China & Japan

Due to its long history of seclusion to the rest of the ever-changing world, Japan was and still is a very tradition-set empire. Only the Portuguese and later the Dutch were allowed to trade with the country, which resulted in a relatively untouched and unique culture. The Japanese are famous for their balance in life and with nature as well as their spirituality and great patience. Possibly this is the reason Japanese have taken crafts and art to one of the highest levels achievable. Japanse art and antiques are by far the richest, beautiful and are elaborate in all their simplicity. Whereas the rest of the world, during the 12th century and onwards was in horror vacui (the fear of emptiness in art), the Japanese maintained 'simplicity is sophistication'. Renowned for their lacquer, ivory and wood carvings, porcelain, painting and all other artistic outings, the Japanese are the absolute craftsmen of the world.

The Chinese civilization is one of the oldest in the world, and also one with the most recognizable tradition of artistic style unique in the world. From early archaic bronzes to Chine de Commande or China for the West: all Chinese art is recognized by exquisite craftsmanship and high desirability.

Immense quantities of Chinese porcelain were exported to Europe. The porcelain made under Emperor Wanli, (1572-1620), was the first porcelain shipped to the West by the Portuguese. This so-called 'kraak' porcelain, was very valuable, and for instance, the Dutch, who did not have an East-India fleet at that time, would enter the Portuguese ships as pirates and steal the precious cargo. As the ships were called 'kraken', the porcelain soon became known as 'kraak' porcelain. Starting from the 17th century the rest of the world started trading with China and all sorts of Chine de Commande was imported. Such as the high-quality Kangxi porcelain pieces, or Qianlong porcelain with European coat-of-arms.

The Chinese produced for the West, but they still produced porcelain in their own 'Chinese taste' for the domestic market. These objects are still loved by the Chinese, as the products for the West are still valued by the Westerners. 

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An extremely rare and large Chinese famille verte armorial dish with the Amsterdam coat-of-arms
Kangxi period, circa 1710-1720

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Two small Japanese imari porcelain ewers for vinegar and soya

A Japanese Imari porcelain beer tankard

A drawing of a Chinese bird’s nest, signed A: E: Van Braam Houckgeest

A Japanese wood block print, Ukiyo-e, depicting the capture of Pieter Nuyts

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A Chinese export drawing of a Canton tea-warehouse by an unknown Chinese artist
Canton, late 18th century


A Chinese Shih-Hua or ‘dream-stone’ in a wooden frame

18th century

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A Japanese scroll painting depicting Lorenz Heister (1683-1758)

A rare Japanese Nagasaki school scroll painting, Kakemono, attributed to Ishizaki Yũshi (1768-1846)

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A Japanese colour woodblock print, Nagaski-e, titled Oranda fujin no zu (Dutch ladies)

A rare pair of Kyoto-Nagasaki style lacquer and mother-of-pearl inlaid knife urns

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A Sawasa armorial wax container with the seal of De Graeff family