"Kitchen Qing" Straits Chinese Dishes

This is small, underglaze blue and white cobalt decorated Chinese export porcelain dishes, to the South East Asian market, often referred to as "nonya blue and white porcelain".

The decoration mainly consists of what is probably a stamped or printed stylized chrysanthemum.

This kind of porcelain are found in Malacca and Singapore and similar dishes are still used for serving chili peppers together with most dishes and they date to the Qing dynasty, early to mid 19th century.

A guess is that two of the dishes might be from the Fujian province, and the remaining one (top right above) is of a Jingdezhen type Chinese porcelain, with some crackles and an incised owner's name character engraved in the glaze.

One of the reasons why so many Chinese left their homeland, was to find work following the many disaster that struck China by the mid 19th century. Some went to find work in the sugar cane fields on Java, some went to the coal and tin mines on Malacca, or later, to the rubber plantations. One distinct possibility is thus that the signatures - who are quite common on these kinds of household porcelains - are actually the signatures of Malaccan companies.

Some of these utilitarian 1wares similar to these small and typical "Chili dishes" are to this effect still called "tin miner's bowls". Large drama in a small pieces.

Jan-Erik Nilsson

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