A large Chinese plate decorated in iron-red and gold with scene of the Baptism. Yongzheng period.

Decorated in various shades of iron-red and gold, with a central scene of the baptism of the Christ by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan River, while the Holy Ghost flies above them. The rim is painted with garlands of foliage and flowers, supported at the top by a basket of flowers and on either side by putti, with a cartouche at the bottom with the inscription MAT. 3 . 16.

Period :
Yongheng (1723-1735), circa 1730-1735
9.64 in. (24.5 cm)
Reference :

Related works

Plates and dishes with the same central scene of the Baptism, in underglaze blue or in iron red (with different borders, including an eagle), are known in severals private collections and museums  :

The Reeves Center Collection (Washington and Lee University, USA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), De Sypesteyn Museum (Loosdrecht), The Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (Brussels), the Elvehjem Museum of Art (Madison), the Museum Quinta das Cruzes (Funchal), the Jorge Getulio Collection (Rio de Janeiro, sold by Sotheby’s London, 31 october 1989, lot 258), The Telo de Morais Collection (Coimbra), the Alexandre Fernandes Collection (Lisbon), the British Museum (London), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Musée Guimet (Paris), the Winterthur Museum (Wilmington), the Peabody Essex Museum (USA), The Elinor and Horace Gordon Collection (sold by Sotheby’s NYC, 23 january 2010, lot 237), The RA Collection (Brazil).

Pieces with this decoration are also illustrated in severals books :

Alves Cunha F. & P., From East to West, The quest for Chinese Export Porcelain with western themes (1695-1815), 2016, no. 57.

Beurdeley, M., Chinese Trade Porcelain, 1962, cat. 226.

Brawer, C., Chinese Export Porcelain from the Ethel Liebman and Arthur L. Liebman Porcelain Collection, 1992, no. 101.

Gordon, E., Collecting Chinese Export Porcelain, 1997, pl. X.

Hervouët F. & N.; Bruneau, Y., La porcelaine des Compagnie des Indes à décor Occidental, 1986, no. 11.14.

Howard, D., Ayers, J., China for the West : Chinese Porcelain and others Decorative Arts for Export illustrated from the Mottahedeh Collection, 1978, vol. I, nos. 306, 309.

Jörg, C., Chinese Export Porcelain : Chine de Commande from the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, 1989, no. 57.

Krahl R., & Harrison, J., Ancient Chinese Trade Ceramics from the British Museum, 1994, no. 21, fig. 21a.

Le Corbeiller, C., China Trade Porcelain : Patterns of Exchange, 1974, fig. 32.


Illustrating the passage from Matthew (“And when Jesus was baptized he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him), the artist seemingly depicts an ascending dove above the radiating beam of light. Similar naïve depictions of biblical subjects are known on European earthenware. Although the rock formations on the plate shown here are painted in the Chinese manner, Le Corbeiller rightly notes that the composition and border design exhibit the same peculiarities of style found on late seventeenth-century Delft biblical plates.

By appointment only, 10th arrondissement, Paris. / +33 (0)6 26 57 59 87

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