Dating: c.1770-90 (Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period)
Dimensions (cm): 141 x Ø 54
Inv. no.: PD0503
One of two large “sentinel pots” – from the “famille-rose” – painted in pink, blue and green, shaded in white and detailed in gold. The decoration comprises two large phoenixes, resting on jagged rocks, in a garden with fences and branches of peonies. The remaining decoration includes flower sprigs, in the Meissen style.
The manufacture of these pots required great skill, whether in the execution of the complex painting, in the joining of the different parts or in the temperature control of the wood-fired ovens.
It is believed that “Sentinel Pots” would decorate the interiors of palaces, flanking the access to halls and replacing the men who stood there as “sentinels or guards of honour”. In other words, the pots replaced the men and took their name. Another theory for the adoption of the term “Sentinel Pot” originated in a rather unusual exchange of goods between Augustus the Strong – Elector of Saxony and King of Poland – and Wilhelm I of Prussia. Augustus traded a regiment of fit, well-trained men for 151 pieces of oriental porcelain from the palaces of Charlottenburg and Oranienburg. Among the pieces, there were 48 large blue and white lidded pots, which, due to their size, were compared to the Regiment’s men.