Another Ming Charger

Started by smak, Dec 15, 2022, 09:04:01

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Hi all,

I always find it hard to distinguish if this is Chinese or Japanese.

Need your expertise! When as this made?


Here is my take ... I will analyze what I considered.
1. Looking at the decoration the first impression  was that it is either a later item or not Chinese. That is mainly due to the type of crackling, but also because of the smooth look of the glaze. This would be Zhangzhou ware and the age of the glaze/blue pigment is not as clear as they usually are.
2. However, the bottom or rather its kiln grit indeed looks like Zhangzhou ware. (Not sure if Japanese kilns would have faked it to this degree. )
3. The stress lines of the crackling visible underneath the rim show that the throwing wheel turned in clockwise direction, which was the standard rotational direction for Chinese kilns (there were exceptions), while Japanese kilns are said to have been rotating in the opposite direction (here too there may have been exceptions).

The bottom is already all glazed, but has kiln grit. Could be the specialty of one of the two or three major kilns which made Zhangzhou wares. Zhangzhou kilns made also some types of the Kraak wares that look somewhat different from those widely known, and based on 2 and 3, above, this one looks like one of those.


It can't be Japanese because the white ground is to white 17th and 18th century, the white ground should be darker and for Ming it seems to me that there is no depth to the cobalt blue and the double blue circle does not flow like what you see normally, Im just pointing these things out.


Hi Stan. Basically you are right, however may I point out that this is different from Jingdezhen items. I have a plate here also made thereabouts and it has almost no gloss. The glaze looks as if the vitreous layer is absent or very dull, usually. Again, this is valid only for the Zhangzhou wares I have seen. (Zhangzhou wares are the so-called Swatow wares, made near the coast in Fujian province at the end of the Ming dynasty.)
These plates were exported by the Dutch but the red-green wares from the same area went mainly to Japan and Indonesia, as far as I know. I would not have detailed the features noted below if I would think this is a clear-cut case. With many Kraak wares from Zhangzhou it is very obvious when they are genuinely old.


Thanks Peter, that is good information on Zhengzhou ware.


Thank you both! If prices are right, I might consider purchasing this Ming Zhangzhou charger!

I always thought its possible that its Japanese Kraak wares!


Adding two remarks.
Judging by some Japanese Kraak bowls the Japanese ones usually look slightly different in color and/or decoration, and the bottom.

Just had a look at Rinaldi's book on Kraak wares and she lists one for Zhangzhou that has the same decoration and bottom (!!!), but I would like to emphasize that the colors on this one are a bit lighter than the usual Chinese Kraak wares; its filling color looks as if it was more diluted. That one in the book also looked more dirty but had crackling too. I still believe that it is Zhangzhou ware.

Kraak wares made in other countries do have a clean bottom, kiln grit is a common feature seen mostly in some older Kraak wares made in Zhangzhou as well as other wares from that place.