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Fragment of a dish

1736-1750
Origin: China, Jingdezhen
L: 1 7/8"
Porcelain, hard-paste
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Acc. No. T125-2013,3
Fragment of a dish excavated from the site of Henry Wetherburn’s Tavern, 09NA–03194
Label:This fragment comes from the center of a saucer dish decorated with a shou character surrounded by bats, symbols of good luck. Shou is the Chinese character for longevity, one of the Five Blessings (longevity, wealth, health, love of virtue, and a peaceful death). Frequently surrounded by bats, the shou symbol appears on every conceivable decorative art in China. However, porcelain with this decoration is uncommon in a colonial context. This fragment was recovered from a trash pit at Wetherburn’s Tavern. The date suggests that it was in use at the site during Henry Weatherburn’s occupation. While Wetherburn was known to own Chinese porcelain, it is unusual that he had a piece likely produced for the domestic Chinese market.