‘Kraak Ware’ Plate with Chrysanthemums and Peonies
Commonly called Kraak porcelain, this type of ceramic ware is possibly named after Portuguese merchant ships known as carracks. Kraak wares are thinly potted and are characterised by chipped rims. Besides being made for export, they were also used domestically, examples of which have been excavated from tombs in the Jiangxi province with a range of dates from 1573 to 1645. Such wares were assumed to have been made at Jingdezhen but their exact places of production have yet to be reliably identified.
In 1603, the Dutch captured the carrack Catherina, which was carrying a rich cargo of silk, porcelain, and lacquer wares, in the Straits of Malacca. The cargo was sold for over three million guilders in Amsterdam and caused a sensation. Not only did such porcelain begin to appear in Dutch still-life paintings in the early 17th century C.E. but it also played a pivotal role in influencing the development of European pottery and was widely copied in pottery centres such as Delft.
The central panel of this plate shows peonies and chrysanthemums growing next to a Taihu rock, with bees hovering above. The peonies represent prosperity while the rock and chrysanthemums symbolise long life. On the cavetto are twelve panels of flowers, with a scalloped edge whose glazes have flaked off in areas.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration
Late Ming period, Kraak ware
Late 16th–early 17th century CE
Height: 5.6 cm Diameter: 35.4 cm