VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Fountain jar
OKS 1981-93
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The baluster urn or a water fountain on a flat base has a thick rim and a domed cover with finial. A hole has been made for a tap above the foot. Decorated in polychrome enamels and gold. The body of the urn has been decorated on two sides with an elaborate cartouche, with an acanthus leaf below. One is decorated with a man sitting in a garden, smoking a pipe. The other side is decorated with an Asian woman holding a yellow plate. The space around the cartouches has a ground of pink trellis work, the rest of the body has turquoise trellis work. Around the foot a band has purple trellis work and a garland. Around the tap hole there is a rosette. Around the neck there is a band with purple trellis work and shells reserved in white. The cover is decorated with tassels against turquoise and black trellis work. It is special because it could be the "unknown" third design of Cornelis Pronk.

History of the Object
In 1734 the directors of the The Dutch East India Company (VOC) commissioned the Amsterdam artist, Cornelis Pronk (1691-1759) to make sets of drawings for the decoration of Chinese porcelain. In all, he made four different designs for the VOC, the first being a chinoiserie scene which is generally called ‘The Parasol Lady’. The set of drawings was sent to Batavia and then to Canton in 1737. Two of the original drawings have survived and are now in the Print Room of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Dinner services, tea sets and other items decorated with these designs were produced in underglaze blue, Chinese Imari and polychrome enamels and sent to the Netherlands in 1737 and 1738. Of the four designs Pronk made for the Company, we know the first (The Parasol Lady), the second (The Doctors), and the fourth (The Arbour), but the third design is unknown. To complicate matters further, several other closely-related designs in Pronk’s style are known on Chine de Commande, so it has to be assumed that he also made other drawings for other clients. It is not clear if this design, known as the ‘Pipe smoker’, is the third design or one of the other designs.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Porcelain, overglaze enamels 
Measurements
height 50.3 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th century; c. 1738; Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795) 
Function
decorative 
Acquisition
Acquired in 1981 at an auction at Sotheby's in London. 
Copyright
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Ottema-Kingma Stichting, on long term loan at Keramiekmuseum Princessehof 
Museum
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden 
Credit line
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands 

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