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  • Place of origin:

    Arita (made)

  • Date:

    1660-1680 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in underglaze blue

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 48

In the late 1650s, following the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644 and the consequent collapse of the Chinese ceramic export trade, Dutch merchants based in western Japan began commissioning copies of Chinese porcelain from Japanese kilns. These new orders greatly boosted the fledgling potteries of Arita, which was Japan's main centre for porcelain production during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The design of this dish imitates that of Chinese 'Kraak' porcelains (a term possibly derived from 'Carrack', the Dutch term for a type of Portuguese ship) of the sort made for export to the Middle East and Europe from the 1570s onwards. The Japanese painter of this dish simplified the original Chinese design, eliminating superfluous detail to achieve a powerfully graphic effect. Japanese porcelains were considerably heavier and often much larger than their Chinese counterparts. The cobalt used contained impurities that resulted in a distinctive bright but soft blue tinged with purple or blue.

The central motif of a deer drinking from a pond appears on many large Japanese 'Kraak' dishes, several of which found their way into princely European collections, including that of Augustus the Strong of Saxony. These may well correspond to the dishes recorded as painted 'with deer' in the Dutch East India Company's order books for 1679 and 1681.

Physical description

Large circular dish with cavetto decorated in underglaze blue with a deer drinking from a pond, the wide rim divided equally into eight equal sections in the style of Chinese 'Kraak' export porcelain

Place of Origin

Arita (made)


1660-1680 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in underglaze blue


Diameter: 55.0 cm

Descriptive line

Dish, porcelain, painted in underglaze blue after a Chinese 'Kraak' porcelain original, Arita, Japan, 1660-80

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

Liefkes, Reino and Hilary Young (eds.) Masterpieces of World Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publishing, 2008, pp. 77.

Labels and date

Dish with panelled border
Japan, Arita

Dishes with panelled borders were mass-produced in China for export to the Middle East and Europe from 1570 onwards. The trade was conducted at first by Portuguese and then by Dutch merchants, who called them ‘Kraak porcelain’. After the Ming
dynasty fell in 1644, Chinese production collapsed and the Dutch turned to the Arita kilns of Japan for substitutes. The muted blue of the larger, heavier Arita wares is caused
by impurities in the cobalt.

Porcelain, painted before glazing

Museum no. 1724-1876 [September 2009]




Glazed; Blue and white


Ceramics; Porcelain


East Asia Collection

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