The Platter with Fish Pattern is one example of many forms of Chinese blue and white ceramics created for export in the 14th century (Garner). The blue and white style of pottery was first created in the early 12th century but did not gain popularity in China until the Ming dynasty from the 14th to 17th century (Macintosh). This style of platter was highly valued and desired by the wealthy and ruling class since it was created in China. True Chinese porcelain was considered to be of the highest possible quality because of the white color and hardness that allowed for thin walled ceramics (Denny). The blue cobalt oxide glaze would have been painted on the white-bodied porcelain before firing. This platter would have been created solely for exportation but may have been consumed within China’s borders as well (Pope).
Symbolically the meaning behind the Platter with Fish Pattern is much simple to decipher. There are three circular bands of designs on the platter with increasing levels of abstraction closer to the edge. In Chinese culture the fish is a symbol of prosperity and wealth especially when paired with the abstract underwater plants that frame the fish. There is some depth of field implied in the central design since there is overlapping eelgrass (Macintosh). The next section of decoration consists of entwined vines and lotus flowers in a scroll pattern that frames the central design. The final layer of diamond shaped geometric design bridges the gap between the edge of the dish and the lotus design. Individually each layer of design formally does not interact with each other but the platter, as a whole possesses a balance between blue and white. The platter symbolizes good fortune to the owner.