Two very rare Japanese blue and white porcelain deep dishes with VOC monogram
Arita, circa 1680-1700
H. 5.9 x Diam. 32.2 cm
H. 6.5 x Diam. 34.5 cm (restored)
Different from the more common VOC dish with the spreading rim and the large monogram, These are deep dishes with curved sides and with a small monogram. They are decorated in underglaze blue with large branches of peaches and “Buddha’s hand”, or finger lemon fruit, and in the centre is the VOC monogram, having very little space and appearing a little displaced. Both fruits are traditional Chinese symbols of a wish for blessings and long life. This decoration is a Japanese copy of a Chinese Kangxi period dish (in the Groninger Museum, Groningen), with the VOC monogram squeezed in. The reverse is decorated with three peach sprays and a similar small VOC monogram in a circle.
This type, marked on both sides, is mentioned in the Batavia order of 1686, where it is stated that it was destined for the Governor-General’s residence (C. Vialle, Tot schenkagie daar het te pas comen sal, in Aziatische Kunst, 23-2, 1993 pp.7-34), to be used on the Governor-General’s table to entertain high ranking VOC officers, merchants and ship captains.
There is only one other example of this type of VOC dish in a Dutch museum; Werkspoor Museum, Amsterdam (K 0004). Another very similar one is in the collection of the Africana Museum, Johannesburg.
C. Vialle, Tot schenkagie daar het te pas comen sal, in Aziatische Kunst, 23-2, 1993 pp.7-34