Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    1573-1620 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in underglaze blue

  • Credit Line:

    Given by E.L. Cappel Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery, case 34, shelf 1

This dish was made in Jingdezhen during the reign of the Wanli emperor (1573-1620). It is an example of Kraak style porcelain. Kraak style dishes of this type are characterised by radiating decorative panels, placed around a large central design. In this instance the central figure is that of a dragon, but natural plant, flower and animal subjects were also popular decorative themes.

The base of this dish bears an apocryphal Chenghua reign (1465-1487) mark. Both Chenghua and Xuande (1426-35) marks were commonly used on Wanli period porcelains. The body of this dish is made of poor quality, brittle porcelain clay and the execution of the decoration shows little finesse. This low quality was common among wares made in bulk for the export market during this period.

The term 'kraak' derives from the Dutch word 'Carrack' used to describe the type of boat used by the Portuguese to ship porcelain from China to Europe in sixteenth century. Kraak ware was produced on a vast scale throughout the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The majority was exported to Europe. This is evidenced by shipwrecked cargoes and surviving ship's inventories.

Physical description

Porcelain dish painted in underglaze blue. The centre filled with a dragon amid flaming jewels; round the cavetto is a border divided into panels containing stylised peaches and emblems.

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)


1573-1620 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in underglaze blue

Marks and inscriptions

'da Ming Chenghua nian zhi'
Made in the Chenghua period of the great Ming dynasty


Height: 6.4 cm, Diameter: 31.1 cm

Descriptive line

Dish, porcelain painted in underglaze blue, China, Jingdezhen, Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573-1620)

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

p.22, pl.16
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.

Production Note



Porcelain; Cobalt blue


Painted; Blue and white

Subjects depicted

Dragon; Flames; Peaches; Emblems (symbols)


Ceramics; Porcelain


East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.