Jug with Portuguese arms

Date: ca. 1520–40

Culture: Chinese, for Portuguese market

Medium: Hard-paste porcelain with cobalt blue under transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware)

Dimensions: Height: 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Porcelain-Export

Credit Line: Helena Woolworth McCann Collection, Purchase, Winfield Foundation Gift, 1961

Accession Number: 61.196


The Islamic form of this ewer is a reminder that the West came late to the export trade, and its impromptu nature is further emphasized by the royal Portuguese arms painted upside down. The likelihood of porcelains having been produced during the first direct contact between Portugal and China has long been debated, but the physical characteristics of this ewer—its distinctly greenish glaze, mild blue painting, and misty surface—place it in that inaugural period.