Also Called :
Fish Tanks, Foot Baths, Baby’s Baths, Wash Basins
Early to Mid 19th Century
Price Range :
Tank Without Stand: 26 3/4″ diameter x 8 1/2″ high; Rim Lip: 1 3/4″
Tank In Stand: 24″ diameter x 6 3/4″ high; Rim Lip: 1 5/8″
Tank Without Stand: 44 lbs. 15 oz.
Tank With Stand: ???
Tank Without Stand: Jane Wilson, Old Saybrook, CT-1965
Tank With Stand: Private Collector
Description: These Canton tanks have been called many names and, no doubt, they have been put to many different uses by the Chinese and us. Fish Tank, Wash Basin, Foot Bath, Baby’s Bath, Coffee Table when placed in a wooden stand and covered with glass, take your pick. These tanks are the heaviest and largest of all the Canton pattern forms. The one with our dog Molly guarding it weighs almost 45 pounds and is 26 3/4″ in diameter and 8 1/2″ high. We now have pictures of a smaller tank: 24″ diameter and 6 3/4″ high, see last 2 pictures of the tanks in a recent, nicely made stand. Not shown is the round glass top that turns this tank into a coffee table. We believe that the smaller size tanks are rarer. The earliest mention of these tanks and a picture thereof was found by us in the January, 1924 bulletin of The Society For The Preservation of New England Antiquities. They were referred to as: “Fish Tanks”.
The tanks obviously held water, see the picture with the draining hole plugged by a cork. Some are found with stands that made them easier to use for bathing or display of fish or as a table. Inside the tanks are 3 different borders measuring 4″ wide (largest tank) and the overall decoration is among the finest on any Canton pieces. We have yet to see one with poor decoration or color. Note the 1 3/4″ wide top rim lip (largest tank) that has another type of border rarely seen on Canton. Also see the 4 beautiful floral decoration pictures that are on the outside of the tanks. There is a raised, white, 3/8″ wide rib around the outside that interrupts these decorations as the rib is not painted over. The bottoms are not glazed.