Is the similarity between the Irish and Chinese sauceboats coincidental?
No! The Chinese sauce boat is about 30 years older than the Irish version. Europeans were very interested in acquiring Chinese blue and white porcelain, but it could be quite expensive. European potters began making their own blue-and-white ceramics, using Chinese examples as models. In this case, the Irish potters were using low-firing earthenware covered with a white tin glaze to imitate high-firing porcelain.
These seem very fancy for objects that are supposed to hold sauce.
The dining table was a place where eighteenth-century individuals could demonstrate their taste and wealth to others. Although sauce boats are familiar to us today, they were a new type of object in this period; sauces prepared in the French style were a sign of the diner's sophistication!
Are these replicas?
Just about everything you see in our museum is original pieces! Any replicas will be noted in the label. All of these ceramic pieces are centuries old, made in Europe and Asia.
I'm curious, what would make you think they are replicas?
Because they are in such good condition! I could not believe they are originals.
It's true that ceramics will break if they are dropped, for example, but other than that they are very durable! Because of the high temperatures of the firing process, glazes keep their color and the clay bodies keep their shape.
Our collection includes intact ceramics from as many as 5000 years ago!