A late 17th century Arita bowl and cover, of European form known in France as 'ecuelle', decorated in the Chinese Transition style, made for export by the Dutch East India Company
Arita kiln, Japan, c1680
Modelled after a silver/gold European form known in France as 'ecuelle' - a bowl which was given to a noblewoman on her birthing bed, containing a hearty broth to revive the new mother after child-birth. The bowl was traditionally given as a gift by the father, and each of the handles show three demi-flowerheads, or hearts, representative of the father, mother and newborn child.
The exterior of the bowl is decorated in in the Transitional style, in underglaze cobalt blue with Chinese male and female figures in front of a fenced terrace amongst rockwork, bamboo and pine trees, the low domed cover similarly decorated with a crisply modelled finial in the form of a fruit spray.
A superb example of 17thc trade, this piece beautifully demonstrates cross-cultural style: taking its shape from a European metalwork original, it's decoration from a Chinese Transitional period design, and it's materials and artistry from Japan, on order to the Dutch East India Company to be shipped out of Japan and sold a noble family in Europe.
For a similar example, without the cover, see Soame Jenyns, 'Japanese Porcelain' (London 1965) no. 21a(ii) (from the collection of Mr & Mrs Soame Jenyns).
Measurements: 17cm wide