University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number R1989.16.1
Object Name Plate
Description Thrown plate decorated in underglaze blue and overglaze famille verte enamels with a feathered border at the rim and a central scene of a man dancing on a checquered floor with the inscription "Weg Gekke Actionisten (Away Foolish Shareholders)."

This plate is one of six made to satarize the financial collapse of the South Sea Company and to serve as a warning for future investors.

The South Sea Company was established in Britain in 1711, ostensibly to trade with the South Seas (Southern Pacific). However, it was more of a financial management organization than commercial trading enterprise, depending on rising stock prices for profit. Vast fortunes were made as the Company's stocks rose in value, which led to speculation in even riskier ventures. In 1720 the bubble burst, the stock prices crashed, and the economy experienced what some economic historians consider to be the first modern recession.

The character on the plate is from the commedia dell'arte, which was a form of improvisational theater that integrated current events into their satirical performances.

The plate is decorated in the famille verte, or green family of colors, which is a group of translucent enamels developed by the Chinese around 1680. The colors are earth tones of green, brown-purple, yellow, and iron red. The palette was popular from about 1690 to 1730, when it was replaced by the famille rose palette.
Year Range from 1715
Year Range to 1725
Material Hard-Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, China
Collection The Reeves Center
Credit line Museum Purchase
On View No