- Museum number
A pair of porcelain bottles with underglaze blue decoration. These bottles each have a round body and a long tubular neck with a bulge in the middle and stand on a thick foot ring. Both are painted in 'transitional' style. The first bottle is decorated around the lower bulb with a gentleman, dressed in scholarly round-necked robes and a winged hat, holding a tally of office in his left hand. He is approached by a respectful servant holding a tray on which is placed an arrow vase, containing three arrows. Behind the central figure are two servants holding large ceremonial fans on long poles and behind these are two further servants carrying insignia of office resembling maces on long poles. Surrounding these figures is a garden landscape and the end of the scene is marked in typical 'transitional' style with a bank of swirling clouds. Three Western-style flowers, possibly tulips, adorn the neck and are repeated around the top. The base is glazed but unmarked.
The second bottle shows on one side four figures gathered around a saddled horse with a lame leg. One man holds a folded parasol, another the horse's reigns, a third rests on his staff and the fourth holds a stick out towards the horse. All the figures are dressed in hats, cross-over robes, tied at the waist over trousers, and boots. On the other side, a scholar, wearing an official winged gauze cap, attended by a servant holding a fan, is engaged in conversation with another man wearing a brimmed hat. Two further servants stand a little way off holding gifts including a bolt of cloth. Surrounding these figures is a landscape and the end of the scene is marked in typical 'transitional' style with a bank of swirling clouds. Three Western-style flowers, possibly tulips, adorn the neck and are repeated around the top. The base is glazed but unmarked.
- Production date
- 1628-1644 (circa)
Height: 38.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Harrison-Hall 2001:
Faience bottles of this same shape, decorated in polychrome enamels over the glaze, were made in Ottoman Turkey at Iznik. Compare, for example, an earlier Iznik bottle in the British Museum (OA 1878.12-30.465), dating to c. 1560-80. Chinese bottles of this type are quite common. Another example with different figural scenes is in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Tulips were introduced to Holland from Turkey via Vienna between 1573 and 1587. However, between 1634 and 1637 speculative prices for tulip bulbs ran so high that a rare variety could fetch a fortune in florins. About this time the tulip begin to appear as a decorative motif on both Delft and Chinese porcelains.
- Not on display
- Registration number