Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Sold Ceramics

 

Sold Japanese wares with Western 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)

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Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares with Western Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2011969

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

1660-1670

 

Height 28 mm (1.10 inch), diameter of rim 220 mm (8.66 inch), diameter of base 140 mm (5.51 inch), weight 449 grams (15.84 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on a flat base with a broad firing-ring and five spur-marks in a X-pattern. Broad flat rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with three reclining figures in a simplified landscape with rocks, clouds and vegetation. The rim with four medallions filled with either a standing or a reclining figure on a blue ground with a petal or a circle pattern in blue. The reverse is undecorated. (Jörg 2003/1, p.237, cat. 301)

 

This dish was copied from a Dutch delftware dish. The Delft dish was decorated in the style of Chinese Transitional ware. The figures on this Delft model were probably misinterpreted by the Japanese painter who gave them a sheep-like head. (Jörg 2003/1, p.237, cat. 301)

 

 

F&C p.237 cat 301a

 

Dish, Dutch Delftware, 1660s, Groninger Museum, Groningen, inv. nr. 1967-132) (not included in this sale/offer) (Reproduced from: Fine & Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections, (C.J.A. Jörg, Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam 2003), p.237, cat. 301a)

  

For an identically decorated dish, please see:

For the original Dutch Delftware dish, c.1660, please see:

Condition: Restored, both sides sprayed over with a transparent lacquer.

 

Reference:

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 301 & 301a

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011899
2011899

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Object 2011899

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

1668-1690

 

Height 35 mm (1.38 inch), diameter of rim 218 mm (8.58 inch), diameter of footring 113 mm (4.45 inch), weight 416 grams (14.67 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring with a flat rim. On the base four spur-marks in an Y-pattern. Decorated in underglaze blue. In the central field the monogram of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) surrounded by a peach and peony spray. The sides and rim with a continuous decoration of pierced rockwork with bamboo, flowering peony and prunus plants. The  reverse  is undecorated.

 

Dishes with the monogram of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC), (1602-1789/1799) were probably ordered by the High Government from 1668, when it started to require porcelain for Batavia. VOC dishes were used as an early form of in-house corporate promotion at the tables of high-ranking Company employees, at the Factories in Asia, and probably in the officers' cabins aboard ship. According to Impey, Viallé has demonstrated that pieces with the VOC mark, both in the well and on the reverse, were for the exclusive use of Officers of the Company

 

Sherds bearing the VOC monogram have been found at three kiln sites in Arita (Tanigama. Sarugawa and Hiekoba), but apparently other kilns made them as well. The remains of many such dishes, including types hitherto unknown, have been excavated at Deshima, illustrating their use there . Interestingly, VOC dishes have not been found in the Oosterland wreck (1684-1697) or in the salvaged cargoes of other Company ships. Most VOC monogram dishes have a border design in the style of Chinese dishes from  the Wanli period with six large panels, three of bamboo and blossom alternating with three of grass and peony. Between each large panel a small panel filled with a floret and scrollwork over a wash of lighter blue. Interestingly, the well-known armorial plates and dishes with the arms of the Dutch Aletta Pancras and Francois de Vicq, who married in 1667, have a very similar border design. (Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, p.94, Arita 2000, pp. 37-39, cats. 43-52, Impey 2002, p.55, cat. 35, Jörg 2003/1, p. 225 cat. 285), (Jörg 2003/1, p. 230, cat. 291

 

On this specific VOC dish the same continuous decoration of bamboo, flowering peony and prunus is present, however without being separated into panels. This border design seems to be unique and unrecorded in literature so far. 

 

For objects decorated with the VOC monogram, please see;

Condition: A circular firing crack.

