Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Sold Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century

 

Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont

 

Page 1

Amsterdams Bont is the name given to a specific group of Japanese or Chinese porcelain that was over-decorated with enamels in the Netherlands. The group consists of bowls, plates, vases, cups and saucers, etc., that were painted in underglaze blue in Jingdezhen or Arita (Japan) and shipped to Holland. Because coloured wares yielded more profits than the ordinary blue-and-white, an additional enamelled decoration was painted on these porcelains. Sometimes this new decoration respects the original Chinese or Japanese decoration and elaborates on it. Other times, however, the Dutch painter was not so respectful and over-painted the blue, creating a chaotic design. Of course, it was easier to paint undecorated pieces that were completely white, for which Japanese wares seem to have been preferred. Over-decorating first appears c.1700 and continued far into the 18th century. It was probably done privately by individuals to generate some extra income. These over-painted pieces were fired in local ceramic factories, which did this in addition to their normal assortment. It is likely that this practise was concentrated in Delft, Makkum and Harlingen where earthenware (faience) was produced, but it could also be done in tile factories such as those in Rotterdam. Notwithstanding the name of this category, there is no indication that it was done on a large scale in Amsterdam. Dated pieces are rare, and because there is almost no documentary information on Amsterdams Bont, it is difficult to say when exactly these pieces were made. Usually, carefully painted objects are regarded as early.

2012403
2012403

Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century - Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont - Page 1

 

Object 2012403

 

Teacup and saucer

 

Japan

 

1700-1730, over-decorated in the Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont, c.1750

 

Height of teacup 34 mm (1.34 inch), diameter or rim 57 mm (2.24 inch), diameter of footring 23 mm (0.91 inch), weight 29 grams (1.02 ounce (oz.)) 

Height of saucer 15 mm (0.59 inch), diameter of rim 101 mm (3.98 inch), diameter of footring 41 mm (1.61 inch), weight 46 grams (1.62 ounce (oz.)) 

 

Teacup and saucer on footrings, slightly everted rims. Over-decorated in iron-red and gold in The Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont c.1740 with with a squirrel climbing through branches of vine. The teacup is decorated en suite.

 

In traditional Chinese and Japanese cultures, images of squirrels and grapes together formed a rebus signifying a wish to have many sons. Squirrels and grape images appear in Chinese painting as early as the thirteenth century an in Chinese porcelain as early as the sixteenth century. Japanese decorators began using the design on Kakiemon-style porcelains in the seventeenth century, and it spread to Europe in the eighteenth century. The design was first copied in Europe at the Meissen factory and was imitated later by many other factories in France and England, Because the Europeans did not know the origin of the design, they sometimes mistook the squirrel for a rat and called it the 'rat and grape' design. (Impey, Jörg & Mason 2009, p.146, Fig, 102)

 

The depiction of vines with squirrels was a very popular, repeated pattern on a range of craftwork since the Ming Dynasty, but especially on porcelain, stoneware and snuff bottles. The squirrel, which can bear offspring more than once a year, symbolizes fertility, as does the vine with abundant grapes, and both motifs were used primarily as auspicious symbols intended to bring to the recipient a great number of sons and grandsons. Symbolism of this kind was developed as early as in the Tang Dynasty and later also reached Japan, where similar patterns always represented a tradition adopted from continental Asia, The pattern appeared quite frequently on Chinese porcelain as is demonstrated by several examples in a range of collections worldwide. (Suchomel 2015, p.228, cat.109)

 

For other objects decorated with the 'squirrel and grape' pattern, please see:

Condition teacup: A frit to the footring.

Condition saucer: Perfect.

 

References:

Impey, Jörg & Mason 2009, Fig, 102

Suchomel 2015, cat.109

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011541
2011541

Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century - Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont - Page 1

 

Object 2011541

 

Teapot

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height with cover 97 mm (3.81 inch), height without cover 67 mm (2.64 inch), diameter handle to spout 124 mm (4.88 inch), diameter of mouthrim 45 mm (1.77 inch), diameter of foot 55 mm (2.17 inch), weight with cover 237 grams (8.36 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 46 grams (1.62 ounce (oz.))

  

Globular pear-shaped teapot on footring, fluted body. Curved handle and a straight spout. Ribbed cover and knob. Decorated in underglaze blue and gold, over-decorated in iron-red and green and black enamel in The Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont c.1750-1770. On each side two in underglaze blue with overglaze gold outlined reserves filled with a flower basket with ribbons and various flowering plants. round the neck a silkworm-pattern border in green and black enamel. On the handle a floret between scrolls and on the spout stylised spays. On the cover a flower basket with ribbons and various flowering plants alternating with a flower spray.

