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Kendi

  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    1590-1615 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain, moulded and painted in underglaze blue

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:

    C.570-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 5, shelf 1

Around 1580 a new type of blue-and-white porcelain was developed at Jingdezhen in China. Originally intended for export around Asia it was soon traded across the world, including the Americas. This commerce was driven primarily by the Dutch East India Company (founded 1602), which shipped the new wares in unprecedented quantities.

This new type with panelled borders is called 'Kraak porcelain' and was made for export from the 1580s to the 1640s. The word kraak is the Dutch name for the carrack, an ocean-going trading vessel. Mass-produced in standardised shapes, the wares were stackable and light, which reduced transport costs. Attractively decorated with plants, birds and animals in blue-and-white, Kraak porcelain had world wide success.

In south-east Asia, this type of drinking vessel was known as a kendi. A communal drinking form, it was specifically designed to be held a a certain height and the water poured into one's mouth so that the lips never actually touched the vessel.

Physical description

Porcelain kendi of depressed globular form with long neck and a mammiform spout. The lower part moulded in five panels, painted in underglaze blue with a bird, a horse, a stork, an insect and sceptre-heads (ruyi); on the spout with flower-heads on diaper ground; below neck with a band of sceptre-heads (ruyi), on the neck with plantain leaves, some diaper-works below mouth.

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)

Date

1590-1615 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain, moulded and painted in underglaze blue

Dimensions

Height: 19.7 cm, Diameter: 15 cm

Descriptive line

Kendi, moulded porcelain with underglaze blue decoration, China, Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573-1620)

Labels and date

Drinking vessel (kendi)
China, Jingdezhen, 1590-1615
Made for the south-east Asian market.
C.570-1910. Salting Bequest [2009]

Materials

Porcelain; Cobalt oxide

Techniques

Painted; Moulded; Blue and white

Subjects depicted

Insect; Bird; Ruyi; Horse; Stork; Diaper-work

Categories

Ceramics; Porcelain

Collection

East Asia Collection

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