Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Sold Ceramics - Sold Blue and White wares since 1722 - Western Shapes - Page 1


Object 2011542


Mustard pot






Height with cover 86 mm (3.39 inch), height without cover 76 mm (2.99 inch), diameter handle to spout 104 mm (4.09 inch), diameter of mouthrim 67 mm (2.64 inch), diameter of footring 46 mm (1.81 inch), weight with cover 268 grams (9.45 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 56 grams (1.98 ounce (oz.))


Cylindrical mustard pot on high, splayed foot, recessed base. Curved C-shaped handle. Domed pierced cover. Decorated in underglaze blue with flowering plants between two borders with reserves and half flower heads on a trellis pattern ground. On the foot and round the mouthrim a pointed leaves pattern border. On the handle a single flower spray. The cover is decorated en suite.


In his book 'Geldermalsen. History and Porcelain', Jörg states, more extensive is a dinner service in blue-and-white depicting a river landscape with to the right a promontory and trees, a pavilion and a fence. At any rate five sizes of serving dishes, of 42, 39, 35.5, 32 and 29 cm. a saucer dish of 26 cm, dinner plates, a deep dish of 38 cm. tureens, soup plates, salt cellars and rather curious mugs with handle and lid, on a high spreading foot, belong to this service. The mugs are intriguing, since this is a rare model and its use is not known. Neither the orders, nor the shipping invoices or unpacking books of previous years give any description of such a mug with lid on a foot.

It may be a mustard pot, an object only mentioned in the unpacking books of 1749 as part of a 110-part service, which apart from the usual items also included two mustard pots. If this conjuncture is correct and if the services of 1751 did include two of these mustard pots, we may suppose that the Geldermalsen carried at least 28 services of this type since 56 of these posts have surfaced. (Jörg 1986/1. pp.60-63)


In his book 'The Hatcher Porcelain Cargoes. The Complete Record', Sheaf states that Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) lists do not mention their purpose, but they most likely contained dry powdered spices or mustard, There is no aperture in the rim of the shallow lid to accommodate the shaft of a spoon or ladle (such as one finds with earlier mustard pots or on some contemporary sauce and soup tureens), so diners took a pinch by hand, spoon or knife-tip, like salt. (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.130)


Just like salt, mustard was once an important taste-inducing additive on the dinner table, though it had less status because it was locally made. Still the luxurious mustard pots made of Chinese or Japanese 17th century porcelain were quite large. After 1720 the use of mustard jars appears to diminish, though the ones salvaged from the wreck of the Geldermalsen (1752) still has a considerable size.


Mustard used to have to be stirred before use, which is why mustard pots often had a little opening in their lids for a small stirring stick. Sometimes such a pot was fitted with a new nice silver lid, which lacked an opening. A tiny piece of pottery was then broken out of the rim, in order to allow the stirring stick or spoon to fit in.


There is some uncertainty about the shape of mustard pots and as to how it changed in the course of time. As for pots with an opening for a spoon in their lids or rims, it is clear that we're dealing with mustard pots. In the case of the pots which lack an opening, we can only guess.


Lunsingh Scheurleer suggests that these covered pots might have been used as custard pots. (Lunsingh Scheurleer 1989, p. 136)


For similarly shaped and sized mustard pots, please see:

Condition: A chip with a connected hairline to the rim and three glaze rough spots to the edge.



Jörg 1986/1, fig. 40

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.172

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1989, cat. 136


Price: Sold.


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