Blue and White Dish with a Merchant Ship

Unknownabout 1510

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The delicate stylized flower and leaf decoration of this plate is called alla porcellana (like porcelain) because it imitates blue and white Chinese porcelain , which was much sought after in fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italy. Because Western potters were unable to create true porcelain until much later, they tried to simulate it with earthenware. The arabesque-like foliage may also have been inspired by Turkish Isnik pottery of the period. The rim of the plate is decorated with four musical trophies: a harp with sheets of music, a lute with a scroll inscribed MVSICA, a reed pipe and wind blower, and an urn and dulcimer. In the center is a carrack, a broad-beamed merchant ship. The back of the plate is decorated with three curving leafy branches and marked in the center with words that are difficult to read: J[acop]o chafagguolo or In chafagguolo. They indicate that the dish was made in Cafaggiolo, the site of a Medici-sponsored maiolica workshop just outside Florence.

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  • Title: Blue and White Dish with a Merchant Ship
  • Date Created: about 1510
  • Location Created: Cafaggiolo, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: h4.8 cm
  • Type: Dish
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=1163
  • Medium: Tin-glazed earthenware
  • artist: Unknown
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Boats