 

References:

Volker 1954, reprint 1971, Pl. XV, cat. 27

Ottema 1970, cat. 82

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1971, cat. 55

Woodward 1974, pp.52-109

Lerner 1978, cat. 59 & 60

Jenyns 1979, cat. 14B

Arts 1983, cat. 79

Jörg 1984, cat. 63

Tokyo 1984, cat. 3

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.123

Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 32, 33 & 53

Arita 2000, cats. 43-52, 290

Impey 2002, cat. 27 & 35 & 127

Jörg 2003/1, pp.225-229, cats. 286-290

Antonin & Suebsman 2009, cat. 91

 

Price: Sold.

 

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Object 2011726

 

Apothecary bottle

 

Japan

 

1670-1700

 

Height 210 mm (8.26 inch), diameter belly 142 mm (5.59 inch), diameter of mouthrim 35 mm (1.38 inch), diameter of footring 79 mm (3.11 inch), weight 728 grams (25.68 ounce (oz.))

 

Globular bottle, on footring, tapering neck, the mouth with a double flange. Two spur-marks on the base. Decorated in underglaze blue with branches of flowering peony and foliage. On the shoulder a blue band, on the neck flowering plants and grasses.

 

Apothecary bottles belong to the earliest Japanese export wares to be shipped from Deshima to Batavia. In 1653 Batavia received from Deshima 2000 'porcelain bottles, pots, pots for salves and preserves'. The bottles were probably used for medicinal liquids and oils. However it is not known whether this type of bottle actually served this purpose. The shape is derived from a Western glass model. Some are small and plain white, (often later over-decorated in the Netherlands) others are large to very large and decorated in underglaze blue. There is a special group, that features Latin initials as part of the decoration, these are sometimes on the base, but usually appear on the body in a circle or wreath. They do not always make sense as abbreviations of the (medical) content and it is widely assumed that these initials stand for the name of their owners. Known initials are: IC, IVH, PVD, PW, IS-M, PD, LVR, VOC, Ds. Vandr. Hof, RW, FW, CB, CK, VCL, LG, AL, HS, DSM and DDH. These owners might have been VOC officers residing in Deshima, officials in Batavia, or people in the Netherlands with a VOC connection. (Jörg 1989/1), (Hartog 1990), (Jörg 2003/1)

 

The 'gallipot' shape is probably not as early as is usually suggested. Nowhere in the early records is any bottle-shape qualified; the word used is that for bottle, only. (Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990)

 

The flange below the neck was to facilitate the tying-on of a cloth cover. (Impey 2002)

 

For a similarly decorated apothecary bottle, please see;

For a Japanese teacup decorated with a 'FW' initialled bottle, please see:

For a Japanese miniature apothecary bottle, please see:

Condition: A restored mouthrim.

 

References:

Jörg 1989/1, pp. 396-407

Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 40

Hartog 1990, cat. 157

Impey 2002, p.104

Jörg 2003/1, pp.209-210

Kyushu 2003, cat. 1799

 

Price: Sold.

 

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Object 2011431

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

c.1700

 

Height with cover 115 mm (4.53 inch), height without cover 98 mm (3.86 inch), diameter handle to spout 115 mm (4.53 inch), diameter of mouthrim 40 mm (1.57 inch), diameter of footring 45 mm (1.77 inch), weight with cover 227 grams (8.01 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 19 grams (0.67 ounce (oz.))

 

Pear shaped ewer on footring. Slender upright spout with a curved C-shaped handle. Luted splayed foot with a convex double 'skin' base with a hole pierced in the outer layer. Almost flat cover with small loop ring, (intended for a silver chain, to be added by the buyer, which prevented the cover falling off). Decorated in underglaze blue with phoenix in flight and flower sprays on both sides of the body, on one side a reserved roundel with the initial 'O' for the Dutch word olie (oil), On the cover floral sprays and on the handle and spout cloud and floral motifs. Round the foot a double line.

