Orientalist Ewer

Object nr. 429 China, Kangxi period (1662-1722) circa 1710 Height: 30 cm | Width: 20 cm

Private Collection, The Netherlands

Condition Report available

€ 18,000

This object can be viewed in our gallery.

Additional Information

Orientalist Ewer

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.

- John Carswell, Chinese Ceramics in the Sadberk Hanim Museum, Istanbul 1995, p.121 nr.152

- David S. Howard & John Ayers, China for the West; Chinese Porcelain and other Decorative Arts for Export illustrated from the Mottahedeh Collection - Volume I. London / New York,  1978, vol II p.461-2 nr.470

- Regina Krahl, R. & John Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul; A complete catalogue, part III: Qing Dynasty Porcelains. London, 1986 pl.2919, 2944&2946

- Maria Pinto de Matos, The RA Collection of Chinese Ceramic : A Collector’s Vision,  London,  2019, vol.4, p.256 nr. 105

Floris van der Ven