Rare Chinese porcelain ewer with Ottoman gem-set tombak mounts


This beautiful historical object is an exceptionally rare find, a combination of blue Ming dynasty porcelain and Ottoman tombak and gemstone mounts.


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Displaying the refined and cosmopolitan nature of the Ottoman court, this superb piece is a blue porcelain Ming dynasty monochrome ewer mounted with Ottoman tombak and inlaid with precious gemstones including turquoise and orange chalcedony.

The Chinese ceramic, pear shaped with an arched strap handle and with a deep-blue glaze, dates to the 16th century, while the Turkish embellishments and additions date to the late 16th/early 17th century. The spout and rim are made from tombak, a brass alloy with a low zinc content also known as red-bronze, which probably contains arsenic due to its bright gold appearance, and are inlaid with turquoise and other colourful gemstones.

Many a Chinese piece was mounted and adorned with metal and gemstone additions in foreign markets. In Europe, this often involved porcelain pieces being mounted with gilt-bronze. The Ottoman court and Turkish craftsmen were equally impressed by Chinese porcelain, and equally fond of reworking and adorning it with their own contributions, the dragonhead mouth to the spout is a particularly delightful addition, and can be compared to museum pieces in the collections of places such as the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul (inv. no. TKS 15/2696). Of great historical significance, and of supreme quality, this piece is a remarkable testament to cross-cultural artistic production.

Tombak: height 20cm, width 17cm, depth 10cm
Case: height 30cm, width 25cm, depth 13cm




Country of Origin
Chinese, Turkish
Date of Manufacture
Late 16th and 17th Century
18th Century and Earlier
Chinese Interest, Ottoman
Gilt Brass, Porcelain, Turquoise
Blue, Gold


20 cm / 7.9 inches
17 cm / 6.7 inches
10 cm / 3.9 inches


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