Persona Effects, Jan. 20

Published 12:29 pm Monday, January 22, 2018

Question: Hi Jerry. I bought this old platter at an auction. I hope it wasn’t a bad decision, but I just loved the ancient look of it. It is very heavy, like pottery or stoneware. It measures 17 by 13 inches. There are no markings on the back. It’s a blue and white pattern, similar to blue willow, so I guess it’s Chinese or Japanese. It is a meat carving platter and one end is slightly lower, with a shallow basin to catch the juices. There are runnels in the platter to direct the juice. Does this mean it was made for the Western market? There is one very small chip on the edge. Tell me how much you think it’s worth and I’ll know if I paid too much!

Answer: Wow! What a stunner. I love it. I don’t think that it’s ever a bad decision to buy something this beautiful. 

You have porcelain meat tray with well. This held the meat after it was carved. Don’t

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actually carve on it. It will scratch the porcelain and ruin the edge of your knife. The well at the side was indeed meant to catch the tasty juices.

You’re right on the pattern. It’s similar to blue willow. More properly it’s Canton ware. Canton ware was a Chinese export ware that was initially made, glazed and fired in Jingdezhen and decorated in Guangzhou. Both of these regions of China were romantically called “Canton.” And it was exported to

England and American by the ship full. 

No really, they used it as ballast to keep the ships from pitching over. So there is a lot of it. However, they used it as the Corelle of the day. So nice pieces are a good thing to have.

Yes, the symbols are the same ones that are featured in blue willow. We’re not going to talk about that today, as we’ve covered that sweet legend before in my articles. Let’s talk about your handsome piece.

I can tell from the glaze, dry footing and those little tiny holes in the glaze, that it dates to the early 19th century, maybe the 1820s or 1830s. Dry footing is where areas, like the bottoms of feet, were wiped free of any glaze, so they could be taken out of the kiln easier.

It’s a rich beautiful blue. A goodly size and a classic symbol of grace and elegance. Sadly, grace and elegance doesn’t always stand proud like it used to. Go back to 1988 or so and this platter even with the small chip would have sold for $400 or more. Today, with more relaxed lifestyles, I think that you’d see this piece at a good antiques show priced for about $175. Hope you did well with it.

Thanks for sharing it with us.