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  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)
    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    1522-1566 (made)
    ca. 1583 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain decorated with underglaze blue, enamel and gilding; silver-gilt mounts

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Chinese porcelains were among the most highly prized Asian goods to reach Renaissance Europe. With its red and gold decoration, this cup is more elaborate than most of the Chinese porcelains that reached Europe in the 16th century. It was acquired in Ottoman Turkey in 1583 by Count Eberhart von Mandesheidt of Blankenheim, Germany.

Physical description

Chinese porcelain cup painted in underglaze blue on the interior, the exterior covered in red enamel, on which a floral pattern in gilding is applied, with German silver-gilt mounts

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)
Germany (made)


1522-1566 (made)
ca. 1583 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain decorated with underglaze blue, enamel and gilding; silver-gilt mounts


Height: 16.7 cm, Diameter: 11.7 cm

Object history note

The cup, with its integral silver-gilt mounts, was sold by Sothebys London on 5th February 1970, lot 170. It appears in the auction catalogue as 'the property of Countess Benckendorff'. The only other object from this provenance is lot 169, also a Chinese porcelain cup mounted in German silver-gilt. The catalogue entries are as follows:
A rare German silver-gilt cup, the bowl of Chinese Chia Ching export porcelain, the exterior painted with four iron-red medallions gilt in Kinrande style between pendant ornaments in turquoise blue, green and red, (cracked), the vase stem cast and chased with lion masks and festoons, the foot inscribed in four concentric circles, Dese Schal so vur Gifet guit hat Graf Eberhart von Mandersceidt Anno 1583 aus Turckeien bracht und hat es Graf Herman seinem Broder folgentz ime zun Eheren also lasen fasen im Haus Blankenheim zu verbliben. (Count Eberhart von Manderscheidt brought this cup as a suitable gift from Turkey in the year 1583 and subsequently had it mounted in honour of his Brother, Count Herman, to remain permanently in the Blankenheim line). 6-3/4in.(17.2cm.) high and 4-3/4in.(12cm.) diam., dated 1583
From the collection of Count Hermann von Manderscheidt
This cup appears to be the earliest exactly datable example of Chinese export ware for Turkey in German silver mounts. Its history can be traced back directly through the families of the Counts of Benckendorff and Manderscheidt. A Chinese Chia Ching Kinrande bowl painted with gold scrolls on an orange red ground with English silver-gilt mounts in the collection of Judge Untermyer is of very similar proportions and date to this lot.
Literature: Y. Hackenbrock, 'Chinese Porcelain in European Silver Mounts', Connoisseur, June 1955, p.22/9.
Count Hermann and Count Eberhardt von Manderscheidt Blankenheim were respectively the eldest and the sixth child of Count Arnold I von Manderscheidt-Blankenheim. Count Eberhardt (1542-1608 or 1610) held various ecclesiastical offices in the Archdioceses of Cologne, Trier and Liege. In 1582 he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and it was doubtless on this occasion that he acquired the two Chinese bowls in Turkey.
Count Hermann (1535-1604), after first entering the church, went into the diplomatic service and represented the Emperor Rudolf II on various occasions, including the Regensburg Reichstag. He was the founder of the famous collection of Antiquities at Burg Blankenheim, a castle in the Eifel district not far from Cologne. The family of Manderscheidt died out at the close of the 18th century, the last female member marrying into the family of the Counts Sternberg. It is thought that the two bowls had passed through marriage at an earlier date from the Manderscheidts to the neighbouring family of Salm. From the Salm family they are believed to have passed once again through marriage to that of the Counts Benckendorff.

A similar silver-gilt cup, the foot and stem of almost matching design but without the commemorative inscription, the bowl of contemporary Chinese Chia Ching Kinrande porcelain, the exterior gilt on an orange red ground with lotus scrolls, the interior with underglaze blue border and centre (cracked), 6-1/2in.(16.5cm.) high, 4-3/5in.(12cm.) diam.
For provenance and history, see the preceding lot

Historical significance: The cataloguer, being a curator working with Chinese objects, is unable to verify the accuracy of the historical details about the German nobilities mentioned in the Sothebys catalogue.

Historical context note

The word 'kinrande', repeatedly used in the Sotheby catalogue entry, is a Japanese word meaning 'gold brocade'. It is a term used by 20th-century art historians to refer to a type of Chinese porcelain made during the 16th century. The distinguishing feature of a kinrande porcelain is an enamelled ground with a gold decorative pattern. The colour of the enamel is usually red, but green and turquoise also exist. The gold is composed of carefully cut foil, bonded to the surface with lacquer adhesive. In the case of a kinrande bowl the interior is usually painted in underglaze cobalt blue. The present cup has a diaper border round the rim and a chrysanthemum in the centre.
To achieve this 'gold brocade' effect the cup would have undergone two firings. First the porcelain with its painted blue decoration would have been fired at a temperature of about 1300 degrees C. Then the red enamel and gilding would be applied to the exterior of the cup and the piece fired a second time, at a much lower temperature (about 800 degrees C). The technique was not a new one, but was labour intensive. The gold foil was not cheap either. For these reasons the cup would have been a luxury item.
Today a high percentage of surviving kinrande porcelains are in Japan, which led some scholars to conclude that kinrande wares were made in China in the 16th century for export to Japan. It has been reported that more than 30 pieces are in the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul. Chinese textual sources regarding the manufacture or clientele of this particular type of porcelain is virtually non-existent. Kinrande porcelains ceased to be made in the 17th century.

Descriptive line

Met, China, vess/cont/holders

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

p. 81
Lu, Zhangshen, chief ed. Passion for Porcelain: masterpieces of ceramics from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Beijing: National Museum of China, 2012.
Sir Harry Garner, 'Chinese Export Art in Scholoss Ambras', The Second Hills Gold Medal Lecture, Oriental Ceramic Society, London, 1975


Porcelain; Drinking


East Asia Collection

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