The production of tin-glazed earthenware was started in Portugal in the mid-16th century by Flemish ceramicists based in Portugal. This vase bears the date 1608 and is the oldest known piece of Portuguese tin-glazed earthenware in the world. The second oldest piece also belongs to the Museum. It is a 1621 bowl (609 Cer CMP/ MNSR), with early Chinese influence in its decoration. Both pieces were produced in workshops, prior to the creation of the manufactories.
Pots with lids and strainers were possibly used to make wine flavoured with herbs, which would be infused in the strainer. Although this habit existed in Portugal, it was more common in Germanic countries, to which these pots and other types of ‘white ware’ were exported.
The careful painting of both the two-headed eagle and the camellias is a further sign of the pot’s quality. Camellias appear frequently on tin-glazed earthenware pieces and tile panels from the 1st half of the 17th century.