 

In all probability this ewer, and similar examples, were formerly part of a set of jugs, ewers, and/or standing salts standing in fitted recesses upon a round tray with a central upright handle. These exist in several sizes, including dolls' house size, and in blue and white or in coloured Imari. The number and variety of ewers, etc. vary from four to six. Such sets were frequently split up and parts used for other purposes; a splendid example is in the Hoftafel-und Silber Kabinett, Vienna. (Lunsingh Scheurleer 1971, pp.110-111, cat. 179), (Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, p.226, cat. 241 & pp.229-230, cat. 246 & 247), (Impey 2002, p.107, cat. 123)  

 

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 and sized ewer, decorated with the initial 'O', (part of a set on its original round tray), please see:

For an identically shaped and sized ewer, decorated with the initial 'S', please see: 

Condition: A firing tension glaze hairline to the base, a fleabite to footring and the rim of the cover and a restored end of the spout.

 

References:

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1971, cat. 179

Oxford 1981, cat. 265

Arts 1983, p.50

Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 241, 246 & 247

Impey 2002, cat. 123

Jörg 2003/1, p.176

 

Price: Sold.

 

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Object 2011806

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

c.1700

 

Height 35 mm (1.38 inch), diameter of rim 204 mm (8.03 inch), diameter of footring 128 mm (5.04 inch), weight 357 grams (12.59 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring, lobed sides with an underglaze brown-edged rim. On the base four spur-marks in a Y-pattern. Decorated in underglaze blue with a river scene with boats, a gentleman in profile is wearing a cap, his beard sticking out, his paunch protruding, looks towards the edge of the picture, a slightly smaller servant holds a large parasol above his master's head on the bank. A tower or pagoda with several storeys rises above the shoreland. Spiral clouds in the sky and round the tower. A flower and leaf border round the rim. On the reverse a scroll with pendent karakusa. On the base a square fuku (good luck) mark in seal script. (Jörg 2003/1, p.150, cat. 168)

 

This dish is to be seen in the context of a group of Japanese porcelains whose decorative elements were influenced by European models, for example etchings by the Dutch painter Frederic van Frytom (around 1632-1702). The Dresden dish does not display a European scene, but East Asian and Western landscape elements and figures presented in an unusual combination. The representation of the clouds and the surface of the water, however, seem s to have been modelled on European etchings. The decorations of Japanese Chinoiseries may have been a combination of different decorative elements since clouds or the motif of a gentleman and his servant under a parasol appear on numerous porcelains (Ströber 2001, p.158

 

The pagoda like the parasol may have been appealing to Western buyers interested in Orientalia. The motif of the man and his parasol-bearing servant is known on related Kakiemon-style pieces. The shift in perspective from the river scene to the relatively enormous men on the bank is quite remarkable.  (Jörg 2003/1, p.150, cat. 168)

 

Twickel Castle, Delden, The Netherlands has a large set of these dishes in three different sizes, 190 mm (7.48 inch), 205 mm (8.07 inch) and 225 mm (8.86 inch). (Jörg 2003/1, p.150, cat. 168)

 

For identically decorated dishes, please see:

For slightly larger dishes that also show the motif of a group of Chinese watching 'miniature fishermen', please see:

Condition: Restored.

 

References:

Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 134 

Kassel 1990, cat. 244a/b

Ströber 2001, pp.9-11 & cat.70 

Impey 2002, cat. 143

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 168

 

Price: Sold. 

 

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2010146
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Object 2010146

 

Ewer

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 100 mm (3.94 inch), diameter of belly 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of mouthrim 35 mm (1.38 inch)

diameter of footring 50 mm (1.97 inch)

 

Ewer of ribbed pear form on a domed unglazed 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 an initialled 'S' for the Dutch word soya / zoja or 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.(Jörg 2003/1, p.176), (Arts 1983, p.50)

 

Condition: A firing crack to the bottom and a T-shaped crack to the foot caused during the firing process.

