Object photography

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On View Louise du Pont Crowninshield Gallery, level 1

Object description

  • Chinese artist
  • Dish, 17th century
  • Porcelain
  • Zhangzhou, China
  • dia.: 14 3/4 in (dia.: 37.5 cm)
  • Museum purchase, 2006
  • AE86552


A large, heavily potted dish with shallow rounded sides, a flat up-turned rim, and low, slanting foot ring. It is painted predominantly in iron-red, combined with turquoise blue and outlines in black enamel, on a thick, opaque celadon glaze. It is decorated in the centre with an elephant standing with its four feet apart, its head, with small eyes turned to the right, and its long trunk curling slightly downwards between the tusks. On its back it carries a lotus flower with a circular plaque containing four Chinese characters, which rests on a saddle-cloth with long fringes, floating amongst cloud scrolls and a constellation, all painted in fine black outline filled with broad brushstrokes of turquoise blue enamel. The cavetto and rim are covered with iron-red enamel, evenly applied (apart from the edge of the rim where it thins, revealing the celadon glaze underneath) and extending to the underside of the dish, stopping just before the foot ring. The recessed base, fired dark reddish-brown, is marked by concentric grooves and almost completely covered with thick opaque celadon glaze. Dark, coarse sand from the kiln adheres to the low, slanting foot ring and a large area of the base.