Wan Li Porcelain Cup

Wan Li Porcelain Cup

  • Object number – 3796-JR
  • Material – Porcelain
  • Place of Origin – China
  • Date – c. 1607-1610
  • Context – The Factory
  • Location – Archaearium
  • Category – Foodways

More than a dozen of these fine wine cups have been found on Virginia archaeological sites. Before at least 40 of these wine cups were recovered from the 1613 shipwreck Witte Leeuw in 1976, it was believed that fine porcelain such as this was considered Imperial ware, only for use by the Chinese elite. A 1640s wreck of a Chinese merchantman in the south China Sea, known as the Hatcher wreck, contained very similar wine cups. These later wine cups are more heavily potted and the scroll and flame frieze appears slightly higher up on the body than it does on the Wan Li examples.


Fabric: Thin and fine fabric.

Glaze: Thinly glazed, base entirely glazed except for the footring which has been chafed off lightly. Some are plain, but most are neatly painted in underglaze blue with a scroll design directly above the footring and a flame pattern or spear motif directly above the scroll band.

Form: Wine cups, about 50 mm in height.

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