrow bordered panels, alternately adorned with stylized flowers and narrative scenes. Each of the larger panels is framed by a straight-edged scroll border with a stylized flower along the top edge. The narrow panels are each filled with upright sprays of tulips or other flowers. The central medallion on the inside of the bowl, is loosely decorated with houses by a waterside, a decorative theme thought to be influenced by European designs entering China at this time.

Such bowls are characteristic of the Kraak wares produced for export in this period. Similar bowls are also known with slightly varying decoration in the central panel, such as of a lady spooling silk or of large figures in a garden. A very similar bowl to this one is in the collection of The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. Nr AK-RAK 1991-21) and Institut Néerlandais - Fondation Custodia, Paris (inv. 6967).

Avitabile 1992
Gunhild Avitabile & Stephan graf von der Schulenbrug, Chinesisches Porzellan, Aus Beständen Des museums Für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt am Main, 1992, p.40 pl. 53

Canepa 2008
Teresa Canepa & van der Pijl-Ketel, Kraak Porcelain: The Rise of Global Trade in the late 16th and early 17th century, Exhibition Catalogue Jorge Welsh, London, 2008, p. 414 nr. 59.

Jörg & van Campen 1997
Christiaan J.A. Jörg & Jan van Campen, Chinese Ceramics in the Collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Amsterdam / London 1997, p.64

Hartog 1990
Stephen Hartog, Pronken met Oosters Porselein, Zwolle, 1990, p. 48 nr. 20-22

Lion-Goldschmidt 1978
D..Lion-Goldschmidt, La Porcelaine Ming, Freiburg, 1978, p.215-216, pl.245 & 245bis

Lunsingh-Scheurleer 1981
D.F Lunsingh Scheurleer, The Frits van der Lugt Collection of Chinese Porcelains, Lochem, 1981, nr. 70 p. 65-66

Rinaldi 1989
Maura Rinaldi, Kraal Porcelain: A Moment in the History of Trade, London 1989, p. 138, 163-64 pl. 203

Sèvres 2004
L'Odyssée de la Porcelain Chinoise, Exhibition Catalogue Musée National de Ceramique Sèvres, 2004, p.109

Wu 2014
Ruonming Wu, The Origins of Kraak Porcelain in the Late Ming Dynasty, Heidelberg, 2014, p. 164, 174


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