A Chinese export porcelain shell shaped dish. Kangxi period

The shell-dish lightly moulded and finely enamelled in shades of green, yellow and black with a quatrefoil ruyi medallion flanked by flowering prunus and magnolia branches, the border with a scroll band in underglaze blue.

Period :
Kangxi (1662-1722), ca. 1680
6.69 in. (17 cm)
Reference :

Related works

For one identical chinese famille verte shell-shaped dish recently sold, see Christie’s London, The Collection of Ana Maria Espirito Santo Bustorff Silva, 29 april 2015, lot 53.

This model, always with the same design, is illustrated in the book of D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer Chinese Export Porcelain – Chine de Commande (1974, Pl. 119), about a model preserved at the Princessehof Ceramics Museum at Leeuwarden.

Christiaan Jörg illustrated this form in green enamels, but with a design with auspicious details in Chinese Export Porcelain – Chine de Commande from the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels (published by the Urban Council, Hong Kong, 1989, Pl. 8, p 62) ; in Famille Verte Chinese Porcelain in Green Enamels  (2011, p. 134, no. 132) ; and in Chinese Ceramics in the collection of the Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam. The Ming and Qing Dynasties  (1997, cat. 313).


The shallow form is based on French or English silver prototype or after a real shell for the Western market. The backs are unglazed apart from around the edges and are mouled with ribs which correspond to incised lines on the front. Christiaan Jörg says they were used to serve shellfishes. Several models are known, decorated less often in underglazed blue or Chinese imari (Howard & Ayers, China for the West, vol. 1, cat. 116). Imitations in European porcelain, for example in Dutch Loosdrecht porcelain, are not rare.

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