Collector Case B2

Charger decorated with fish


China, Qing Dynasty
Porcelain with overglaze enamels
DBC 10750.1

This exceptionally large charger is decorated with fish (possibly gui), the mandarin fish, and lotus plants. These motifs repeat around the cavetto. The vibrant overglaze enamels include iron-red, teal, yellow, green, and black.

porcelain plate with underglaze blue


Netherlands, ca. 1700
Porcelain with underglaze blue
DBC 10900.1

This Kraak style dish was made in at Delft in imitation of Chinese wares no longer available. Two ladies with attendants, additional figures, and flowers embellish the surface.

Porcelain bowl with underglaze blue


China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644
Porcelain with underglaze blue
DBC 10649.1

This exquisite bowl has delicate floral anhua or “hidden decoration” of lotus (for purity), prunus (for hope and the arrival of spring,) and chrysanthemum (for fall). A pair of pomegranates symbolizing fertility are painted under the glaze. The two character mark Nei Fu, “Inner Palace,” indicates that it was used in the imperial palace.

Porcelain plate with blue underglaze, Xuande mark.


China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Xuande Period, 1426–1435
Porcelain with underglaze blue
DBC 11012.1

This exquisite plate has a finely painted pair of blossoming and budding peony flowers and foliage, symbolizing wealth and prosperity. It has an imperial reign mark on its base.

rita ware with Armorial design


Japan, Edo Period, 1603–1868, mid-17th century
Arita ware porcelain with underglaze blue
DBC 10498.1

Arita ware is named for the town where it was made. This rare example of armorial porcelain made for the European market has a large crest in the center. The rim is decorated with auspicious fruit and flowers such as peaches, pomegranates, peonies and chrysanthemums.

Kraak Ware Plate, porcelain with underglaze blue


Japan, late 17th century
Porcelain with underglaze blue
DBC 10493.1

Japanese ceramicists began producing Kraak style porcelains to supply the Dutch market after the Chinese ceased making them due to the fall of the Ming dynasty. This plate features a grasshopper on a rock, flowers, and Buddhist symbols.

White dish, Ding ware, with molded fish design


China, Song Dynasty, 960–1279 CE
Ding ware with molded fish design
DBC 11027.1

This dish is decorated with a pair of fish in a lotus pond surrounded with ducks among aquatic plants. Mandarin ducks mate for life and the word for lotus in Mandarin rhymes with year suggesting duration and expressing a wish for lasting marital love. Use of a mold enabled the potter to create a more complex design.

Dish, Swatow ware (porcelain with overglaze enamels)


China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Wanli Period, 1573–1619
Swatow ware
DBC 11232.1

Swatow wares are named for the kilns located near the port of Swatow in Guangdong province. They are crudely potted porcelain with coarse sand adhering to the base. They were exported in large numbers to Europe, the Near East, and Southeast Asia. This large example is vigorously painted in iron-red, turquoise, and green enamels with some black outlines over the glaze. Motifs include dragons chasing a pearl, flowers, and a pagoda in a landscape.



Korea, Koryo Dynasty, 935–1392 CE, 13th–14th centuries
Inlaid celadon
DBC 10701.1

The Koryo dynasty was the golden age of Korean ceramics. The celadons were outstanding with a blue-green glaze derived from iron oxide fired in a reduction kiln. They imitated Song dynasty wares ,and the Chinese considered them equal to theirs. Unique to Korea, inlay on celadon was invented by potters who incised the design and filled it in with black and white slips prior to glazing and firing. This bowl is decorated with four chrysanthemums associated with the fall season.

Qingbai ware bowl with incised lotus


China, Southern Song Dynasty, 1127–1279 CE
Qingbai ware with incised lotus
DBC 10979.1

This exquisite, thinly potted bowl has an incised lotus flower. The freehand carving is crisp and assured. The lotus symbolizes purity since it grows out of muddy water and is pure in hue.



Korea, Chosen Period, 14–16th centuries
Glazed stoneware
DBC 10533.1

This small bowl is an example of Punch’ong ware, a rendering of a Chinese technique which was also found in Japan. The stoneware body is incised with a circle and rope pattern. This is filled with white slip and coated with a celadon glaze whose greenish tint comes from iron fired in a reduction kiln.

Amber glazed flask


China, Liao Dynasty, 916–1125 CE
Amber glazed stoneware
DBC 10548.1

Flasks of this type are based on sewn leather liquid containers used by the nomadic Khitan tribe. It is embellished with raised applied bands which suggest straps.

Phoenix-headed Ewer, earthenware with sancai glaze

Phoenix-headed Ewer

China, Tang Dynasty, 618–907 CE
Earthenware with sancai glaze
DBC 10871.1

The phoenix is the most revered bird in Chinese culture, usually associated with the empress. One side of this ewer has a molded design of a horse with rider; the other a winged mythological dragon or horse. Three-color (sancai) lead glazes were developed in the Tang Dynasty. Iron oxide resulted in yellow to brown tones; copper oxide gave green and cobalt oxide blue. The light-colored bodies made for brighter colors.

Long-necked Vase, earthenware with sancai glaze

Long-necked Vase

China, Tang Dynasty, 618–907 CE
Earthenware with sancai glaze
DBC 10872.1

The ovoid body is covered with mottled green and amber glazes. Two loop handles are applied to the shoulder.

Armorial Sweet Meat Dishes, porcelain with overglaze enamel Billings family crest

Armorial Sweetmeat Dishes

China, Qing Dynasty, 1644–1911, mid-18th century
Porcelain with underglaze blue, overglaze enamels and gilding
DBC 10460.1/8

This seven-piece sweetmeat set is a highly unusual form for export porcelain. It is decorated with floral sprays and the armorial crest of the American Billings family. It was ordered for merchant Frederick Billings (1823–1890) of Woodstock, Vermont.

Earthenware pillow and decorated with a phoenix


China, Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368
Cizhou ware
DBC 10540.1

This unusually large pillow is fashioned out of earthenware and decorated with a phoenix in flight. The upper surface provided an ideal opportunity for the potter to paint an exuberant image of the auspicious bird. Typical of many Cizhou wares, the sgrafitto technique accentuates the design by scratching through the bright blue, green, brown, and white glazes.

Porcelain Ding ware pillow


China, Northern Song Dynasty, 960–1127
Ding ware
DBC 10944.1

Ding wares are named for the kilns where they were produced in Hebei province. They have a fine, hard, resonant white porcelain body and a mellow ivory glaze. In this example the glaze has a greenish-blue tinge where it is thick. The shape of this pillow is rare. The top is a ruyi or scepter incised with floral patterns. Below is a building with one door ajar and a figure.

Porcelain pillow in the shape of a tiger

Tiger Pillow

China, Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368
Cizhou type
DBC 11243.1

Animal-form pillows were believed to protect against evil and to help women give birth to sons. This recumbent tiger rests its head on the front paws. The back is decorated with blossoming flowers. The design is fluidly painted in brown and russet slip on a white slip then covered with a clear glaze.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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