A Chinese pair of “en grisaille” plates decorated with the adoration of the shepherds. Qianlong period.
Decorated in Chinese ink (en grisaille) and with gold highlights on some details, at the centre with Mary, Joseph and the Three Shepherds surrounding the baby Jesus in a crib, a donkey asleep in the foreground. Two differents borders are painted with tendrils, flowers, leaves berries and floral garlands, typical of Viennese Du Paquier porcelain style.
- Period :
- Qianlong (1735-1795), circa 1740
- 8.66 in. (22.5 cm)
- Reference :
This scene of Christ’s birth comes from a New Testament illustration (Luke 2: 16-17) by Dutch artist Jan Luyken (1649-1712), identified by Jörg. Most likely an engraving of the design was sent by ship to China, where this plate was made for the Dutch market.
In addition to the Nativity, Chinese painters adapted Luyken’s illustrations of the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension for various export goods. As Hervouët and Bruneau note, the curious object in the center background is probably a large harvest basket filled with fruits.The presence of the slumbering donkey, while the adoration is taking place, is a clear anti-semitic reference. The subject is known surrounded by a variety of borders, and also with polychrome enamels (see Quinta das Cruzes Museum, Funchal).