Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Sold Ceramics

 

Sold Chinese Imari 1700-1800

 

Western Shapes

 

Page 1

Chinese porcelain producers developed new types of decorations in the early 18th century, Chinese Imari being one of them. It is characterised by a combination of underglaze blue and overglaze red and gold. Details are sometimes in black and green enamels. This development was a reaction to the success of Japanese Imari porcelain with a similar colour scheme. Sometimes Chinese imitations are direct copies of Japanese examples but more often Chinese Imari is decorated with typical Chinese motifs that are closely related to the underglaze-blue patterns of the period. However, the use of red and gold makes Chinese Imari more lavish. Landscapes, flowering plants, birds and mythical creatures are recurring motifs. Depictions of humans are less frequent and apart from armorial pieces, European designs are quite rare. The shapes fit into the normal export assortment. Chinese Imari was not only in demand in the West, but also in south-east Asia, India, and the Ottoman Empire. In the VOC (Dutch East India Company, 1602–1799) records it is called 'Chinese-Japanese' and in addition to blue and white and enamelled wares, this was a standard type in the Company's assortment that was bought in Canton until the end of the 18th century.

2010233
2010233

Sold Ceramics - Sold Chinese Imari 1700-1800 - Western Shapes - Page 1

 

Object 2010233

 

Tankard

 

China

 

1710-1730

 

Provenance: Mrs Elburg-van Dam, Groningen, The Netherlands.

 

Height 130 mm (5.12 inch), diameter 85 mm (3.35 inch), diameter of mouthrim 85 mm (3.35 inch), diameter of footring 65 mm (2.56 inch), weight 441 grams (15.56 ounce (oz.))

 

Tankard on footring. C-shaped handle and an underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold. The cylindrical sides are decorated with two panels filled with a flowering peony tree. In between the panels flower heads on a whorl pattern ground. On the a trellis pattern border with four reserves filled with flower heads. A single flower spray on the C-shaped handle which ends in a ruyi-shaped ornament.

 

For centuries lo-alcoholic beer had been a common less risky alternative to water, which often was quite polluted. There has therefore been a long design tradition of beer ware such as beer jugs, mugs and crucibles. As soon as the possibility arose of having porcelain copies of all kinds of practical Dutch (household) ware manufactured in China, beer jugs were also often made to order there. Both tall straight models as well as bulbous types were available. In Japan beer mugs were only manufactured for trade during a short period of time in the late 17th century. The existence of Delft copies of these jugs illustrates that there must have been a considerable demand for them in the Netherlands in those days. (source: Groninger Museum)

 

For a similarly shaped and decorated tankard, please see:

Condition: Two firing flaws to the outer footring, a fleabite to the rim and a frit to the underside of the ruyi- shaped ornament.

 

References:

Sargent 2012, p.183

Emden 2015/1, cat. 46

Emden 2015/2, cat. 46

Groninger Museum

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011723
2011723

Sold Ceramics - Sold Chinese Imari 1700-1800 - Western Shapes - Page 1

 

Object 2011723

 

Small mug


China

1720-1730

 

Height 62 mm (2.56 inch), diameter of rim 55 mm (2.17 inch), diameter of footring 55 mm (2.17 inch), weight 115 grams (4.06 ounce (oz.)) 

 

Small mug with handle on a flat unglazed base. Around the base three moulded circular ribs. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, overglaze iron-red and gold with a riverscape with houses, pagodas, flowering plants, mountains, clouds and two kidney-shaped reserves filled with a flowering stem. On the handle a floret between scrolls.

 

For a similarly, Chinese Imari decorated, tea caddy, please see:

Condition: Perfect.

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2012082
2012082

Sold Ceramics - Sold Chinese Imari 1700-1800 - Western Shapes - Page 1

 

Object 2012082

 

Chamberstick

 

China

 

1720-1740

  

Height 95 mm (3.74 inch), diameter of scale 135 mm (5.31 inch), diameter of cylindrical candle holder 29 mm (1.14 inch), diameter of foot 83 mm (3.27 inch), weight 193 grams (6.81 ounce (oz.))

 

Chamberstick on footring swelling base with a flat rim, cylindrical candle holder with C-shaped handle. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold on the flat rim with three peony flower sprays, on the swelling base two groups of flowering cherry and on the cylindrical candlestick holder, a taihu (garden) rock with flowering peony, bamboo and iris plants. On the handle a single flowering stem.

