KANGXI or YONGZHENG c.1700 – 1730 Dutch Decorated Chinese Porcelain

A Kangxi or Yongzheng Porcelain Vase with an Underglaze Blue Dragon to the Neck, Decorated in Kakiemon Style in Holland c.1720-1730. The Design is of an Exotic Bird (Probably a Hō-ō Bird) on a Branch of Chrysanthemum with Brightly Coloured Rocks Below. There is Prunus Growing Next to a Bamboo Stem and `Banded Hedge` and Prunus Blossoms Scattered Over the Surface of the Vase.


Condition: Badly damaged, a section from the top has been restuck, the dragon's head and fore arm have been restored (replaced with a filler and painted over).

Size: Height : 22 cm (8 1/2 inches)



Stock number: 23668.

Helen Espir`s notes mentions “four of these bottles were in the collection of Augustus the Strong after 1727, over decorated in Holland with large `Japanese` figures.

Hō-ō Bird / Ho-Ho Bird :
The Japanese Hō-ō bird is type of auspicious phoenix and is similar to the Chinese Fenghuang. the Hō-ō appears only in peaceful and prosperous times (nesting, it is said, in paulownia trees), and hides itself when there is trouble. As the herald of a new age, the Hō-ō descends from heaven to earth to do good deeds, and then it returns to its celestial abode to await a new era. It is both a symbol of peace (when the bird appears) and a symbol of disharmony (when the bird disappears). The Hō-ō Bird appears frequently in Japanese porcelain of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, especially in Kakiemon wares. Ho-Ho is often used when referring to English porcelain versions of these Kakiemon designs.

Kakiemon Porcelain :
Kakiemon decoration is usually of high quality, often delicate and with well-balanced asymmetric designs. The designs were normally quite sparse emphasizing the fine white porcelain body known in Japan as Nigoshide (milky white). The opaque white milky Nigoshide body was used on the finest pieces, it appears that it was reserved for fine quality enamelled decoration. Kakiemon porcelain was decorated with a great variety of imaginative designs which include elements such as the `banded hedge`, `flying squirrel`, and the `Quail and Millet` design. The `Three Friends of Winter` were also a very popular group of designs, other subject taken from nature include flowers (especially the chrysanthemum, the national flower of Japan) as well as birds and rock-work. Figural subjects such as the `Hob in the Well` were also popular. This design illustrates a Chinese folk tale where a sage saves his friend who has fallen into a large fish-bowl by throwing stones at it, braking open the pot. Banded-Hedges were a formal device within Japanese traditional gardens, they were often incorporated in designs, includes `The Three Friends of Winter` (Pine, Bamboo and Prunus). These three plants signify perseverance, as neither the pine nor the bamboo shed their leaves in winter and the plumb (Prunus) flowers at the very end of the winter, heralding the arrival of spring.

References :
Two similar Kangxi Dutch decorated vases are illustrated in : European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain 1700 – 1830 (Helen Espir, Jorge Welsh Books, 2005) page 91, fig. 24.
Another similar Kangxi bottle was exhibited at the British Museum in a n exhibition organised by the Oriental Ceramics Society `East Meets West : Oriental Porcelain Decorated in Europe` in 2000. Published in `Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society` Volume 65. 2000-2001. Page 114, item 44.

Provenance :
One of a pair of restored bottles bought from Pat Butt, Portobello Road, 8th January 2000.
The Helen Espir Collection of European Decorated Chinese Export Porcelain :
“a member of the Oriental Ceramic Society and collector, with her husband. Having made a typical collection of Song and provincial Ming blue and white, they decided to concentrate on what used to be called `clobbered` porcelain. She is the author of the standard work on the subject, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain,2005, the first to examine the work of European decorators on Chinese porcelain throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focusing on enamellers in Holland, Germany and England. She has learned Chinese.” From Provenance ; Collectors, Dealers & Scholars : Chinese Ceramics in Britain & America (Roy Davids, Dominic Jellinek, Privately Printed, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9570148-0-0).

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