Arita ware tankard
From Arita, Japan
Edo period, 17th century AD
Made for the European market
This tankard, with its sophisticated design of butterlfy and peony motifs was made for the European market in the style of Chinese underglaze blue, commonly known as 'blue-and-white' porcelain. The design is painted on the body with blue cobalt oxide, which was also imported from China. The translucent glaze was then added over it. It was known as sometsuke ('dyed ware').
The silver mountings were added later and bear the mark of Wierwick Somer II of Antwerp (1645/7 -1717). They suggest that Japanese porcelain was highly valued at this time in Western Europe.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)