This is a unique and wonderful trifoil shaped Canton form. We believe it was designed as a tray for a tea set. The tray is large at 11 3/4" wide x 11 1/2" long and easily holds a teapot, sugar and a creamer (see the last picture). The teapot is the Lighthouse form with a curved spout and twisted handle, the sugar has twisted handles and the cream pitcher is of the narrow spout variety. This tray has a good orange peel surface and the bottom is unglazed.
Museum Gallery Items
These trays are quite rare and there are similarities and differences between the 6 that are pictured. First, the similarities are: all have the Canton pattern in the same place, all have indented corners (see 3rd & 4th pics), all have raised sides (tray heights range from 5/8" to 1"), all have unglazed bottoms, and all have orange peel surfaces. The differences are: 3 of the 6 have tiny valleys in the top rim and one of these (see 4th pic) has blue painted in the valley, the smallest tray is considerably thinner and more delicate than the others, and all but one tray have leaves (see 5th pic) on the 4 outside edges. They range in size from 6 3/4" long to 10 1/2".
This diamond shape tray is different than the similar 4 loop trays. It is more finely painted and the loop border is integrated into the outer xxxxx border. Also, the sides are more slanted than the almost upright sides of the 4 loop trays. There are no outside decorations and the bottom is unglazed. This is the only example of this form we have seen. Accordingly, we would rate this form as very rare and it would be useful as a pin or dresser tray.
Believed to be used as dresser or pin trays. We have recently added a larger example, maybe a second larger one will surface some day. All four shown have lips ranging from 1/4" to 5/8". #2 does not have a rain cloud border. #s 1, 3 & 4 do have the typical rain cloud borders. Only #1 has outside decoration, probably because there is more room for the decoration. All have completely unglazed bottoms except #4 that is marked "CHINA" with a glaze patch over the "CHINA". These are rare and useful Canton forms.