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Culture:English or Irish
Date Made:1745-1765
Type:Food Service
Materials:ceramic: tin-glazed earthenware decorated in cobalt blue
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; Liverpool (probably) or Ireland; Dublin (possibly)
Measurements:overall: 1 1/2 x 15 1/4 x 10 7/8 in.; 3.81 x 38.735 x 27.6225 cm
Accession Number:  HD 68.168
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

English or Irish delft octagonal platter decorated with blue with the 'Chinese Flower-Bowl' pattern. Delftware painters found inspiration in the many pieces of Chinese porcelain brought back by the English East India Company. Often Daoist and Buddhist symbols were copied onto English delftware, but it is doubtful that painters or consumers understood the meanings behind these designs. The oval well has a central motif of a bowl of flowers with a flying insect, with a band of the double curl pattern around the outer edge, which is described as "penjing" or "landscape in a dish" and is taken directly from Chinese export porcelain. The rim has a pair of clappers (an attribute of Cao Guo Jiu, one of the Eight Daoist Immortals), a scroll painting (an emblem of the literati class), rhinocerus-horn cups (one of the Eight Precious symbols, emblem of happiness), a brush, a cake of ink, and a scepter (the Chinese words for the last three objects sound like "bi ding ruyi," meaning "may everything be arranged as you desire."). This pattern can be difficult to attribute since Liverpool and Dublin shared similar designs, and often Liverpool designs can be indistinguishable from Irish examples. There are two shards in the National Museum at Merseyside (Liverpool) archaeological collection with the same rim and leaf pattern below the bowl. Those with painted numbers on the reverse are more likely to be Irish, while those with herbal springs on the reverse, such as this piece, are most often attributed to Liverpool although occasionally found in Dublin. This piece is probably from Liverpool given the central oval well (not found on Irish pieces) and the platter's proportions. Shards of this pattern in this octagonal shape have been found in the Miles Brewton House in Charleston, South Carolina.

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