Today we take a closer look at two very interesting pieces. A charger from around 1600-1630 and a bowl that’s about the same age. They are both “Kraak Porcelain”. In the seventeenth century, the Dutch where not only robbing the folks in the Far East, they were robbing the rest of the world as well. One day they captured two Portuguese merchantmen.
The ships, filled with Chinese Porcelain were received with great enthusiasm by the Dutch citizens, spurring a huge interest in porcelain. The plates, dishes and bowls decorated in blue on a white ground where rather new to the Dutch whom never saw these kinds of material on such a scale before. The Dutch VOC smelled money and so began the Dutch quest for porcelain. Kraak porcelain is believed to be named after the Portuguese ships (Carracks), in which it was transported. Carrak—or caracca in Italian or Spanish—is itself believed to be a derivative of the Arabic term for the type of trading ships used in Renaissance Mediterranean trade: qaraquir, meaning simply merchant vessels.
For many years now this name is associated with a particular type of export porcelain not only by the Dutch but in other countries as well. A unique study off this kind of Porcelain is done by Maura Rinaldi and has led to a wonderful book named ‘’Kraak Porcelain, a moment in the history of trade’’ both of our pieces are described in this book that is a standard work in the porcelain world.
An absolute must-read for. The book itself is a treasure as it is not printed anymore and one can only find a copy under 500 USD when you are very lucky. The plate pictured here on the left is a typical border VII.2 plate as described by Rinaldi dated to ca 1600-1630. The bowl is a shape IV 1600-1645 crow bowl. Called this way because it had a bird in the centre.
Kraak porcelain as a novelty was so beloved in Holland that it is often pictured on 17th c paintings.
Interested in Kraak Porcelain, visit our shop to learn more!
Here we have our rarest kraak piece in store. Can you imagine it with fruit in one of these 17th c paintings?
Bob also did a vlog on one of these kraak bowl.