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Bowl
BP 3583
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

A deep, large bowl on a foot ring with a wide spreading rim. There are three spur marks on the base. It is decorated in underglaze blue. In the centre, there is a pond with two cranes, rocks and plants. On the sides there is a continuous river scene with houses on a rocky shore and boats. On the rim, there is a similar scene. On the outside of the bowl, there is bamboo, pine trees, prunes and clouds. On the reverse of the rim, there are two long foliate sprays. This bowl is skilfully and boldly decorated in various hues of blue in a manner redolent of Japanese scrolls of the Kano school.

History of the Object
The shape of this bowl is similar to that of a Chinese kraak porcelain ‘klapmuts’. Interestingly, the Dutch East India Company (The VOC), curious to discover if such objects could be sold profitably in The Netherlands ordered ‘a few large washbasins’ in 1660, and again in 1662. Apparently, the basins were not successful, as they are not noted in later documents. This is probably one such washbasin, of which only a few were made, though we know nothing of orders outside official VOC channels. This piece marks the emergence of Japanese porcelain production for the Dutch, which officially started in 1656 when the Heeren Zeventien, the directors of the VOC, requested Japanese porcelain as replacements for Chinese porcelain, which had become almost impossible to obtain in quantity. By 1684, the VOC had purchased and shipped more than 227.000 Japanese pieces to The Netherlands, excluding Company orders for the inter-Asian market and the unknown quantities bought privately. After 1683, the VOC resumed their purchase of cheaper Chinese porcelain, which had become available again, but continued to trade in small quantities of Japanese porcelain in Asia. In the 19th century, this bowl was in the possession of Christoffel Bisschop (1828-1904), a Dutch artist born in Leeuwarden who depicted it on an oil painting of his studio. This painting is now in the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden. Bisschop’s heirs donated his collection and studio to the Province of Friesland in 1908.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Porcelain, underglaze blue 
Measurements
height 20.8 cm, diameter 46.2 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century; c. 1660; Edo period (1603-1867) 
Function
probably ordered as a washing basin 
Acquisition
In 1908 this bowl was donated to the province of Friesland. It came from the collection of the Dutch painter Christoffel Bisschop. 
Copyright
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Acknowledgements
C.J.A. Jörg, "Fine & Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections", Amsterdam 2003, cat.no. 3; C.J.A. Jörg (ed.), “Oosters Porselein in Nederland: vier museumcollecties”, Groningen 2003, cat.no. 45 
Owner
Fries Museum (Leeuwarden), on long term loan at Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Museum
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden 
Credit line
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands 

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