Batavia Brown (Capucin) wares 1700-1800
In the Netherlands, porcelain decorated in this type of underglaze brown has historically been called "Batavia Brown" or "Capucijnergoed" ("Chick-pea ware", after the legume). The first name may have been coined because most goods exported to The Netherlands from the East were sent via Batavia and has nothing to do with a Batavian production or decoration, It is a very common type with the decoration usually contained within medallions. Occasionally, a gold decoration has been painted on the brown glaze. The brown colour is achieved by using iron oxide as a pigment, which like underglaze blue, needs to be fired at high temperatures. Considerable quantities were exported to the Western and Inter-Asian markets from c.1700. The pieces are rarely refined and can be considered as articles for everyday use by the middle-classes. (Jörg 2002/2, p.120)
Batavia Brown (Capucin wares) 1700-1800
Height 195 mm (7.68 inch), diameter 95 mm (3.74 inch), diameter of mouthrim 6 mm (0.24 inch), diameter of footring 46 mm (1.81 inch), weight 386 grams (13.62 ounce (oz.))
Double-gourd rosewater sprinkler with spherical body gradually tapering into a long-pointed neck on a tall, spreading foot with a deep recessed glazed base. Covered with underglaze light brown with reserved decoration in underglaze blue of fan-shaped panels filled with a riverscape and leaf-shaped panels filled with a flowering plant.
The shape draws on Persian metalwork designs from the 16th and 17th centuries. Fragrant rosewater (gulaul) was used for refreshment, cleaning and scenting at both religious and secular events in the Islamic world. In Western settlements all over Asia they were widely-used as well. (Düsseldorf 2015, p.276)
Rose water sprinklers, known as gulabpash, have been used in India since the Mughal period for the purpose of refreshing oneself by moistening one's face, washing hands after a meal or for sprinkling a visitor as a gesture of welcome. Dutch traders discovered them in India and subsequently ordered porcelain bottles in various designs to be made in China. These bottles were partly sold in the Ottoman Empire, where local silversmiths fashioned artistic stoppers for them. Today, rose water bottles are found in the Sultan's Collection in Istanbul as well as in some Dutch museums, for example the Princessehof in Leeuwarden or the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. (Suebsman 2019, p.74)
Perfumation and thurification have a very long history and can be traced back to prehistoric times. For thurification various types of incense burners were and are used until this day. For perfumation, rose-water was used that was stored and applied in specially made sprinklers. (META-Museum: Chinese Export Silver for the Islamic World, (A. von Ferscht, www.chinese-export-silver.com))
Rosewater sprinklers were are known to be decorated in underglaze blue, in 'Red & Gold' or 'Rouge de Fer' , or the body was (partly) covered in powder blue, Batavia brown or some other monochrome colour. At first they were only exported and used as such in Batavia later on in the West they were often fitted with metal or silver mounts. In the Netherlands they served as curiosities and decorative items. (Jörg & Van Campen 1997, p136)
For an identically shaped, sized and decorated rosewater sprinkler please see;
- Porzellanschätze der Kangxi-Zeit / Porcelain Treasures of the Kangxi Period, (Exhibition catalogue, Deutsch-Chinesische Verlagsanstalt, Düsseldorf / Beijing 2015), p.276, cat 154.