 

References:

Arts 1983, Plate 22

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 214

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2010749
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Object 2010749

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

c.1700

 

Height 27 mm (1.06 inch), diameter of rim 195 mm (7.68 inch), diameter of footring 120 mm (4.72 inch)

 

Dish on footring, flat rim with a moulded, wavy, edge in relief. On the base four spur-marks in a Y-pattern. Decorated in underglaze blue with a village with a church and houses, a lighthouse with trees, figures with a cow, and the poles with clouds. The slightly crimped rim is painted with a wave-scroll border. On the reverse three sprays of flowering branches. The low footring is encircled with a double concentric band.

 

This design on this dish has traditionally been called 'Deshima' or 'Scheveningen'. It certainly does not depict the Dutch factory in Deshima (Nagasaki), a fan-shaped, man-made island in Japan to which Westerners were restricted between 1641 and 1862. Scheveningen, a fishermen´s village on the Dutch coast near The Hague, is a more appropriate name. In fact 47 "Scheveningen" plates were already mentioned in the 1778 sale catalogue of the porcelain shop of Martha Raap in Amsterdam, clearly indicating this type. Research was undertaken to find the print that was used as a model, non with this view have come to light. it is therefore possible that another source was used, maybe a plate or dish in the so-called Frijtom style. This is the most common version of this design, later copied by the Chinese.  The design, almost certainly copied from a drawing by Frederick van Frijtom (1652-1702), was highly popular in The Netherlands, and possibly also in Japan as a kind of Western exoticism. The rim design is unique in Chinese export porcelain and is almost certainly after a silver original. (Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 1, pp.72-73), (Terwee 1989, pp.494-501), (Jörg 2003/1, p.240)

 

These dishes with the so called 'Deshima' or 'Scheveningen' design first appeared, in underglaze blue, on Japanese dishes of around c.1700. In the collection of the Groninger Museum is a blanc Chinese porcelain dish overdecorated in Delft (the Netherlands) c.1700-1730 with identical design. This dish is an original Japanese version. (Jörg 2003/1, cat. 307a)

 

For identically shaped and decorated dishes, please see:

For a similarly, sold, Chinese version, please see:

Condition: Three hairlines to the rim.

 

References:

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1971, cat. 65

Corbeiller 1974, cat. 10

Howard & Ayers 1978, cat. 32

Jenyns 1979, cat. 19a. (ii)

Arts 1983, Plate 57

Terwee 1989, pp.494-501

Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 324

Howard 1994, p.44, cat. 11

London 1997, cat. 75

Impey 2002, cat. 392 & 393

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 306 & 307

Kyushu 2003, cat. 2549

Antonin & Suebsman 2009, cat. 98

Sargent 2012, cat. 42

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2012065
2012065

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Object 2012065

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

Early 18th Century

 

Height 59 mm (2.32 inch), diameter of mouthrim 341 mm (13.43 inch), diameter of footring 173 mm (6.81 inch), weight 1,462 grams (51.17 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring, spreading flat rim. On the base five spur-marks in an X-pattern. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, green and gold. In the centre a richly filled flower vase on a shelf with an overhanging cloth, the flowers partly in underglaze blue. On each side a bird looking upwards. The sides with a dark blue ground with a diaper pattern in gold and eight reserved panels alternately filled with a flowerpot or a landscape with a tree and flowering plants. The rim with a lambrequin border with hanging tassels. Gilt edge. The reverse is undecorated. 

 

Jörg states that the border design is the same as that on the armorial porcelains of the Van Buren and Bambeeck families consequently, this dish is dated accordingly. The central decoration was probably copied from a European print or model and it is therefore that part of the flowers have been painted in underglaze blue, which required close cooperation with the enamellers. It is interesting to note, however, that the enamelled flowers have fancy shapes while the tulip-like underglaze blue ones are more realistic. No other examples with this design seem to be recorded, but the Gen'emon Kiln Museum in Arita has a later, less refined imitation with a different border, dated 1730-50, indicating a continuing interest in this decoration. (Jörg 2003/1, p.238, cat.303)

 

For the only other recorded, identically shaped, sized and decorated, dish, please see:

For the Van Buren Armorial dish with indentically border design, please see:

For the Bambeeck Armorial dish with identically border design, please see:

Condition: Firing flaws to the rim and base and a re-stuck piece to the rim.

