Vanderven Oriental Art

Orientalist Ewer


China, Kangxi period (1662-1722) circa 1710
H: 29.8 cm | W: 19.8 cm


Private Collection, The Netherlands 2011


Vanderven Imitation & Inspiration Catalogue 2021, no. 16

Detail Description

This pear-shaped ewer and cover, with an oval cross section, is decorated in what is known as ‘Chinese Imari’ decoration, which combines underglaze blue with overglaze red and gold. It is richly moulded with a central peach shaped panel; with concave fluted petals around the neck and convex petals around the lower body. It has a dense decoration of leaves and sprays of chrysanthemums and peonies, painted with lines or washes of red or blue. There is a plainer bulb around the narrowest part of the neck, only decorated with a band of red swirls, between blue lines. The almond shaped rim and domed lid both have moulded hinges, which were intended to be fitted with decorative metal or silver hinges. The lid has radial fluting and is topped with a spiral finial. The spout and handle are elegantly curved, the spout ending in a small bulb; both are decorated with blue leaves with red details. It stands on a low flaring foot, decorated with flowers under band of red swirls.

This shape of this ewer is copied with great accuracy from a Near Eastern metal prototype, which were in use in the Middle East since the 14thcentury. A considerable amount of Chinese porcelain was exported to the Turkish Empire, Persia and India during the 17th and 18th centuries. Especially for the Islamic markets, the Chinese potters would limit their decorative motifs to flowers and geometric shapes, as the human form was not allowed to feature in their art forms. It is possible that these ewers were made with matching basins, as hand washing was an important of daily life in India and Middle Eastern countries.

The collection of Augustus the Strong in Dresden has a very similar ewer (PO 5486) and the RA Collection, Brazil has an identical pair, mounted with hinges. The Topakpi Saray collection in Istanbul, also has several variations. The Saberk Hanim Museum, Istanbul has a ewer of the same shape, but with only iron red and gold decoration as does the Victoria & Albert Museum, London 9240B & C-1876).

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Orientalist Ewer