A selection of ceramics through the ages (5 second delay) Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology The Collections:
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  • Museum Accession No.: EA1978.571
  • Catalogue No.: 229
  • Object type: Dish
  • Kiln/Location: Kakiemon, Arita
  • Period/Date: late 17th century
  • Dimensions: H. 4.5 cm, D. 24.8 cm
  • Provenance: 1978.571
  • Description: Octagonal dish. Wide everted rim, flanged and brown-edged. Gently curving sides moulded to angles of rim. Kakiemon palette, no yellow, with gold. Central 'Hob-in-the-Well' design. Dense floral border. Test hole in foot rim.

    This celebrated pattern derives from the Chinese story of the 11th-century statesman Sima Guang (Jp: Shiba Onko), illustrating lateral thinking and presence of mind. When, as a boy, his friend fell into a giant water-jar, and as Guang was not strong enough to pull him out, he took a large stone and smashed the jar. The English name apparently derives from the name of a farce by Colley Cibber of 1711 'Flora or Hob-in-the-Well, adapted from a play by Thomas Doggett of 1698. The pattern comes in two sizes. For other examples, see, e.g., Jenyns, 1965, pl. 76C; Nippon toji zenshu, 24, 1976, pl. 52; Idemitsu, 1990, pl. 532. This pattern was copied at several factories in Europe, in China and in Dutch decoration on the white body. There are at least two Meissen versions of this pattern, the variations being in the size of the figures and in the abbreviation of the border. For the closest copy, see the example in the British Museum, illustrated in Porcelain for Palaces, 1990, no. 192; for the version with the simpler and narrower border and with smaller figures see Lassen, Davids Samling Meissen Porcelaen, 1985, no. 59; and Hetjens-Museum, 1997, no. 151. For a Chelsea copy, see Porcelain for Palaces, 1990, no. 192.

  • Exhibited: Berlin, 1993, fig. 121
  • Similar Example:
  • Illustrated:
Main View
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Detail of Decoration
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