Very Rare/Unique Canton Gallery


This gallery contains the unique and the very rarest of Canton forms that are known. Unique Canton forms are ones that I believe are one of a kind that I have owned or seen pictures of or heard about. You can only speculate that a “unique” made many years ago was an experiment or was originally intended to be decorated in another pattern. To date, I know only of the 12 unique examples included below. One has to be careful that unique forms are not confused with “fantasy” forms of recent manufacture.

Very rare forms are those with only 2 or 3 examples known. I have included the canister sets because, although individual examples are rare, sets of 5 or more are considered very rare.

Grouped here in one gallery, very rare/unique forms are also in the All Forms Gallery.

BOWLS-18 Scallops (Deep, Clobbered, Rain Cloud Border)

It took us almost 50 years to find this Clobbered, Scalloped, Deep Bowl! Another one was the frontispiece of Jane Wilson’s 2nd booklet published in 1966 and also pictured in her 3rd booklet, 1977, on page 10. That bowl is now in the Macculloch Hall Historical Museum in Morristown, NJ. An example was not in Herbert Schiffer’s book.

The 18 scallops and borders are intricately gilded and partially worn. The clobbered colors are pink, green, yellow, blue, black and orange. Flowers, leaves, butterflies, and vegetables adorn the insides. It is said that such gilding and clobbering was done in Europe, possibly in the Netherlands. The outside has the standard 3 blue flowers decoration.


This is a very large 18″ diameter and heavy, almost 9 pounds, bowl which was used to skim cream and pour off through the little spout. It is early and very well decorated. This is a Canton/Nanking cross piece: it has the typical Canton scene without a figure on the bridge but it does have a Nanking border. It also appears in the Mixed Pattern Gallery. The bowl has a 1″ blue rim and a 2 1/2″ wide spout that is 2 1/4″ long. It is decorated on the outside by 3 large flowers. The bottom is unglazed.


Probably unique in the Canton pattern, Shaving Bowls were exported to Europe as early as the 1730s in other patterns. Shaving bowls have a wide rim from which a semi-circular piece is removed. Thus, the bowl is held up to one’s throat as the person shaves or is shaved by a barber. We believe most of them were oval but some round ones probably were also made.


These three Handleless Sugars are very rare. We have included the far right one although we are not 100% sure it is a period piece. What they have in common: inset rims for the tops (see 3rd pic), 3 sampans pictured on each top, glazed bottoms, footed bottoms. They have different knobs, a pointed blue ball knob, a blue ball & a white ball. 2 of the 3 have flat rim lips, one has a turned up lip. The 2 flat lips are painted blue, the third is not.


We originally thought the first boat shaped bulb tray we saw was unique until we found a second one and heard of two others. One of these others is of a smaller size and is shown on the right here. They are not illustrated in either Jane Wilson’s or Herbert Schiffer’s books. Their most likely use was as bulb trays because of their depth. These trays did not have covers, there are no inset rims.


Believed to be unique and used as a bulb tray. It is not illustrated in either of Jane Wilson’s or Herbert Schiffer’s books. This elaborately shaped and difficult to make octagonal tray has curved rims in the corners. Cachpots would have held round pots which would not have been suitable for this form. It would have held dirt or pebbles in which bulbs/plants would have been grown.

BUTTER DISHES (Dome Top, Round Base)

There are three Dome Top Butter Dish base variations: octagonal, 12 sided and round bases. They are discussed on three separate pages. All are quite hard to find with all 3 parts in perfect condition. Shown here is the 12 sided shaped base dish which is considered rarer than the octagonal base dish. The three parts for all are: the dome top with a pointed knob, a pierced (4 sets of 9 holes each) liner bowed slightly upward, and a base. The bases have a glazed inset rim for the liners and they have glazed bottoms.


Extremely rare if not unique is this magnificient pair of deep blue and finely decorated Cachepots. They were bought from Jane Wilson of Old Saybrook, CT in 1966. Warning note: there have been several modern copies made of slightly larger size.

Be sure to see and enlarge the 3rd picture which shows the results of the new owner having planted boxwoods in the Cachpots. Beautifully done!

These extraordinary Cachepots and their stands are hexagonal in shape. The 1/2″ top rims have a 3/16″ wide blue strip in the middle of the rims and there is a 3/4″ diameter hole in the bottoms for drainage. The stands do not have a rain cloud border. Both the pots and the stands have 6 triangular shaped feet each about 1/4″ high and all the bottoms are unglazed.

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