Chinese Export Porcelain – Plate, 10" diameter, circa late 18th century-early 19th century
The American eagle was a popular motif for porcelain in the early years of trade with China and was probably taken from an American passport.
Depicted in the center of this plate is the United States eagle, holding in its beak a ribbon inscribed E PLURIBUS UNUM, and on its breast a shield with a gilt script JLH monogram.
The American eagle was a popular motif for porcelain in the early years of trade with China and was probably taken from an American passport; the original shield would have had the stars and stripes, here replaced with a monogram. Surrounding the eagle are devices encircled by flowers of the four scholarly pursuits of Chinese scholars: literature, painting, strategy and music.
This pattern, first popularized in an order for Thomas Fitzhugh of England, has since been called the Fitzhugh pattern. The pattern with the eagle is also found in brown, blue, yellow, rose and gold.
Photo courtesy of Christie's New York