 

The VOC (Dutch East India Company) started to order Chinese porcelain in European shapes as early as 1634. Ewers, beer mugs, candlesticks, salts, mustard pots and other objects for the Dutch table were made after wooden models, which served as moulds for the Chinese potter, or were copied from Dutch glass, ceramic or metal equivalents. Such pieces may justly be called Chine de commande, as they were ordered specially by Western clients. The term also applies to porcelain with Western decorations.

Producing porcelain after models to the taste and needs of foreign customers was no novelty for the Chinese potters. Since the 14th century they had been making all kinds of special objects for the Persian, Indian, South-East Asian and other markets, and this new Western demand merely expanded the range of non-Chinese shapes.

In the late 17th and 18th century demand for Western shapes rapidly increased and Europeans became such important clients that several kilns in Jingdezhen came to specialise in 'Western' wares, probably making nothing else.

The constant changing demands of customers and the frequent ordering of new shapes made it necessary to provide the Chinese dealers with models. The Dutch and other European merchants supplied objects of earthenware, porcelain, silver, pewter or wood for that purpose, but it was also common practice to send drawings of the desired shapes. Literally hundreds of such drawn models were made in the West and handed over to the Chinese porcelain dealers in Canton with specifications regarding measurements, the number of pieces to be made and how they should be decorated. These middlemen then sent the drawings on to the factories in Jingdezhen, where they would have been thrown away after use, so that only a very few have by chance been preserved.

The European companies preferred to buy in bulk the basic, ordinary wares for which there was always a steady market. Pieces of an unusual Western shape or finer items such as coolers, ewers and basins, bough pots and covered jars were seldom bought. The costs of ordering these objects, the attention they needed and the small numbers the European market could absorb made them less interesting to the companies as merchandise. To the independent Western merchant, however, these considerations did not mater, while members of East indiamen's crews filled their sea chests with exclusive porcelain in Western shapes.

 

In paklijsten (packing lists) of the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) candlesticks are mentioned as part of dinner services. The candlesticks of the Pronk dinner service at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome are a beautiful example. This chamberstick clearly modelled after a portable Western metal flat chamberstick, could very well have been part of a large Chinese Imari dinner service. (Lunsingh Scheurleer 1989, pp.150-1532), (Jörg & Van Campen 1997, pp.252-253) 

 

Although candlesticks were one of the earliest European forms chosen for copying (with the exception of the dinner service), these creations did not survive the 18th century in any quantity because they were too delicate for everyday use, in spite of their decorative appeal. Clearly this Chinese Imari chamberstick also proved to be too delicate for everyday use, luckily it has been professionally restored. (Howard 1994, p.216)

 

For examples of other chambersticks, please see: 

For a Japanese Arita export porcelain leaf shaped chamberstick, please see: 

Condition: Restored.

 

References:

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1989, pp.150-152 & cat. 130

Howard 1994, p.216 & cat. 256

Jörg & Van Campen 1997, pp.252-253

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 237

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011627
2011627

Sold Ceramics - Sold Chinese Imari 1700-1800 - Western Shapes - Page 1

 

Object 2011627

 

Small beaker


China

1720-1730

  

Height 50 mm (1.97 inch), diameter of mouthrim 40 mm (1.58 inch), diameter of base 21 mm (0.83 inch), weight 35 grams (1.23 ounce (oz.))

 

Small cylindrical beaker with spreading foot and mouth and an underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). The base is unglazed. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, overglaze iron-red and gold with flowering plants and an insect in flight.

 

This small beaker derives its shape from European models, perhaps even to that of Dutch silver or pewter Communion - or marriage cups from the second half of the 17th century. This shape is extremely rare in Chinese export porcelain. The function is not yet clear, it may have been used for drinking "genever" (Dutch-gin). (Hartog 1990, p.150)

 

For similarly shaped small beakers, please see:

For a similarly shaped Japanese small beaker, please see:

Condition: A circular firing flaw on the bottom, a Y-shaped glaze hairline to the inside (only visible on the inside). Some spots of popped bubbles of glaze on the rim caused during the firing process.

 

References:

Hartog 1990, cat. 100

Staatliche Schlöser und Gärten 1998, Kat. Nr. 101

Kyushu 2003, cat. 2954

Sargent 2012, p.183

 

Price: Sold.

 

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