Sawasa ware
"Miracles in black and gold"

A JAPANESE SMALL SAWASA 'PEACH-FORM' CRUCIBLE CUP

 

Edo period, early 18th century

With a gilt foot-ring and inside, with a handle to one side of the cup in the form of a leafy branch with prunus flowers, extending along the sides of the cup, ending in two leaves at the opposite end of the cup with a small rose on the rim, with a cartouche to each side with gilt floral sprays in high-relief, as well as a round cartouche with flower decoration.

H. 4.7 x W. 7.5 cm

Note:
For a Sawasa cup with saucer see Uit Verre Streken, November 2018, item 51.
For further reading see the exhibition catalogue, Japanese export art in black and gold, 1650-1800, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 1999.

Sawasa ware is a particular group of black lacquered and gilt artifacts, produced initially in Japan/Nagasaki and later perhaps also in China and Indochina. These wares are characterized by their European shapes and Asian/Chinese decorative motives. From the late 17th till the late 18th century, the Dutch VOC, but more so private merchants, used the Dutch trade base, Deshima in Nagasaki, to order precious Sawasa ware for the rich Eurasian elite in the VOC headquarters in Batavia but also to satisfy the taste for exotic rarities in Europe.

 

With the collapse of the VOC, the occupation of the Netherlands by the French armies and of the Dutch East Indies by the English at the end of the 18th century, the production of Sawasa ware came to a sudden end.

A JAPANESE SAWASA GILT- AND LACQUER CUP AND SAUCER

 

Edo-period, early 18th century

 

The black-lacquered cup with gilt handles in the shape of sculptured chrysanthemums and a lobbed edge decorated with gilt engraved border, with a gilt foot-ring that fits into the saucer ring, with two cartouches showing partly undercut gilt relief trees and birds on a gilt granulated background, black lacquered bracket-lobed edge, depicting gilt engraved peony scrolls and three cartouches decorated with high relief gilt trees and birds on a gilt granulated background, the centre with engraved chrysanthemum, enclosed by a raised ring upon which the cup fits, around which a circular panel decorated with high gilt relief trees, flowers, birds and a butterfly on a gilt granulated background.
 

Cup: H. 5.7 x W. 8.5 cm
Saucer: Diam. 13 cm

 

Provenance:
Collection Felix Schäfer

 

Note:

The decoration of the cup and saucer is identical to the slightly smaller cup and saucer in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (inv. No. NG-1994-37-1/E). In a still life painting by Pieter Gerritszoon van Roestraten (1627-1700), three pairs of similar Sawasa cups and saucers are depicted (Sawasa, Japanese export art in black and gold, 1650-1800, Rijksmuseum 1998, fig. 12).

A LARGE JAPANESE CIRCULAR SAWASA TOBACCO JAR

 

18th century

Sawasa alloy of 94% copper, 2% gold, 1.5% silver and 1.2% arsenic, the jar consists of an inside gilt copper box with a gilt lid and an outer jar of black lacquered open relief scrolling foliage with a cover with a knob finial.

Diam. 12.5 x H. 14.2 cm

Note:

These tobacco jars were made for the Dutch and for export.
A similar one is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum (illustrated in Sawasa, Japanese export art in black and gold, 1650-1800, pg.78).

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