- Museum number
Chinese porcelain bottle, overpainted in Holland. The pear-shaped bottle has a thin long neck and is decorated in underglaze copper-red with three fabulous lion-like beasts with underglaze cobalt-blue eyes. This design was embellished in overglaze enamels of the Japanese 'Kakiemon' palette with three bearded men in aubergine dress, standing with swords poised as if about to kill the aminals among small flowers between three different trees. The design is framed at the bottom by a border of pendant floral motifs and at the rim by a border of pendant red-and-gold lappets; the lip was overpainted in brown. The unglazed base is inscribed with a simulated Chinese four-character mark in red.
- Production date
Height: 21.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990
A rather globular porcelain bottle with tapering, tall neck and small foot. It was decorated in China with three comic-looking mythical beasts round the sides in underglaze copper-red. The Dutch enamelled additions comprise three large, rustic-looking European figures in purple tunics threatening the animals and between them, flowering trees in the Kakiemon style and palette growing from a field of plants. A stiff-leaf border in red rings the mouth.
Compare the subject matter of No. 262. These would appear to be among the earlier types of Dutch enamelling in Japanese styles.
Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994:
Bottles of this type, decorated in underglaze red and blue, are characteristic products of the Jingdezhen kilns in Jiangxi province, of the Kangxi period (1662-1722). The overglaze enamel decoration was added in Holland, probably soon after. Both Chinese and Japanese porcelain was copied in Europe, where the colour scheme of the 'Kakiemon' kilns, composed of turquoise, red, blue, green and some yellow, was particularly popular (see London, 1990, no. 183 and compare nos. 100 and 101). Chinese porcelains overpainted in Holland are generally known as being 'clobbered', but this overpainting, mainly used to add colour to blue-and-white porcelain, is usually of a much coarser type than on the present piece.
The mastery of the Kakiemon style enabled the decorator to insert elements in unexpected and seemingly inappropiate places. The Dutch decorator of this bottle has let his imagination run riot and painted a sword wielding bearded European man beside each beast. The men step over plants and avoid being entangled in trees painted in the Kakiemon style and palette. The merging of Japanese and European elements is rare, but several of these bottles were painted with the same combination of European figures and "Kakiemon" trees. Other bottles decorated with this pattern can be found in the Ashmolean Museum or in the Groninger Museum.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995 27 Jan-26 Mar, London, BM, G91, East Meets West: Chinese Trade Ceramics in the British Museum
2021-22 29 Oct - 16 Jan, Shanghai, Shanghai Museum, West Encounters East: A Cultural Conversation between Chinese and European Ceramics
- Registration number