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Dish with Europeans Playing Musical Instruments

A work made of porcelain painted in underglaze blue.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of porcelain painted in underglaze blue.


Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi period (1661–1722)



About this artwork

The design of musicians in the center of this dish is based on a print of a French “costume party” designed by French engravers. One possible source is the engraving titled Symphonie du Tympanum, du Luth et de la Flut d’Allemagne [Symphony of Dulcimer, Lute, and German Flute] by Nicholas Bonnart (1646-1718) and Robert Bonnart (1652-after 1686). Chinese porcelains decorated with such images reflected prevailing European fashion for masquerades and were generally commissioned for export to France, Italy, and Holland. As characteristic of many export wares ordered and shipped abroad by maritime companies and private traders, the panels of Chinese landscape encircling this French image create a truly multicultural composition.

Although this dish was most likely intended for a French or other European client, the introduction of European aristocratic culture to China may also have piqued the interest of wealthy Chinese consumers in such romantically exotic designs.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Dish with Europeans Playing Musical Instruments


China (Artist's nationality)




Porcelain painted in underglaze blue


5.5 × 34.1 cm (2 3/16 × 13 7/16 in.); Diam.: 34.1 cm (13 7/16 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Henry C. Schwab

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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