About this object

History of use

This plate is a commissioned work, and was probably one of a set. Blue-and-white porcelain was exported from China to Europe in great numbers during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), but the wares made during the reign of the Kangxi emperor (1661-1722) were technically superior. This plate would have been made at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen and exported (probably to France) around the turn of the eighteenth century. Images on porcelain of Chinese scenery and people served as one impetus for the flowering of the chinoiserie art movement in Europe. However, there was also a fairly brisk trade in the commissioning of European designs. The image on the plate, of the two gentlemen and a lady playing musical instruments, is derived from a 1690 engraving by the French artist Robert Bonnart (1652-c. 1729), however the facial features appear to be Chinese and the figures are more wooden than in the French original.

Physical description

Plate with flared sides and raised foot ring. Decoration on both sides in blue; interior decoration is a central landscape of three musicians playing outside, which is surrounded by eight more landscapes outlined by double lines; floral decoration in remaining rim areas. Exterior designs are bamboo designs on white ground.