 

Amsterdams Bont is the name given to a specific group of Japanese or Chinese porcelain that was over-decorated with enamels in the Netherlands. The group consists of bowls, plates, vases, cups and saucers, etc., that were painted in underglaze blue in Jingdezhen or Arita (Japan) and shipped to Holland. Because colored wares yielded more profits than the ordinary blue-and-white, an additional enamelled decoration was painted on these porcelains. Sometimes this new decoration respects the original Chinese or Japanese decoration and elaborates on it. Other times, however, the Dutch painter was not so respectful and over-painted the blue, creating a chaotic design. Of course, it was easier to paint undecorated pieces that were completely white, for which Japanese wares seem to have been preferred. Over-decorating first appears c.1700 and continued far into the 18th century. It was probably done privately by individuals to generate some extra income. These over-painted pieces were fired in local ceramic factories, which did this in addition to their normal assortment. It is likely that this practice was concentrated in Delft, Makkum and Harlingen where earthenware (faience) was produced, but it could also be done in tile factories such as those in Rotterdam. Notwithstanding the name of this category, there is no indication that it was done on a large scale in Amsterdam. Dated pieces are rare, and because there is almost no documentary information on Amsterdams Bont, it is difficult to say when exactly these pieces were made. Usually, carefully painted objects are regarded as early.

 

The demand for Japanese porcelain was strong but production was restricted so here was a gap in the market that the enameller could fill most profitably by giving Chinese porcelain a Japanese look. The simplest way of transferring Chinese porcelain into 'Japanese' was to enhance Chinese blue and white porcelain with iron-red and gold to create the appearance of Imari. For European decorated oriental porcelain mostly Chinese export porcelain objects were used. Only a small proportion were Japanese.

(Espir 2005, p.74)

 

The cover on this teapot seems to be a little large though it fits perfectly, and the decoration is matching. Other identically shaped teapots are known also with a similarly large cover, please see the picture below. (This teapot and cover are not included in this sale/offer)

 

ws

 

Condition: A firing flaw to the handle, overall some fine crazing to the glaze of the teapot, A chip to the underside of the rim of the cover and three chips to the inner rim of the cover.

 

Reference: 

Espir 2005, p.74

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2012144
2012144

Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century - Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont - Page 1

 

Object 2012144

 

Saucer

 

Japan

 

c.1700, over-decorated in the Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont,c.1750-1770

 

Height 20 mm (0.79 inch), diameter of rim 115 mm (4.53 inch), diameter of footring 52 mm (2.05 inch), weight 85 grams (3.00 ounce (oz.)) 

 

Saucer on footring, flat rim. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, overglaze green, yellow and black enamel and gold with flowering plants and a bird in flight. On the rim three florets between scrolls alternating with a bird in flight, over-decorated in iron-red in The Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont c.1750-1770 outlining all birds, the central florets and the original undecorated reverse with four good fortune Buddhist symbols.

 

The demand for Japanese porcelain was strong but production was restricted so here was a gap in the market that the enameller could fill most profitably by giving Chinese porcelain a Japanese look. The simplest way of transferring Chinese porcelain into 'Japanese' was to enhance Chinese blue and white porcelain with iron-red and gold to create the appearance of Imari. For European decorated oriental porcelain mostly Chinese export porcelain objects were used. Only a small proportion were Japanese.

(Espir 2005, p.74)

 

Another identically shaped, sized and decorated saucer is in an English private collection.

  

Condition: Perfect.

 

Reference:

Espir 2005, p.74

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2010107
2010107

Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century - Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont - Page 1

 

Object 2010107

 

Teacup and saucer

 

Japan

 

1720-1730, over-decorated in the Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont,c.1740-1750

 

Height of teacup 39 mm (1.54 inch), diameter or rim 70 mm (2.76 inch), diameter of footring 30 mm (1.18 inch)

Height of saucer 19 mm (0.75 inch), diameter of rim 115 mm (4.53 inch), diameter of footring 54 mm (2.13 inch)

 

Teacup and saucer on footrings, slightly everted rims. Over-decorated in various overglaze enamels, iron-red, black and gold in The Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont c.1750-1770 with a couple sitting outside by a table drinking coffee in a landscape with trees, water and a village with a church tower in the background. On the table an 18th century Dutch coffeepot with two tabs (in Dutch een kraantjeskan met twee kraantjes). The man is holding his cup upside down in his hand just above his saucer but strangely the woman seems to be drinking from the saucer instead of the cup which clearly stands on the table. The reverse is undecorated. The teacup is decorated en suite.

 

In the Netherlands and Germany it was the custom, in some circles, to pour the tea or coffee from the cup into the saucer and drink it from the saucer.

 

For an identically over-decorated saucer, please see:

Another similarly, Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont, design on identically sized and shaped Japanese teacups & saucers, shows a couple and the Commedia dell`Arte character Arclecchino standing at the water's edge (without the table). The rim with an identical border.. The Commedia dell`Arte was a popular subject on Meissen porcelain in the 1740s and '40s, and it is likely that this is from where this similarly design derives.

 

For a teacup and saucer with this similarly Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont design, please see:

Condition teacup: Perfect.

Condition saucer: Perfect.

 

References:

Espir 2005, cat 11 & 17

Salisbury 2014, cat. 324

 

Price: Sold.

 

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