Description & Technical information

Qianlong period
Italian, Portuguese or Spanish Market
Rare Chinese export wine ewer or coffee pot with slender serpentine spout and elaborate scroll handle, brightly enamelled primarily in yellow, blue, iron-red and shades of green, with touches of pink, with large stylised flower heads, strapwork, arabesques and acanthus leaves, the ogee domed cover similarly decorated below the bud finial.

The style and the enamelling of this extremely rare piece are copied from the ceramics of the Italian Vezzi factory. The colouring and bold designs are distinctive and known on only a few Chinese export services from this date, mainly for the Iberian market, some being known with Portuguese ecclesiastical arms.

The Vezzi factory was set up in Venice by Christophe Conrad Hunger in 1721 and only lasted until 1727, with less than two hundred pieces surviving. Hunger was a defector from the Vienna factory under the directorship of Claude Du Paquier from 1718 to 1744 and so the decorative style of Vezzi porcelains (copied by the Chinese on this piece) is strongly influenced by the patterns of Du Paquier. They also appear to be influenced by the strap work designs of Jean Berain and the post-renaissance decorative friezes found on much Venetian furniture and frescoes.

The elaborate shape is taken from silver coffee services of the time and a few other pieces probably from the same coffee service are also known, including a teacaddy and wine cups.

Date:  1740
Period:  1600-1750, 18th century
Origin:  China
Medium: porcelain
Dimensions: 25 cm (9⁷/₈ inches)
Literature: REFERENCES: Buerdeley, Michel (1962) Porcelain of the East India Companie, p83, tureen, cover and stand in similar decoration; Castro, N (1988) Chinese Porcelain and Heraldry of the Empire, p87, three services with the arms of the Bishop of Oporto; Le Corbeiller, Clare (1973) China Trade Porcelains, a Study in Double reflections, a general discussion of these pieces.

Categories: Oriental and Asian Art