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Plate

ca. 1700
Origin: Asia, China
L: 7 1/2"
Porcelain, hard-paste
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Acc. No. T125-2013,4
Plate excavated from the site of the Prentis Store, 18CA–BN427K
Label:The image on this plate was likely taken from a woodblock illustration of a 13th-century Chinese opera called Romance of the Western Chamber. The opera was revived in the 17th century, and a number of porcelain plates were decorated with images from it. In 1721, Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, owned thirty such plates.

This piece is one of the highest quality blue and white porcelains recovered archaeologically in Williamsburg. It is decorated around the rim on the reverse, a device typically found only on better pieces. The painting is also well executed. The property where the plate was recovered was occupied during the first three decades of the 18th century by Dr. Archibald Blair, who was also a merchant.