A large Japanese Imari porcelain 'VOC Groningen' dish
Arita, late 19th/early 20th century
Diam. 43 x H. 7.4 cm
This porcelain dish with underglaze blue and overglaze decoration in red, green, yellow, black, aubergine enamels and gold, is depicting in the rim two groups of Dutchmen, -women and children, two groups of Portuguese, twice the crowned coat-of-arms of the city of Groningen over a ribbon inscribed ‘Groeningen’, and twice the coat-of-arms of Jan Albert Sichterman (the Sichterman squirrel looking more like a
kangaroo). In the well the initials VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) are under a crown and surrounded by twigs with leaves and peaches. The reverse is decorated with three views of townhouses and a church tower with a cross, supposedly the ‘Martini toren’ of Groningen, and three times the VOC monogram on a red and green background.
These kinds of plates catered to the need for exotic imagery amongst the Japanese tourists visiting the port cities to see the newly arrived Europeans and Americans.