Chine de commande - Western Subjects 1680-1800 - Various Subjects - Various
Teacup and saucer
Height of teacup 44 mm (1.73 inch), diameter of rim 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of footring 35 mm (1.37 inch), weight 52 grams (1.83 ounce (oz.))
Height of saucer 29 mm (1.14 inch), diameter of rim 121 mm (4.76 inch), diameter of footring 72 mm (2.83 inch), weight 93 grams (3.28 ounce (oz.))
Teacup and saucer on footrings with moulded walls in the shape of lotus leaves and lobed rims. Decorated in two shades of underglaze blue, various overglaze enamels and gold with the so-called 'tobacco leaf' design with veined broad leaves intermingled with flowers, sprouting from a stem; the upper section is left free, except for a single slender flower spray. On the reverse rim two flower heads and half a flower head. The teacup is decorated en suite.
The term 'tobacco leaf' is widely used now, but in fact it is not the tobacco plant that is depicted here. However the leaves are possibly not those of the tobacco plant, but are as likely to be derived, possibly with some help from a European or Indian textile designer, from the 'thick tropical, variegated-leaf foliage of Southern Asia and the Pacific' while the blossoms almost certainly are hibiscus and passion fruit. Others suggest it might be anona or custard-apple. The heavy, colourful and decorative pattern, made well into the 19th century, appealed to the European public. The several varieties (at least five principal variants of the 'tobacco leaf' motif are known which include birds and figures among the leaves) enjoyed great popularity and were copied on European ceramics as well. (Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 2, p.542, Jörg 1989/2, pp.104-105, cat. 30, Howard 1994, p.184, cat. 211, Litzenburg 2003, p.225, cat. 231)
For identically decorated objects, please see:
- Collecting Chinese Export Porcelain, (E. Gordon, Universe Books, New York, 1977), Plate VIII.
- China for the West. Chinese Porcelain and other Decorative Arts for Export illustrated from the Mottahedeh Collection, (D.S. Howard & J. Ayers, Philip Wilson Publishers for Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, London 1978), vol. 2, p.542, cat. 557.
- Christie's pictorial history of Chinese ceramics, (A. du Boulay, Phaidon-Christie's, Oxford 1984), p.279, cat. 3.
- Chinese Export Porcelain. Chine de Commande from the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels, exhibition catalogue Hong Kong Museum of Art, (C.J.A. Jörg, The Urban Council, Hong Kong, 1989), pp.104-105, cat 30.
- The Choice of the Private Trader. The Private Market in Chinese Export Porcelain illustrated from the Hodroff Collection, (D.S. Howard, Zwemmer, London, 1994), p.184, cat. 211.
Condition saucer: Two fleabites to the footring, three frits to the rim and an X-shaped hairline to the base.
Condition teacup: A frit with a Y-shaped hairline. three separate hairlines and a chip to the rim.