This ewer with the Portuguese royal arms is witness to the first East-West trade in Chinese porcelain carried on by the Portuguese in the mid-sixteenth century. The form is neither Chinese nor European; rather, it is based on an Islamic metalwork vessel made for the Near Eastern market that was appropriated for the new European trade. The Chinese painters have misunderstood the Portuguese coat of arms, which appears upside down.
Marking: In underglaze blue, on underside within double circle: Hsüan Tê nien hao
Helena Woolworth McCann , Oyster Bay, New York ; D.M. Hubrecht (until 1961; sale, Sotheby's, London, October 17, 1961, no. 107; sold to MMA)