Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Japanese Porcelain

 

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800

 

Page 1

The knowledge and expertise required to make porcelain was already present in Japan as far back as the early 17th century. According to legend a Korean potter discovered clay suitable for making porcelain near Arita on the island of Kyushu in the south of Japan in around 1605. Porcelain made from this clay, called shoki-Imari, was intended for the foreign market and soon acquired a surprisingly characteristic Japanese style of decoration, first with a blue underglaze decoration and later in enamel colours. The experience of the manufacturers with enamel colours turned out to be of great importance later. (source: Groninger Museum, Groningen) 

 

When Japanese potters started to make porcelain. It was inspired by underglaze blue porcelain manufactured in kilns of Southern China. By the mid-17th century, Chinese porcelain went into decline due to social unrest and accompanying dynastic change. Dutch merchants, from their base on the small island of Deshima, near Nagasaki, were permitted to trade with Japan. Responding to European demand, the Dutch encouraged the fledgling Japanese porcelain industry to fill the gap left by China.

 

The porcelain the Dutch brought to Europe in the 17th century was in most cases consciously designed to cater to western tastes. To ensure that they would find a ready market, the Dutch often made wooden or earthenware models of designs and sent those to Japan to be copied. 

 

Flasks, ewers and large dishes are examples for shapes made for the Dutch. They are painted in underglaze blue or a palette of enamels dominated by red, green and blue with flowers, figures and landscapes which would not follow traditional Japanese aesthetics. Vessels with landscape designs are often inspired by 17th century Chinese Transitional style. Plates decorated with designs organized by panels imitate the successful blue-and-white Chinese Kraak ware. To make these export wares even more attractive for the Dutch clients numbers of early Japanese export wares are painted with a stylized tulip, referring to the tulipomania, the great Dutch craze of the 1630s. (source: Keramiek Museum Princessehof, Leeuwarden)

Japon de commande

 

In Japan porcelain was also manufactured to order, both for private parties as well as, in a few cases, for the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC). The private buyers were in fact solely Dutch East India Company employees of Deshima, The Dutch trading post in Nagasaki in Souhern Japan. As only European company, The Dutch East India Company was given the monopoly to trade in Japan. Japon de commande was therefore much more exclusive than Chine de commande.

 

Striking are the blue dishes featuring the Dutch East India Company monogram on them. There is hardly any record of these specific pieces to be found in the Dutch East India Company achieves, but they were apparently often manufactured to order as the Company's 'official' tableware, which was used aboard the ships, in the trading posts all over Asia and even at the dinner table of the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in Batavia. Oddly enough it was never actually made in China itself, nor painted in enamel colours. Other motifs are family coats of arms, depictions of Dutch landscapes as well as of Dutch people and their ships. Also, quite striking are the bulbous flasks initialled with either their alcoholic or medicinal contents or with their owner's name. (Source: Groninger Museum)

2011142
2011142

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2011142

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1660-1680

 

Height 199 mm (7.83 inch), diameter 110 mm (4.33 inch), diameter of mouthrim 28 mm (1.10 inch), diameter of footring 68 mm (2.68 inch), weight 638 grams (22.51 ounce (oz.))

 

Ewer of ovoid body on spreading takefushi or 'bamboo-noded' foot, cylindrical neck and pierced loop-handle. Decorated in underglaze blue. On the neck two flowers who bear the well-known tulip-design, a stylised, symmetrical flower. The central section is decorated in a, sketchily drawn, Chinese Transitional style of two figures in a landscape with rocks, clouds, pine and banana trees and other vegetation. Round the foot, on the shoulder and the handle bands with a formal foliate pattern. 

 

Jörg notes that these foliate bands betray a Dutch Delftware influence.

 

The Chinese Transitional style was virtually unknown in Japan until it was introduced by the Dutch. Japanese potters were not asked to imitate original Chinese porcelains by the Dutch; instead they were given wooden models which had probably been painted by Delft pottery decorators (though this is undocumented) or earthenware (presumably Delft). It is hardly surprising therefore, that the resultant Japanese essays in Transitional style are far from the original both in design and execution. Many shapes are Chinese, and some are Near Eastern, but others reflect Delft wares or at least Delft variations on a Chinese theme. Most Japanese Transitional style wares are in closed shapes, mugs, jugs, jars and ewers; most Kraak style pieces are in open shapes, plates and bowls. The piercing on the handles of this and similar shapes is original, and was intended for the silver or other metal mount that would customarily have been added in Europe. (Impey 2002, pp.42-49 & p.49)

 

The shape of the bulging foot, which spreads and then turns sharply inward, is seen on many ewers of this period as well as on later jars, vases and other pieces. It is a distinctively Japanese feature, called takefushi, 'bamboo-noded' foot. (Jörg 2003/1, p.74)

 

For similarly shaped and decorated ewers, please see:

Condition: Crazing to the glaze around the lower section of the ewer.

