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Chinese blue and white kraak wine pot and cover, Wanli (1573-1619), of globular form with applied loop handle and gently curving spout. decorated in underglaze cobalt blue with six panels containing either flowering peony or a beribboned scroll, the neck with a bracketed band of diaper with two floral cartouches below a striped pattern to the rim, the handle and lid decorated with a leafy floral motif and the lid surmounted by a floral knop.
For kraak wine pots of similar design see Rinaldi, Maura ‘Kraak Porcelain: A Moment in the History of Trade’ London: 1989 pp.182-184.
One of the hundred antiques, the scroll represents scholarly achievement and truth. In the Ming dynasty the importance of scholarly activities resulted in a huge increase, in ceramic design and elsewhere, in the use of symbols relating to learning. Wine pots of this type would have been used in China to hold warm rice wine or hot water to prepare tea. However, in late sixteenth and early seventeenth century Europe, where wine made from grapes did not need to be kept warm and tea drinking was not yet popular, the wine pots imported by the VOC were probably used as decorative items of great status and value.