On loan from the Peabody Essex Museum
Salem, Massachusetts, gift of the estate of Harry T. Peters, Jr.
Jingedezhen and Canton, China

Punch bowls with enameled views of the foreign settlement at Canton are rare. The Danish, Swedish, French White Bourbon, American, Swedish, British and Dutch flags depicted on this bowl fly in front of the hongs of Canton, where Western traders lived and conducted their mercantile transactions. The presence of the American flag dates this bowl to after 1784. Bowls such as this were used to serve alcoholic punch in the 18th century. Punch, a word derived from the Hindi word for five, often contained five ingredients – sugar, water, lime juice, spices, and wine or spirits.