Chinese Plate, hard paste porcelain, Yongzheng or early Qianlong, c.1723-40


This attractive plate is painted in enamels and gilt with two brown quails pecking millet seeds which have fallen from an overhanging millet plant growing amongst flowers. The outer edge is decorated with a border of half-florets, and the rim is ochre.

It is very rare to find examples of the Chinese copying exactly from the Japanese Kakiemon style, and this plate represents an almost direct copy of the Arita Kakiemon octagonal example in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, illustrated below.

Provenance: Dr Chris Girton, exhibited in The Two Quail Pattern: 300 Years of Design on Porcelain (cat. no. 5) at Stockspring Antiques, London, May 2004, and the Museum of Worcester Porcelain, Worcester, July - September 2004; Santos, London; Jill McNeile.

Condition: Good - there are one or two tiny slithers to the glaze on the white outer edge of the plate. Areas of the glaze at the centre of the plate and also the outer flange are minutely crazed, and there is some evidence of stacking wear. The enamel decoration is in good order, with only minor wear in places. It is worth noting that Chinese gilding is much softer than European, and it is prone to wear, although the gilding on this plate is remarkably good, particularly on the decoration around the rim. The artist touched the underside edge of the plate when his brush was loaded with brown enamel. No restoration.

Dimensions: Diameter 22.7 cm

The Two Quail Pattern: 300 Years of Design on Porcelain, Dr Chris Girton (Louvic Publications, 2004).

Japanese Export Poreclain: Catalogue of the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Oliver Impey (Hotei Publishing, 2002).


Click on thumbnail above to see larger image
Late Seventeenth-Century Japanese octagonal dish with Kakiemon decoration, Gift of Gerald Reitlinger, 1978 (EA1978.569) © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford