A Chinese porcelain anhua Tea Caddy, Kangxi, circa 1720, the overglaze enamel and gilt decoration added in Holland, circa 1730
This Chinese porcelain tea caddy was made for export to Europe in the late Kangxi period (1661-1722). It initially possessed only the underglaze blue borders, the ochre rim, and the anhua or ‘veiled’ floral design which can just be seen beneath the glaze. Soon after its arrival in Holland, the tea caddy was further decorated with enamels and gilding. The two long sides are decorated with a standing Chinese figure holding a flower in each hand, whilst a seated figure holds a single flower. The figures are surrounded by larger peony blooms. The two narrow sides are decorated with a seated figure holding a flower. The canted corners are decorated with red and gilt diaper panels. The underglaze blue borders are decorated with gilt scrolls, and the top of the caddy is decorated with red peonies. The base is unglazed.
Condition: There is wear to the Dutch enamel and gilt decoration in places, as well as typical fritting, particularly along the edges and corners. Original potting, glazing and firing flaws. There is a chip to the bottom edge and a tiny nick at the opening. No cracks and no restoration. The original porcelain cover is invariably lost in the mists of time.
Dimensions: Height 10 cm; Length 8.2 cm; Width 4.7 cm
European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, 1700-1830, Helen Espir (Jorge Welsh Books, 2005).
The Watney Collection of Chinese Porcelain Decorated in Holland and England (Bonhams, 2003).