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Fine Art/Chinese charger (platter)


Chinese charger
Chinese charger  
Chinesecharger 2
Chinesecharger 2  
QUESTION: I have a blue Chinese charger (46 cm diameter)that has been in my family AT LEAST 150 years. I say "at least" because I do in fact know nothing about its origins beyond the period that it has been in my family's possession. All I know is this: the first owner in my family that I know of was my great-greatgrandfather, a Dutch tailor and cloth merchant with dealings in what was then the Dutch East Indies. As told by my grandfather (who died in 1959, the charger came into his possession before 1860, and was acquired in Batavia (now Jakarta, of course). The next owner was my greatgrandfather, a multi-talented man who was a concert pianist who realised that the pianos that he was asked to play on in the Indies were not able to withstand the tropical humidity and he decided to build his own "tropical pianos" and other musical instruments (notably flutes) in factories in Batavia and Surabaya.
Naessens pianos still exist and occasionally show up at auctions and in internet notices to this day. A Naessens flute made 110 years ago turned up at a London auction only about six years ago.
He took the plate to Holland with him in 1911, after which it eventually went to my grandfather in 1931, my father in 1959 and myself in 1988. I currently live in Townsville (Queensland), Australia.
The Chinese plate shows signs of having been held in some kind of display stand, which must have been a great many years because it left grooves in the enamel at the back of the plate.

The plate shows no maker's markings of any kind and has slight damage in the enamel. This damage is very slight and is in fact not really evident at first glance. It will only become more obvious on closer inspection. I know nothing about the style of its decorations, how "good" or bad they are supposed to be artistically within the Chinese antiques scheme of things, or how I would go about trying to find out its value - if any.
I am well aware of the limitations of this first enquiry within the confines of an email message but am hoping you can give me some tentative first pointers, so to speak.
The plate is quite large and feels rather solid and "heavy". I myself have always simply kept it on a coffee table in the lounge, which is where it is right this moment! Like I said, there are no maker's markings or other immediate clues in regards to its age. The white enamel of the back of the plate has a somewhat pitted appearance.
Kind regards,
Leo Naessens

ANSWER: Thank you very much, for the question Leo.

In order to answer the question more fully, I would need a good clear  photo, of the rear side of the charger.

This should  preferably be taken, without the use of "flash" - to avoid any glare.

I look forward to viewing, the new image and answering the question.
Take care.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Rear of Chinese charger
Rear of Chinese charge  
QUESTION: As requested, I attach a picture of the rear of the charger. Now that I look at it again, the pitted surface is quite noticeable and I can't quite remember the significance of that. Something about the item was fired?
As you will be aware, Batavia and the Dutch East Indies generally were a clearing house for vast quantities of Chinese enamelware shipped to Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. My family was in the Dutch East Indies for generations, and in fact I myself was the last (born in Medan in North Sumatra although I grew up in Jakarta).
I know the history of the plate since around 1860, with the names/dates etc of each consecutive owner known and documented. It has been in my family all that time. So all I can say about it with any kind of certainty is that it is older than 1860.
I do in fact own two Chinese garden seats, also in blue and white, but acquired these myself at a Jakarta market some 30 years ago. Again, I am no expert, but don't believe them to be very old.
Leo Naessens

Hello Leo;
Thank you for the  last image, which helps to solve a part of the puzzle.

I shall attempt to be brief, but at the same time  - we a dealing with one the  great pillars of science and history, which is mainly the area - of a very few specialists.

So please bear with me, on this matter.

Chinese >> Kraak << wares.

The background.

Normally, this would be a straight forward case; of Chinese export >>Kraak<< - or carrack porcelain, dating to the period 1628-1662.

A great deal of these wares,  emanated from the kilns in old district in the city of Jingdezen;  up in the north - eastern province of Jianxi.

This  type of  artefact, is generally quite common today.
It was produced in considerable quantities, during the transitional period of the Ming/Qing dynasties.

They were exported to Europe and other destinations - out in the Far East, in great amounts.

In this period, it was the countries of the  Portuguese, Spanish and the  Dutch, who were the principal export markets, for such Oriental wares.

At that time in Europe and in other countries, such objects were  both horribly expensive - and very trendy items to own.

The decorative designs/patterns and make – up; of the charger.

This is a typical  >>” Kraak Porcelain<<  layout- with auspicious Chinese emblems, executed in an underglaze, whicht uses cobalt blue on a white -  porcelain body.

There are segmentations – which are divided  into panels, and this  is also typical of >>Kraak<< wares.

There are panels, which are decorated with auspicious peony and chrysanthemum  flowers.

More panels are  showing landscapes, with figures - that most  probably  represent the >> 8 << Chinese immortals.

The main circular area in the centre of the charger, completely  is filled with a large landscape, depicting part of a Chinese legend?

Both the  porcelain body, colours and glazing techniques, all correspond to the period.

The method off painting in  hasty - and  almost nonchalant brushstrokes, using cobalt blue are   also a common  feature of >>Kraak<< wares.

The foot on the charger, is also typical of >>Kraak << wares.

The fact that it bears no  marks underneath, it not unusual.

Thin ice

Unfortunately, the supplied image of the front side of the charger, is not  sharp enough to pick out - the great many painted details.

However, there is a chance that this is perhaps a sort of early >>Chine de Commande<<  and in fact,  that the whole main landscape might also be either a Spanish, or of  a Portuguese  influence.

I am thinking that perhaps, it may in fact be a biblical figure/scene executed especially  for the Jesuits, by a Chinese potter, who had  perhaps little -  or no understanding of Christianity.

If the central figure - indeed has  a  radiant halo around the head, then it builds a very  strong case for  a Christian influence.
However, if this be the case, then this  seemingly ordinary  piece of >>Kraak<<  ware, suddenly shoots to the top of the charts in rarity.

The next steps

Examinations  base solely on  provided images, is fraught with  pitfalls.

Since you are  located in Queensland, I would strongly advise you to take  the object along to a good sized and “reputable” auction house in Brisbane.
They will be able to give you a much better >>hands on <<“ examination, which is always necessary in such matters.

Only a real >> hands on examination <<, will reveal if it is an ordinary piece of >>Kraak<< ware, or a very special object  - which is worth a great deal more.

I hope, that  my answer  is of some use to you - and very good luck with the hunt!
Either way, it is a part of you inheritance and family history.

Perhaps, this is the most important factor in your quest!
Take care.

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

Awards and Honors
Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

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