Sold Ceramics - Sold Blue and White wares since 1722 - Western Shapes - Page 1
Height 26 mm (1.02 inch), dimensions base 74 mm (2.91 inch) x 57 mm (2.24 inch), weight 138 grams (4.87 ounce (oz.))
Salt of oblong octagonal shape, on a flat unglazed base. The rectangular top has a rectangular indention in the centre. Decorated in underglaze blue. On the central indention a bouquet of flower. On the flat rectangular top and on the sides flower heads with leafy scrolls. Round the foot a upturned pointed leaf-shaped border.
Throughout history salt - and thus a salt cellar as well - has always been considered to be of great importance for a meal. It made food tastier and masked its spoilage, while it furthermore was also used to actually preserve food. All in all, salt was indeed simply seen as a basic necessity of life. It had to be imported for the Dutch market, for instance from Southern Europe or from the salt mines in Germany, which made it an expensive commodity. Moreover - due to its reference to the Biblical expression of Jesus calling his disciples the 'salt of the earth' - the use of salt has for centuries also been placed in a religious context.
At the dinner table salt was therefore commonly given a prominent place in especially for this purpose designed salt cellars, which particularly in the 17th century were rather large. Though commonly made of silver, pewter or ceramics, porcelain ones were at times also manufactured to order in China for the Dutch East India Company. Wooden salt containers were used as models. Around 1700 Chinese porcelain salt cellars were available in all kind of shapes, though by then their sizes were starting to decrease. In the course of the 18th century salt cellars continued to get smaller, less high and more angular. (source: The World at Home: Asian porcelain and Delft pottery held from 17 June 2017 to 10 March 2019 at the Groninger Museum, The Netherlands)
This salt falls into that last category, it was made in the second half of the 18th century and most likely after an European glass model of that time.
For a similarly sized and shaped and decorated in famille rose enamels, please see:
Condition: Two small chips to the foot.
Exhibition: The World at Home: Asian porcelain and Delft pottery held from 17 June 2017 to 10 March 2019 at the Groninger Museum, The Netherlands