Inventory no.: 761

Straits Chinese or Nonya Porcelain


Famille Rose Green-Ground Baluster Vase

Malacca, Malaysia

circa 1900

height: 20.4cm

This baluster vase has excellent, clear provenance that dates to the 1940s, when it was acquired by an English family in Malacca.

The vase is brightly enamelled with shaped panels containing a single phoenix in flight over sprays of peony blooms, buds and foliage against a pink background, surrounded by a green-ground decorated with further peony blooms and foliage. The neck and shoulder have moulded felines with blue bodies and dragons in pink with red spots. The lower part of the base has a border of brightly coloured green, pink and yellow lappets. The rim is edged with gilt.

The condition is very good – there are no chips or cracks. The glaze is very bright. There is some kiln grit to the cream glaze to the rim, usually a function of the kilns used being fired by coal.

The base has a neat

Quchuwang Zao factory mark in red enamel.

Vases were not used in the Straits Chinese house to decorate rooms with bunches of cut flowers. Instead, pairs of baluster vases such as the example here were used on the family altar to hold flowers – usually freshly-cut chrysanthemums – meant as offerings to the gods and the spirits of the departed. They were placed on the altar with other religious objects.


Acquired in the UK from an English family from the south-west of England that was involved in managing a rubber plantation near Malacca in the 1940s.


Kee, M.Y., Peranakan Porcelain: Vibrant Festive Ware of the Straits Chinese, Tuttle Publishing, 2009; Ho, W.M., Straits Chinese Porcelain: A Collector’s Guide, Times Books International, 1983.

Inventory no.: 761


nonya porcelain.