The Transitional Period 1620-1683
In the period 1620-50 the Chinese Imperial court reduced its orders for porcelain and the factories had to find new clients. The Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC), was an important customer for export wares. The Company now had a trading settlement on Formosa (Taiwan) from where porcelain had been ordered in China from 1634. Besides dishes and plates made in traditional Kraak styles, pieces that were made after European models, such as candlesticks, salts or beer mugs were also delivered. Chinese shapes were very diverse, too, and included bowls, covered jars, bottles, teapots or wine ewers. A new shape was the ‘rolwagen’, a tall, slender cylindrical vase. Transitional porcelain is relatively thick, well potted, and beautifully finished with a smooth, clear glaze. The decorations in underglaze cobalt blue frequently show a continuous figurative scene in a landscape. Porcelain painters often used woodcut illustrations from Chinese books as sources for their decorations. A special feature on export wares for the VOC is the ‘tulip’ motif, probably derived from Dutch tiles. As with Kraak porcelain, the shapes and decorations of Transitional porcelain were frequently copied by Delft potters.
Transitional wares 1620-1683 - Page 1
Height 205 mm (8.07 inch), diameter 129 mm (5.08 inch), diameter of mouthrim 28 mm (1.10 inch), diameter of footring 73 mm (2.87 inch), weight 966 grams (34.08 ounce (oz.))
Ewer on footring, the neck ending in a short triangular spout. Curved C-shaped handle pierced at the top for a mount. The shallow conical base is glazed. Decorated in underglaze blue with a fenced garden with maple trees, precipitous rocks enveloped by billowing clouds and a resting scholar holding a fan in his right hand. To his left two servants, one holding books, the other a covered dish (?). Round the shoulder a flower scroll border and on the neck two vertical Dutch tulips with symmetrically placed leaves. Round the bottom of the body a stylised lotus-petals border and round the foot a flower scroll border. On the handle a flower spray with cloud motifs.
In the period (1630-1645) the VOC (Dutch East India Company, 1602–1799) ordered Chinese porcelain through the Company's factory on Formosa (Taiwan). Besides bowls and dishes made in traditional kraak style, new shapes (like this ewer made after European models), decorations and combinations of traditional motifs emerged and the wares made in this period are quite extraordinary in their creativeness, freedom and variety. (Jörg 1984, p.14), (Jörg 2011/1, p.123)
Such ewers after a European (German stoneware) model were made especially for the VOC (Dutch East India Company, 1602–1799) as well as for the Dutch private traders. As they were supplied without lids, a mount could be attached in the Netherlands, Characteristic of this export Transitional porcelain is the heavy potted body, the smooth glaze, the all-over figural decoration, and the 'tulip' motif on the neck. The motif of a scholar who has retreated into nature for a picnic, to study scrolls, or for a spell of contemplation with his servants and or colleagues is common for this period. (Jörg 2002/2, p.66)
For a similarly shaped and decorated Japanese Arita ewer, please see:
For a similarly shaped and decorated Dutch (Delft) ewer, please see:
For identically shaped and decorated ewers, please see:
- Het Chinese porselein in de collectie Frits Lugt / The Frits Lugt collection of Chinese porcelains, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer in Mededelingenblad Nederlandse Vereniging van Vrienden van de Ceramiek, vols. 103/104, Lochem 1981), pp.62-63, cat. 65.
- Jan Menze van Diepen Stichting. Selectie uit de collectie Oosterse keramiek. (Jan Menze van Diepen Foundation. A Selection from the Collection of Oriental Ceramics), (C.J.A. Jörg, Slochteren, 2002), pp.66-67, cat. 39.
For identically shaped or similarly decorated Transitional objects, please see:
- Chinese export porcelain. Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, London 1974), cat. 40 & 42.
- Chinesisches und japanisches Porzellan in europäischen Fassungen, ( D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Verlag Klinkhardt & Biermann, Braunschweig,1980), p.207, Abb. 78a.
- The Wrestling Boys. Chinese and Japanese Ceramics from the 16th to the 18th Century in the Collection at Burghley House, (The Trustees of Burghley House, Stamford 1981), p.60, cat. 143.
- Japanese porcelain. A collector's guide to general aspects and decorative motifs, (P.L.W. Arts, Lochem 1983), p.41, Plate 11a.
- Interaction in Ceramics. Oriental porcelain and Delftware. (C.J.A. Jörg, Hong Kong, 1984), pp.58-59, cat. 16.
- 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.208, cat. 243.
- Austrumu porcellans un Niderlande. Austrumu un Rietumu mijiedarbiba 17. gadsimta / Oriental Porcelain and the Netherlands. Interaction between East and West in the 17th century, (C.J.A. Jörg, Art Museum Riga Bourse, Riga, 2011), pp. 176-177, cat. 56.
Condition: A firing flaw to the footring and two old restorations to the rim and the underside of the attachment of the handle with some scratches to the glaze.