Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Sold Japanese Blue and White wares 17th Century


Tableware and other Porcelain with Western Shapes


Page 2

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)


Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese Blue and White wares 17th Century - Tableware and other Porcelain with Western Shapes - Page 2


Object 2012100








Height with cover 167 mm (6.57 inch), height without cover 99 mm (3.90 inch), diameter of mouthrim 216 mm (8.50 inch), diameter of footring 75 mm (2.95 inch), weight with cover 1,382 grams (48.75 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 571 grams (20.14 ounce (oz.))


Chamber-pot on footring with spreading upturned rim, two C-shaped curved handles with thumb-rests. Domed recessed cover with flattened knob. Decorated in underglaze blue with peonies sprays and foliage. On the rim a foliate scroll. On the handles a formal foliate pattern. The inside with an unglazed (biscuit) band fitting the original cover, the cover is decorated en suite


Besides dinner services, covered jars, tea, coffee and chocolate sets also other utilitarian or luxury items were ordered after a Western model. These included cylindrical beer mugs, barbers' bowls, cuspidors and chamber pots therefore these objects can be considered Japon de commande


The biscuit band fits the cover. Similar examples are known without such a band. Sherds of chamber-pots of this type were not only found in abundance excavations at Deshima. testifying to their local use by the Dutch, but also in former Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) settlements on Java. There is even an example in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul. Another is in the Dresden Collection. They occur in different sizes, including very large; a variant has two handles. All are painted with similar large sprays, sometime rather coarsely. As a non-fashionable utility-ware they are difficult to date, and their production may have continued for a long time. Sherds have been found at the Shimoshirakawa and Sarugawa kilns, both of which continued production until the mid-18th century. They might have been made in other kilns as well continued until the mid-18th century. (Jörg 2003/1, p.164, cat. 188)


For similarly shaped and decorated chamber-pots, please see:

For sherds from the Pasar Ikan and The Banten Lama site of similarly shaped and in underglaze blue decorated chamber-pots, please see:

Condition: A hairline to the pot and a restored cover.



Volker 1954, cat 37

Amsterdam 1972. cat. nr. 102

Daendels 1981, cat. 88

Kyushu 1990/1, cat. 261 tm 264 & cat 343 tm 345

Jörg 2003/1, p.164, cat. 188


Price: Sold.


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Sold Ceramics - Sold Japanese Blue and White wares 17th Century - Tableware and other Porcelain with Western Shapes - Page 2


Object 2012030


Cuspidor / Spittoon






Height 90 mm (3.54 inch), diameter of rim 142 mm (5.59 inch), diameter of footring 64 mm (2.52 inch), weight 410 grams (14.46 ounce (oz.))


Cuspidor or spittoon on footring. Compressed globular body, the upper part with straight, spreading sides and an everted underglaze brown-edged rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with flowerheads and leafy scrolls. The outside of the upper part is undecorated on the inside three flowering peony sprays.


Cuspidors were indispensable in the interior especially in the East Indies where both tobacco and betel nuts were chewed. Volker mentions Japanese porcelain and copper cuspidors in the lodges of the merchants on Deshima for 1701 and 1702. Excavations at the Deshima site yielded sherds of several examples, also proving their use there. Dutch metal or earthenware cuspidors will have served as models, although the same shape has been known in Chinese ceramics since the Tang period, serving as a vase for a lotus flower. Interestingly, the VOC documents make no mention of Company shipments or orders for cuspidors, and they must therefore have been shipped privately. Cuspidors / spittoons were made in a number of Arita kilns, such as Chokichidani, Tani and Shimoshirakawa. (Volker 1959, pp.28-29), (Jörg 2003/1, p,166)


The doll’s house of Petronella Oortman (1656-1716), c.1686 - c.1710, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, BK-NM-1010. Two spittoons are standing beside the table and chairs. (Picture courtesy :


For similar cuspidors or spittoons, please see;

Spittoons were made in a number of Arita kilns, such as Chokichidani, Tani and Shimoshirakawa. (Jörg 2003/1, p,166)


For an example of a sherd of a cuspidor / spittoon excavated at the Tani kiln site in Arita, please see:

Condition: A tiny firing flaw to the rim.



Volker 1959, pp.28-29

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1971, cat. 185

Daendels 1981, cat. 122 & 123

Kyushu 1990/1, Fig.19

London 1997, cat. 32

Arita 2000, p.87, cat. 163

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 195 

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, BK-NM-1010

Judith's garden (website)


Price: Sold.


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