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Plate with Canton-Enamel Family Crest and Floral Designs

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736–1795), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 3.2 cm; mouth diameter: 14 cm; foot diameter: 8.8 cm

This plate has an open mouth, a round food, and shallow, curved walls. The entire surface is covered in white glaze. The exterior is plain with a lustrous finish while the interior has designs accomplished primarily in black. The mouth rim has gold trim while the area below it has black enamel floral and vegetal designs. The interior walls have four black and gold floral designs. The central interior design is a black and gold crest with the Latin phrase “AMAT VICTORIA CURAM” (lit. “victory loves concern”) written on the thin ribbon at the top.

The clay core of the plate is rather light and thin while the decoration is simple and tidy yet brilliant. Researchers have noted how the central design is the Clerk family crest. Several members of the family worked for the British East India Company (1600–1858). Lieutenant Commander Thomas Clerk (b. 1761) worked for the company, as did his younger brother Robert (b. 1763), who became one of the company’s directors. Ceramics with this crest are believed to have been made at Jingdezhen in China by special order of the Clerk family in Britain in the eighteenth century.

Chinese entry by Zhao Congyue
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu


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