Ewer thumbnail 1
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 145

Ewer

1522-1566 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This ewer is one of the earliest examples of Chinese porcelain bearing European armorial devices. The coat of arms on this ewer is probably that of the Portuguese family of Peixoto, attributed to Antonio Peixoto, son of Lopo Peixoto who had patent of the arms in 1511. Antonio Peixoto, a navigator and merchant, embarked on a trading mission to China together with his business partners, Antonio da Mota and Francisco Zeimoto. Sailing around the China coast in a junk laden with hides and other goods they were refused entry to the port of Canton (now Guangzhou) in 1542. They continued their journey and began to trade in Quanzhou and along the southern coast of China. Between 1522 and 1577 an imperial Chinese edict prevented trade relations with foreigners however during the 1540s a clandestine trade was flourishing. He probably bought this ewer during that trip and had it mounted in Persia on the return journey. This seems likely because the silver mounts were made at about the same time as the porcelain and were probably added as part of a repair. The cross pattern on the silver lid replicates the blue triangles and medallions around the neck.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Porcelain painted in underglaze blue, with engraved silver cover and spout
Brief Description
Ewer with Portuguese coat of arms, China, Jingdezhen, ca. 1522-1566
Physical Description
The coat of arms on this ewer is probably that of the Portuguese family of Peixoto. Antonio Peixoto, together with some business partners sailed round the China coast in a junk laden with hides and other commodities. He probably purchased this ewer during that trip, and had it mounted in Persia on the return journey, because the silver mounts were made at about the same time as the porcelain.
Dimensions
  • Width: 23.0cm
  • Height: 33.0cm
  • Diameter: 12.7cm
  • Diameter: 21.5cm
Content description
coat of arms, blue and white, Ming dynasty
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
'da ming Jiajing nian zhi' in underglaze blue on base
Gallery Label
The Peixoto Ewer China, Jingdezhen Ming dynasty, 1522–66 This is one of the earliest pieces of Chinese porcelain made for a European. The design includes the arms of the Portuguese merchant Antonio Peixoto, who first reached China in 1542. This type of ewer was originally made for the Middle Eastern market, to which Portuguese traders sold porcelain. The contemporary Iranian mounts may have been added on Peixoto’s return journey. Porcelain, painted before glazing, with Iranian silver mounts. Mark: ‘Made in the Jiajing reign period of Great Ming’ Museum no. C.222-1931 W.G. Gulland Bequest(September 2009)
Credit line
Gulland Bequest
Summary
This ewer is one of the earliest examples of Chinese porcelain bearing European armorial devices. The coat of arms on this ewer is probably that of the Portuguese family of Peixoto, attributed to Antonio Peixoto, son of Lopo Peixoto who had patent of the arms in 1511. Antonio Peixoto, a navigator and merchant, embarked on a trading mission to China together with his business partners, Antonio da Mota and Francisco Zeimoto. Sailing around the China coast in a junk laden with hides and other goods they were refused entry to the port of Canton (now Guangzhou) in 1542. They continued their journey and began to trade in Quanzhou and along the southern coast of China. Between 1522 and 1577 an imperial Chinese edict prevented trade relations with foreigners however during the 1540s a clandestine trade was flourishing. He probably bought this ewer during that trip and had it mounted in Persia on the return journey. This seems likely because the silver mounts were made at about the same time as the porcelain and were probably added as part of a repair. The cross pattern on the silver lid replicates the blue triangles and medallions around the neck.
Bibliographic References
  • Clunas, Craig (ed.) Chinese Export Art and Design. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1987, figure 12.
  • Liefkes, Reino and Hilary Young (eds.) Masterpieces of World Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publishing, 2008, pp. 68-69.
  • 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.p.83
Collection
Accession Number
C.222-1931

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record createdMarch 7, 2000
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