Chinese Export Plate Decorated with a Music Party, c. 1745
Chinese Export porcelain plate, the center painted with a troubadour playing a lute and reclining near a decanter and two glasses amidst two barrels, while a gentleman caresses a woman playing the triangle; the elaborate border painted with brightly colored scrolls.
This colorful and charming plate is from a special order dinner service. The decoration derives from a print that was sent to China and copied onto each piece, perhaps as many as 200. (At least three other plates from this set survive.) Chinese Export scholar David Howard explains music scenes were a popular motif, "[this] is one of at least six such scenes which illustrate musicians in gently amorous situations". It's unknown for whom the service was made, but Howard suggests it was made for the Continental market. As the original print has not been identified, it's impossible to be any more specific. 
The border on this plate is simply gorgeous. A masterpiece of rococo decoration, the asymmetric motifs, rendered in brilliant harmonious colors, practically tumble around the plate.
1. David Sanctuary Howard, "The Choice of the Private Trader- The Private Market in Chinese Export Porcelain illustrated from the Hodroff Collection" (London: Zwemmer, 1994), 88.
China c. 1745
Condition: There is a small rim flake, as seen in the photo. There is faint glaze crack to the back, as indicated by the red arrows. It does not go through to the front.
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