 

References:

Jörg 1983, cat. 85

Jörg 1984, cat. 85

Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 231

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 295, 297 & 303

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2012088
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Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares with Western Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2012088

 

Saucer (converted into a tazza)

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 85 mm (3.35 inch), diameter of rim 131 mm (5.16 inch), diameter of (silver) footring 70 mm (2.76 inch), weight 172 grams (6.07 ounce (oz.))

  

Saucer on footring, straight rim, fitted with engraved Dutch silver mounts (marked) converting it into a tazza. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, black, gold and various other translucent enamel colours. Two farmers walking with a leashed water buffalo near rocks and trees with birds in flight in a central roundel. On the sides a riverscape with mountains, houses, flags and pine trees. Two fishermen in a boat on a river. On a rocky river bank two figures are having a pick nick, besides them on the ground stands a teacup on a footring, a rectangular box with chop sticks and a clearly recognisable bottle with the initials 'FW'. Around the rim a zig-zag lines pattern border. On the reverse three flower sprays. The silver mounts are marked 'FP' most likely the initials of the (unknown) maker. 

 

2012088 5

 

In 'Fine & Curious' an identically decorated saucer is published. On this saucer we see the same scene with the same two fisherman having a pick nick on a rocky river-bank with besides them on the ground a teacup on a footring, a rectangular box with chop sticks and a clearly recognisable bottle with the initials 'FW'. Jörg states that the initials 'FW' could very well indicate the owner or the contents, for example Franse Wijn (French wine). In this context it is interesting to note that parts of an export teaset are known that have an Imari decoration of a scene of two Japanese pick nicking on a rocky riverbank under a tree. The bottle with the initials 'FW' is clearly recognisable. European objects were greatly desired in Japan and such inscribed bottles, regarded as exotic Western objects, may not only have been made for Dutch clients, but also for the domestic market. It is tempting to imagine that they were used for sake instead of wine. (Jörg 2003/1, p.221, cat. 276a)

 

A saucer with a similar decoration is known in the Musée Ariana in Geneva. On Japanese porcelain it is already very rare to see an image of a identifiable type of export porcelain, but the image of such a specific object (the bottle with FW initials) is unique. The scene is traditional and does not refer to the Dutch, Decima or the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The two pick nicking figures are Japanese dressed, so it could be obvious that they drink sake (rice wine), so the bottle is in use as a sake bottle. It could very well be that this scene gives a representation of the habits in use in Japan at that time. Upper class people in Japan have always been interested in exotic ceramics and it can be read in VOC documents that Delfts Faience and German stone good were given as presents to high officials in Nagasaki and Edo. In that interest fits the use of a Western object like the bottle. Remains the question, are the initials a coincidence or were they ordered? Did the porcelain painter have a 'FW' bottle as an example which he copied as an exotic object or was there a tea service ordered by a Dutchman, for example for the person who also ordered the original 'FW' bottles? This seems not to be very likely because the commande element is so low prominent something not very likely to fit in that time. It is however so that bottles like this where used by Japanese and Europeans to contain alcoholic beverages. (Jörg 1989/1, pp. 396-407)

 

For an identically decorated teacup that was donated earlier to the collection of Oriental ceramics of the Groninger museum, please see:

Condition: A fleabite to the rim.

 

References:

Jörg 1989/1, pp. 396-407.

Jörg 2003/1, p.221, cat. 276a.

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2010609
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Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares with Western Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2010609

 

Teacup

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 47 mm (1.85 inch), diameter of rim 77 mm (3.03 inch), diameter of footring 35 mm (1.38 inch), weight 59 grams (2.08 ounce (oz.))

 

Exhibited: The World at Home: Asian porcelain and Delft pottery held from 17 June 2017 to 24 March 2019 at the Groninger Museum, The Netherlands.

