Lot 87. A large Arita dish with the monogram of the VOC [Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie], Edo period, late 17th century; 38.5 cm. diam. Estimate GBP 12,000 - GBP 18,000. Price realised GBP 13,750. © Christie's Images Ltd 2017
The shallow dish decorated in underglaze blue with the central roundel containing the initials of the Dutch East India Company, VOC [Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie], surrounded by two ho-o birds amongst pomegranate and camellia, the six radiating border panels at the rim enclosing alternatively bamboo with plum blossoms and peony divided by narrow bands of stylised foliage
Note: The porcelain in the second half of the seventeenth century ordered by the Dutch from Deshima Island were copied from Chinese Wanli 'kraak' porcelain. With the collapse of the Ming Dynasty in China in 1644 Holland's great source of supply of Wanli blue and white 'kraak' porcelain suddenly came to an end, and as a consequence the Dutch turned their attention to Japan. From about 1660 to 1700 a great variety of shapes and designs were exported to Batavia.
The 'kraak' style is mainly characterised by a central floral or animal motif surrounded by a radiating segmented border. The designs of the Japanese 'kraak' style dishes show some differences from the original Chinese prototypes. The wider panels without the use of auspicious symbols, and the depiction of the phoenix (ho-o birds) with their fanned-out tails, which again was later imitated in Europe on faience and porcelain. Dishes with the VOC. monogram are naturally exemplary of East West relations in ceramics and the role the company played in them. No special mention is made of them in the trade documents, but it can be taken that they were ordered for the use of the company staff at the factory on Deshima and possibly also in Batavia and other factories in Asia.
For similar examples, see:
Nagatake Takeshi, Yabe Yoshiaki, Imari, vol. 19 of Nihon toji taikei [Compendium of Japanese ceramics] (Tokyo, 1989), pl.30
Toguri Bijutsukan [Toguri Museum of Art], Nihon toji meihin zuroku [Japanese ceramics in the Toguri collection] (Tokyo, 1988), p. 95, 296, no.134 (the Toguri Museum of Art collection)
Christiaan J.A. Jorg, Fine and Curious, Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections (Amsterdam, 2003), p.225, no.285 (the Groninger Museum collection)
Similar example sold in:
Asian Art, Christie’s, Amsterdam, May 20th, 2008 – May 21st, 2008, Lot number 0401, sale number 2786
An Arita blue and white V.O.C. dish, Circa 1680; 36.2 cm. diam. Sold for EUR 11,650 at Christie’s Amsterdam, May 20th, 2008, Lot 401. © Christie's Images Ltd 2008.
For a similar example in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, museum number 3-1886
Dish, blue and white porcelain, with VOC monogram, Arita ware, 1660-1680. Diameter: 36.5 cm, museum number 3-1886 © Victoria & Albert Museum, London