This is a circular Japanese porcelain tray that used to be part of a Peranakan family’s heirloom. The piece is decorated with flower blossoms of varied colours, some in shades of blue and others in red and yellow. There is also a single, yellow butterfly in flight. Butterflies are symbols of joy, beauty, romance and dreams. Butterflies and flowers together represent marital bliss and faithfulness. This piece is possibly an example of porcelain ware made in Arita, Japan for the Southeast Asian market. In the 17th century, ceramic production in China was halted due to persistent internal strife. The Dutch East India Company thus encouraged the porcelain industry in Japan to produce ceramics for the countries the Dutch supplied, which largely resembled those made in Jingdezhen, China. This piece is part of a Methodist Peranakan family’s heirloom and the items were purchased or made in the early to mid 20th century.

Date/Period
Early-mid 20th century
Region
Straits Settlements
Dimension
Object size: 2.0 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm
Accession No.
2008-06040
Material
Porcelain
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Credit Line
Courtesy of Madam Chia Kim Eng c/o Kenneth Ong (son)
Category
Ceramics