VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Bottle
NO 4625
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

It is a large globular bottle on a foot ring with the tapering neck ending in a ring and a spreading, massive mouth. The actual opening is only 2.2 cm wide. Decorated in Japan with the initials B.S. and in smaller script below Wn: in a circle on the shoulder. Otherwise the bottle was left blank. It was overdecorated in enamels in The Netherlands, possibly in Delft, with chinoiserie designs of a landscape and a procession with soldiers, figures, horses and an elephant with a black mahout. On the shoulder there are lambrequin motifs incorporating the circle and its initials. The initials could stand for Balthasar Sweers, who was Opperhoofd on Deshima in 1690. A pair of bottles in the British Museum show the same initials but without the Wn: (Willemszoon, ‘son of William’). The overdecoration in chinoiserie style shows great skill, and was either based on as yet unknown prints or is an autonomous mixture of Oriental elements. As an example of ‘Amsterdams Bont’ (overdecorated ware), this is one of the most magnificent pieces in existence.

History of the Object
Bottles of various shapes were regularly ordered by the Company for the ‘Chirugijnswinkel’ (Surgeon’s Shop) in Batavia. However, this example can hardly be handled when filled and far exceeds the largest bottles mentioned in the Company’s records that could hold ’10 pounds’, about 4950 grams. It is therefore likely to have been a private order and was either used to hold liquids such a oil or wine or was intended as a decorative object.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Porcelain, overglaze enamels 
Measurements
height 52.5 cm, diameter 37 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan, Netherlands 
Geography
Japan or Netherlands 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century; 1690; Edo period (1603-1867) 
Function
decorative 
Acquisition
Unknown. It came from the collection of the founder of the museum, Nanne Ottema (1874-1955). In the collection records of 1941 this bottle is mentioned for the first time. 
Copyright
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Acknowledgements
C.J.A. Jörg, "Fine and Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections", Amsterdam 2003, cat.no. 280. 
Owner
Ottema-Kingma Stichting, on long term loan at Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Museum
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden 
Credit line
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands 

Other
Masterpieces

SEE ALL MASTERPIECES
OF THIS MUSEUM

  • Bell
    China
    AD 16th century ~ AD 16th century
  • Dish
    China
    AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century
  • Ewer
    China
    AD 15th century ~ AD 15th century
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