We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Large dish with design of Chinese characters

circa 1600


Swatow ware


  • Details

    Other Title
    Swatow ware polychrome dish with design of Chinese characters 'tian xia yi' ('everything under the heavens') in central medallion surrounded by the characters for the 24 points of the Chinese compass in a ring
    Place where the work was made
    circa 1600
    Media category
    Materials used
    porcelain with enamel decoration, the characters in the central medallion read 'everything under heaven' ('tian xia yi'), surrounded in a circle by the characters for the 24 points of the Chinese compass
    8.9 x 37.8 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Anthony Odillo Maher 1998
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Swatow ware

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Swatow refers to a large family of coarse provincial porcelains, often with vigorously painted decoration. They were produced in imitation of Kraak porcelains in a number of kilns not far from the port of Shantou (Swatow in Dutch records) in Guangdong province in southern China. Swatow wares are roughly made, often with grit adhering to their foot rims, while their decorations have the freedom and verve characteristic of late Ming ceramics. They have been found along international trade routes of the late 1500s and 1600s. Most typical of Swatow wares are the large dishes, decorated in blue-and-white, polychrome enamels and, less commonly, monochrome colours over a slip decoration.

    'Swatow wares', The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.140.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • The Way We Eat, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Apr 2021–13 Jun 2022

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Swatow ware

See all 9 works