  

Teacup on footring, straight rim. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, black, gold and various other translucent enamel colours. On the outside a riverscape with mountains, houses, flags and pine trees. Two fishermen in a boat on a river. Two farmers walking with a leashed water buffalo near rocks and trees with birds in flight. On a rocky river bank two figures are having a pick nick, besides them on the ground stands a teacup on a footring, a rectangular box with chop sticks and a clearly recognisable bottle with the initials 'FW'. On the bottom in a single circle flowering stems and around the rim a zig-zag lines pattern border.

 

In 'Fine & Curious' an identically decorated saucer is published. On this saucer we see the same scene with the same two fisherman having a pick nick on a rocky river-bank with besides them on the ground a teacup on a footring, a rectangular box with chop sticks and a clearly recognisable bottle with the initials 'FW'. Jörg states that the initials 'FW' could very well indicate the owner or the contents, for example Franse Wijn (French wine). In this context it is interesting to note that parts of an export teaset are known that have an Imari decoration of a scene of two Japanese pick nicking on a rocky riverbank under a tree. The bottle with the initials 'FW' is clearly recognisable. European objects were greatly desired in Japan and such inscribed bottles, regarded as exotic Western objects, may not only have been made for Dutch clients, but also for the domestic market. It is tempting to imagine that they were used for sake instead of wine. (Jörg 2003/1, p.221, cat. 276a)

 

A saucer with a similar decoration is known in the Musée Ariana in Geneva. On Japanese porcelain it is already very rare to see an image of a identifiable type of export porcelain, but the image of such a specific object (the bottle with FW initials) is unique. The scene is traditional and does not refer to the Dutch, Decima or the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The two pick nicking figures are Japanese dressed, so it could be obvious that they drink sake (rice wine), so the bottle is in use as a sake bottle. It could very well be that this scene gives a representation of the habits in use in Japan at that time. Upper class people in Japan have always been interested in exotic ceramics and it can be read in VOC documents that Delfts Faience and German stone good were given as presents to high officials in Nagasaki and Edo. In that interest fits the use of a Western object like the bottle. Remains the question, are the initials a coincidence or were they ordered? Did the porcelain painter have a 'FW' bottle as an example which he copied as an exotic object or was there a tea service ordered by a Dutchman, for example for the person who also ordered the original 'FW' bottles? This seems not to be very likely because the commande element is so low prominent something not very likely to fit in that time. It is however so that bottles like this where used by Japanese and Europeans to contain alcoholic beverages. (Jörg 1989/1, pp. 396-407)

 

Condition: A short hairline to the rim.

 

References:

Jörg 1989/1, pp. 396-407.

Jörg 2003/1, p.221, cat. 276a.

 

The Groninger Museum already had a identically decorated saucer in their collection of Oriental Ceramics but the matching teacup was missing. I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to once again complete this unique and very rare set so I decided to donate this teacup to the collection of Oriental ceramics of the Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands.

 

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2010697
2010697

Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese wares with Western Designs 1653-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2010697

 

Bottle

 

Japan

 

Late 18th-early 19th century

 

Height 174 mm (6.85 inch), diameter 98 mm (3.86 inch), diameter of mouthrim 32 mm (1.26 inch), diameter of footring 60 mm (2.36 inch)

 

Bottle of slightly tapering cylindrical shape on low footring, the shoulder tapering into a short neck with a double mouthrim. Greyish body. Inscribed in a light underglaze blue with 'JAPANSCHZOYA' (Japanese soy).

 

The shape and lettering of this bottle show an individual touch and differ from the more later 19th-century pieces. It is therefore considered here as a forerunner and is dated accordingly. These bottles were used as containers for transporting soy and sake to the West. (Jörg 2003/1, p.224) 

 

For similarly shaped and decorated bottles, please see:

Condition : A hairline to the neck and fine crazing to the glaze.

 

References:

Volker 1959, Pl. XVII, cat. 22.

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 282

 

Price: Sold.

 

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