 

References:

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1971, cat. 83

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1980, cat. 406

Arts 1983, Plate 50

Impey 2002, cat. 24

Jörg 2003/1, p.74 & cat. 178

 

Price: € 999 - $ 1,112 - £ 902

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

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2011428A
2011428A

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2011428A

 

Ewer / jug

 

Japan

 

1670-1690

 

Height 134 mm (5.28 inch), diameter 80 mm (3.15 inch). diameter of mouthrim 29 mm (1.14 inch), diameter of footring 47 mm (1.85 inch), weight 241 grams (8.50 ounce (oz.))

 

Small oviform ewer / jug on spreading takefushi or 'bamboo-noded' foot, cylindrical neck, cup-shaped mouth with pinched spout. Curved handle, pierced at the top for a mount. Decorated in underglaze blue with plants and rocks, underlined by a single line. A single line around the mouthrim, a double line around the foot, scrolling on the handle.

 

The shape derived from a European stoneware model and the piercing on the handles of this and similar shapes is original, and was intended for the silver or other metal mount that would customarily have been added in Europe. (Impey 2002, p.106)

 

The shape of the bulging foot, which spreads and then turns sharply inward, is seen on many ewers of this period as well as on later jars, vases and other pieces. It is a distinctively Japanese feature, called takefushi, 'bamboo-noded' foot. (Jörg 2003/1, p.74)

 

For an identically small shaped and decorated ewer / jug, please see:

Condition: A Y-shaped firing glaze hairline to the inner mouth rim, a frit with two short connected hairlines and a chip to the rim.

 

References:

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1980, cat. 407

Impey 2002, cat. 122

Jörg 2003/1, p.74 & p.159

 

Price: € 499 - $ 555 - £ 450

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

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2010227
2010227

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2010227

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 100 mm (3.93 inch), diameter 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of mouthrim 35 mm (1.38 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.96 inch), weight 147 grams (6.84 ounce (oz.))

 

Oviform ewer on footring, wide neck with pinched spout. Curved pierced handle placed at an angle to the spout. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with flowering prunus branches  and a reserved roundel with the initial 'A' for the Dutch word azijn (vinegar), the underglaze blue handle and spout set at right angles. The hole in the top of the handle was meant to affix a metal or silver cover.

 

A specific group of ewers is decorated with the letters 'O', 'A', or 'S' indicating their contents: 'O' stands for olie (oil), 'A' for azijn (vinegar), 'L' for limoen (lemon), the 'S' or 'Z' for soya or zoja (soy). They were used at the dinner table in The Netherlands. Arts adds the letter 'C' for conserven (?) (preserves). (Arts 1983, p.50),  (Jörg 2003/1, p.176)

 

For an identically decorated ewer, please see:

 For an identically decorated ewer with the initial 'O', please see: 

 For an identically decorated ewer with the initial 'Z', please see: 

Condition: A fleabite to the tip of the spout and a chip to the rim.

 

References:

Howard & Ayers 1978, cat. 111

Arts 1983, Plate 22

New York 1985, lot 63

Jörg 1999, cat. 97-1 & 97-2

New York 1985, lot 63

Jörg 2003/1, pp.176-177

 

Price: € 699 - $ 778 - £ 631

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

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2010196
2010196

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2010196

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 100 mm (3.93 inch), diameter 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of mouthrim 31 mm (1.22 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.96 inch), weight 157 grams (5.54 ounce (oz.))

 

Oviform ewer on footring, wide neck with pinched spout. Curved pierced handle placed at an angle to the spout. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with flowering prunus branches  and a reserved roundel with the initial 'O' for the Dutch word olie (oil), the underglaze blue handle and spout set at right angles. 

 

A specific group of ewers is decorated with the letters 'O', 'A', or 'S' indicating their contents: 'O' stands for olie (oil), 'A' for azijn (vinegar), 'L' for limoen (lemon), the 'S' or 'Z' for soya or zoja (soy). They were used at the dinner table in The Netherlands. Arts adds the letter 'C' for conserven (?) (preserves). (Arts 1983, p.50), (Jörg 2003/1, p.176)

  

For an identically decorated ewer, please see:

For an identically decorated ewer, decorated with the initial 'A', please see: 

For an identically decorated ewer, decorated with the letter 'Z', please see:  

Condition: A firing flaw to the body.

 

References:

Howard & Ayers 1978, cat. 111

Arts 1983, Plate 22

New York 1985, lot. 63

Jörg 1999, cat. 97-1 & 97-2

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 214

 

Price: € 699 - $ 778 - £ 631

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

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2010707
2010707

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2010707

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 100 mm (3.93 inch), diameter 72 mm (2.84 inch), diameter of mouthrim 34 mm (1.34 inch), diameter of footring 48 mm (1.89 inch), weight 164 grams (5.79 ounce (oz.))

 

Oviform ewer on footring, wide neck with pinched spout. Curved pierced handle placed at an angle to the spout. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with flowering prunus branches  and a reserved roundel with the initial 'Z' for the Dutch word zoja (soy), the underglaze blue handle and spout set at right angles. The hole in the top of the handle was meant to affix a metal or silver cover.

