Two ‘Kitchen Qing’ Blue & White Porcelain Dishes
China, exported to the Straits Chinese Market
late 19th century
diameters: 19.7cm, and 19.5cm
Both these plates decorated with a sweet pea motif in cobalt enamel are of similar size, although the rim of one is noticeably steeper than the other. Blue and white porcelain of this type was exported to Southeast Asia from China in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries, although these two examples having been acquired in Singapore during the 1970s together with a quantity of nonyware suggest almost certainly that they came from a local Straits Chinese family.
Highly durable, blue and white dishes was used on a daily basis in the Straits Chinese kitchen for both dining and for making offerings on the household altar, on account of the blue and white colouring being associated with mourning.
The designs drawn on these two examples are particularly neat and without any shading. As as such, they are finer examples of ‘kitchen Qing’ than normally encountered.
Both have Kuang Hsu (Guangxu) reign marks to the base (1871-1908), although Ho (1983) believes that such pieces with the sweet pea motif were made almost exclusively for
peranakan homes during the late nineteenth century.
Both are in excellent condition and are without any chips, cracks or restorations.
The Southeast Asian Ceramics Society – West Malaysia Chapter, Nonya Ware and Kitchen Ch’ing, Oxford University Press, 1981; Ho, W.M., Straits Chinese Porcelain: A Collector’s Guide, Times Books International, 1983; and Peranakan Museum Guide A-Z, Asian Civilisations Museum Singapore, 2008.
Acquired by the previous owner from Gemstone International Pte Ltd, 303 Orchard Building, 1 Grange Road, Singapore, in April 1978. (A copy of the invoice can be provided.)
Inventory no.: 912
Baba/Nonya or Straits Chinese items.