Blue-and-white kraak style bowl with banana leaf and flowers, 1600 – 1640, Ming dynasty, Jingdezhen kilns, porcelain, moulded, with underglaze painting in cobalt-blue;5.7 cm (height), 21 cm (diameter). Acquired by exchange with the Groningen Museum, 1991. Accession no.EA1991.24. Ashmolean Museum © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
The main overseas markets for Chinese porcelain during the early and mid-seventeenth century were Japan and the Netherlands. The Netherlands was an increasingly powerful maritime nation at that time, with a prosperous urban class.
Blue-and-white Chinese porcelain was a highly sought-after commodity and dishes, plates and cups were often depicted in Dutch still-life paintings. A bowl very similar to this piece appears in Still Life with an Oriental Rug by Willem Kalf (1619-1693) in the Daisy Linda Ward Gallery. This particular bowl was acquired by the Ashmolean in 1991 through exchange with the Groningen Museum and it is likely it had been in the Netherlands from the 17th century until that date.
Willem Kalf (1619 – 1693), Still Life with an oriental Rug. A563; oil on canvas; 65 x 54 cm. Bequeathed by Daisy Linda Ward, 1939; WA1940.2.39; Meijer 2003, no. 40. Ashmolean Museum © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford