This Dehua whiteware shard was part of a figurine that features Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and a child. However, only the child on Guanyin’s lap remained intact. Dehua figurines are usually constructed using methods of press-moulding and slip-casting. They are then hand-finished to eliminate any tell-tale traces of the production process. Dehua kilns are well-known in the West for its so-called ‘blanc-de-chine’ porcelain, which was exported to Europe in large quantities during the Qing dynasty. This piece was part of a sizable cargo of Chinese export ceramics and porcelain uncovered from a late 17th century shipwreck near Vung Tau, Vietnam. Although expensive, porcelain became the fashion among the class of new rich merchants and bourgeoisie in Europe who could afford to buy porcelain from far-away China, thus enhancing their status and at the same time, embellishing their tables, cabinets and interiors.

Date/Period
c.1690
Region
Dehua, Fujian province, China
Dimension
Object size: L 9 x W 8.5
Accession No.
1998-00741
Material
Porcelain
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Category
Ceramics