Ewer in the shape of a crayfish


This crayfish, which dates from the Ming Dynasty in China, was one of the very first pieces of porcelain in Dresden. In 1590, it was among the porcelain which Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, sent as a gift to Christian I, Elector of Saxony.

In China, the porcelain crayfish may well have been a water dropper to mix ink, but in Florence it was used as a pepper pot. In Dresden, the crayfish was kept in the palace’s art collection, the Kunstkammer, where, for many years, it was thought to be produced in Italy.

Material & Technique
Porcelain, painting: overglaze colours (émail sur biscuit)
China, Jingdezhen, Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Jiajing period (1522-1566)
Inventory number
PO 3479