A large Kakiemon-style Dutch decorated Japanese porcelain wine bottle with initials PDR


Arita, 1670-1690, decorated in Holland, circa 1710-1725

H. 32 x Diam. 21 cm
Diam. 13 cm (foot ring)
Content approx. 4.5 litres

On the base, decorated in Japan in underglaze blue, are the initials PDR inside a wreath. Apart from that, the bottle was left blank, but was overdecorated in the Kakiemon style in Holland in red, green, and blue enamels with gold, called 'Amsterdams Bont' or ‘clobbered’.

The initials PDR possibly stand for Paulus de Roo. Paulus de Roo was born in Batavia in 1658, son of Cornelis de Roo opperchirurgijn (head-chirurgeon) of the VOC and Anna Andriessen. In 1685 he was a merchant and fiscal (public prosecutor) in Dutch Suratte. In 1689 he was Boekhouder-Generaal (head-bookkeeper) in Batavia and Secretary of the High Government in Batavia in 1690. In 1694 he was appointed Commmisaris of Suratte on the Malabar Coast, where he died in 1695. There were whispers that he was poisoned because he had made enemies by suggesting bookkeeping improvements and being too honest). He left behind his wife, Sebastiana Zas and three children.

Paulus de Roo had never been stationed in Japan, but the Governor-general under whom he served, Johannes Camphuys, had been Opperhoofd in Japan three times, from 1671-1673, 1673-1674 and 1675-1676. There are a few Arita wine bottles known with his initials I.C also inside a wreath on the base (see Uit Verre Streken, November 2015, no. 44). Paulus de Roo and Johannes Camphuys were close friends, and the present bottle might have been a present by Camphuys to his friend De Roo. To add to the suspicious death of De Roo: they both died in 1695…