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- Date of production ca. 1700, Kangxi period
- Place of creation China
- ID no. MŻKW V/ 806
- Object copyright Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
The presented salt shaker is an example of early white-blue pottery, which is decorated with cobalt blue. It is a rare form of Far Eastern porcelain imported to Europe. The object has come a long way to the collection of the Wieliczka Museum, because it was made in China during the Kangxi period (1662–1722).more
The presented salt shaker is an example of early white-blue pottery, which is decorated with cobalt blue. It is a rare form of Far Eastern porcelain imported to Europe. The object has come a long way to the collection of the Wieliczka Museum, because it was made in China during the Kangxi period (1662–1722).
Before porcelain production was developed in Europe (starting in Saxon Meissen), porcelain dishes from exotic countries had been imported since the Middle Ages, and their price often exceeded that of similar silverware. For many years, they served only for decoration, and the fashion for them continued to spread. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, large quantities of Chinese and Japanese porcelain flowed into European markets. The products were attractive because of their colourful and exotic patterns, and the unknown raw material and the closely-guarded secrets of production stimulated the curiosity of European buyers. On the wave of fashion for Chinese goods, impressive collections were created, sometimes displaying hundreds of vases, plates, and other dishes in the richest, Chinese palace rooms. The Wieliczka salt shaker probably comes from such a larger set, made of white porcelain, presenting painted decorative characteristics of art from around 1700.
The six-sided salt shaker has the form of a pedestal, with a slightly recessed upper surface, which is decorated with painted vessels and a landscape depicting a part of the coast with sailing boats. On the upper, thickened edge of the salt shaker, there are fields with flowers and symbols. On the six side walls, alternate floral motifs and vases with flowers and various objects are visible.
Interestingly, the form of the object is not typical for ceramic products; numerous, simple planes and sharp angles are rather evidence of similarity to metal salt shakers, with a shallow, small container for salt, which were popular in Europe. This intentional reference can be explained by the production of an object in China, which was ready for its European recipient.
Elaborated by Klementyna Ochniak-Dudek (Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka), © all rights reserved