 

A specific group of ewers is decorated with the letters 'O', 'A', or 'S' indicating their contents: 'O' stands for olie (oil), 'A' for azijn (vinegar), 'L' for limoen (lemon), the 'S' or 'Z' for soya or zoja (soy). They were used at the dinner table in The Netherlands. Arts adds the letter 'C' for conserven (?) (preserves). (Arts 1983, p.50), (Jörg 2003/1, p.176)

  

For an identically decorated ewer, please see:

 For an identically decorated ewer, decorated with the initial 'A', please see: 

 For an identically decorated ewer, decorated with the initial 'O', please see:

Condition: A tiny glaze chip to the underside of the triangular spout and a 2 mm (0.08 inch) fleabite to the rim.

 

References:

Howard & Ayers 1978, cat. 111

Arts 1983, Lochem 1983, Plate 22

New York 1985, lot 63

Jörg 1999, p.74, cat. 97-1 & 97-2

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 214

 

Price: € 699 - $ 778 - £ 631

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

More pictures >>

2012087
2012087

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2012087

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 93 mm (3.66 inch), diameter of belly 62 mm (2.44 inch), diameter of mouthrim 32 mm (1.26 inch), diameter of footring 52 mm (2.05 inch), weight 140 grams (4.94 ounce (oz.))

 

Ewer of ribbed pear form on a domed base. A side loop handle and a triangular spout. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with around the foot flower sprays. On the body two groups of flowering plants flanking a reserved roundel with the initial 'Z' for the Dutch word zoja (soy). On the handle a floret between scrolls.

 

A specific group of ewers is decorated with the letters 'O', 'A', or 'S' indicating their contents: 'O' stands for olie (oil), 'A' for azijn (vinegar), 'L' for limoen (lemon), the 'S' or 'Z' for soya or zoja (soy). They were used at the dinner table in The Netherlands. Arts adds the letter 'C' for conserven (?) (preserves). This ewer was made following a European glass or silver original and was, most likely, part of a cruet comprising set. (Arts 1983, p.50), (Jörg 2003/1, p.176)

 

For an identically shaped, sized and decoarted ewer with the Dutch initial 'S' for soja (soy), please see:

Condition: Som spots to the rim caused by popped bubbles of glaze during the firing process, a firing tension crack to the inner foot and a tiny fleabite to the tip of the spout.

 

References:

Arts 1983, Plate 22

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 214

 

Price: € 399 - $ 425 - £ 338

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

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2010615
2010615

Japanese wares with Western Shapes or Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2010615

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1710-1730

 

Height 105 mm (4.13 inch), diameter 80 mm (3.15 inch), diameter of mouthrim 32 mm (1.26 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.97 inch), weight 194 grams (6.84 ounce (oz.))

 

Oviform ewer on footring, wide neck with pinched spout. Curved pierced handle placed at an angle to the spout. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold wiith the initial 'A' in (faded) black for the Dutch word azijn (vinegar), with flowering chrysanthemum and peony plants. On the handle and spout a floret between scrolls. The hole in the top of the handle was meant to affix a metal or silver cover.

 

A specific group of ewers is decorated with the letters 'O', 'A', or 'S' indicating their contents: 'O' stands for olie (oil), 'A' for azijn (vinegar), 'L' for limoen (lemon), the 'S' or 'Z' for soya or zoja (soy). They were used at the dinner table in The Netherlands. Arts adds the letter 'C' for conserven (?) (preserves). (Arts 1983, p.50), (Jörg 2003/1, p.176)

 

Condition: Four spots on the belly were the glaze did not catch on to the body during the firing process.

 

References:

Arts 1983, Plate 22.

Jörg 2003/1, pp.176-177

 

Price: € 449 - $ 499 - £ 405

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

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2012063
2012063

Japanese wares with Western shapes or designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2012063

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1710-1730

 

Height 112 mm (4.40 inch), diameter 80 mm (3.15 inch), diameter of mouthrim 30 mm (1.18 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.97 inch), weight 224 grams (7.90 ounce (oz.))

 

Oviform ewer on footring, wide neck with pinched spout. Curved pierced handle placed at an angle to the spout. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold wiith flowering chrysanthemum and peony plants. On the handle and spout a floret between scrolls. The hole in the top of the handle was meant to affix a metal or silver cover.

 

A specific group of ewers is decorated with the letters 'O', 'A', or 'S' indicating their contents: 'O' stands for olie (oil), 'A' for azijn (vinegar), 'L' for limoen (lemon), the 'S' or 'Z' for soya or zoja (soy). They were used at the dinner table in The Netherlands. Arts adds the letter 'C' for conserven (?) (preserves). (Arts 1983, p.50), (Jörg 2003/1, p.176)

 

For an identically shaped, sized and decorated ewers, please see:

For an identically shaped, sized and decorated ewer (with the initial 'A' for azijn (vinegar), please see:

Condition: Wear to the golden decoration.

 

References:

Arts 1983, Plate 22.

Jörg 2003/1, pp.176-177

 

Price: € 399 - $ 419 - £ 341

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)

 

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