rouge de fer armorial dinner plate
Kangxi, c. 1710
Diameter: 8 ½ inches (21.5cm)
A very rare small dinner plate enamelled in rouge-de-fer and gold with a central armorial shield, surrounded by scrolling vine with clusters of grapes, the cavetto with floral reserves and chrysanthemums on a swastika trellis ground.
References: Castro 2007, p107, the blue and white plate with attribution of these arms; Felgueiras Gayo Carvalhos de Basto 1989, Nobiliário das Famílias de Portugal, Braga, 2nd Edition, Vol II, p357, genealogy of this family
The arms have recently been identified as those of Pedro Vaz Soares Bacelar, born circa 1645 (or in another text 1680), the son of Duarte Claudio Huet and Constança Malheiro Pereira Bacelar Sotomaior. Constança was the daughter of Marcos Malheiro Pereira Bacelar & Helena de Meireles Sotomaior, Marcos was Knight of the Order of Christ and General of the Minho army and significantly involved in paper manufacture in the city of Braga. Pedro was probably named after his 4 x great uncle, Pedro Vaz Bacelar who became Friar Geronimo.
Pedro was an Infantry Captain and adventurer in India and seems to have travelled widely in the Portuguese colonies, becoming Governor of Mombasa Fort. He married Maria Cyrne (her third marriage - she had first married Rodrigues Garcia de Tavora in India and then Roque Pacheco Corte-Real). They had one son recorded, Carlos Vaz Cyrne who died without issue.
The arms here are loosely drawn and the crest has become a deer rather than a lion or leopard with a vine leaf on its head. The animal is also facing the 'wrong' direction as the convention for crests is to face the other way. However this suggests that the Chinese artists were presented with a seal fob or ring to copy - and this, of course, would have the crest reversed so a wax imprint would then be correct. Such a small item might also be difficult to read and could explain the demi-lion with a vine leaf on its forehead (something completely unfamiliar to the Chinese) being interpreted as a deer.
A blue and white example has been previously published, but was then unidentified. This iron-red version has not been published before. It is very unusual to have a service rendered in two colour like this. The use of scrolling vine in the decoration is a feature of porcelain made for the Portuguese Market in this period.