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A Japanese Arita blue and white porcelain VOC dish


Arita, late 17th century

Diam. 32.1 cm

These dishes, ordered by the VOC during the second half of the 17th century, were copied after the popular Chinese Wanli ‘Kraak’ porcelain. With the war in China between the Ming and Qing, starting in 1644, the source of supply of porcelain from China came to a sudden end, and the Dutch turned to Japan for porcelain in the ‘Kraak’ style. This style is characterised by a central floral and bird motif, surrounded by a radiating segmented border with alternating panels of pomegranates and bamboo. In Arita the VOC ordered these plates with the monogram added, to be used by the company staff in the East and also as diplomatic gifts. After peace was restored in China and the Qing- dynasty firmly established in circa 1700, porcelain was ordered from China again, for Japanese porcelain was too expensive.

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