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•D2361. Blue and White Garniture

Delft, circa 1760

Unidentifiably marked C .F. in blue

Comprising three baluster-form vases and covers and a pair of beaker vases, each of octagonal form and painted with a Chinese landscape scene of a stylized rock and flowers below a large flowering branch and a willow tree, all within a molded rococo cartouche, the reverse with a leafy branch, and the covers painted within the molded cartouche with a similar landscape scene of flowers and a stylized rock, the reverse a leafy branch and surmounted by a foo- dog clasping a blue ground ball.

Height: 41 cm. ( 16.1 in.)

Initially inspired by the Chinese porcelain wares that were brought to the Netherlands by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Dutch modelers and painters often incorporated exotic features in their earthenware objects. The ‘Foo-Dog’ is one exotic subject that was used by the Dutch in both the paintwork and the modeled knops. The term ‘Foo- Dog’ is not the Western name for a Chinese dog, but for the Chinese guardian lions or Imperial guardian lions that were believed to protect against evil. These Buddhist lions are a common motif on Chinese porcelain. Even today, lion pairs are often placed at the entrances to temples, government offices and restaurants in China. The term “Foo” may be a transliteration to the Chinese characters that mean “Buddha” or “prosperity,” respectively. However, Chinese reference to the guardian lions are seldom prefixed with these characters, and more importantly never referred to as “dogs.”

Further, the Chinese porcelain factories in the eighteenth century changed the way they portrayed lions, from a sharp-clawed savage feline to a friendlier-looking beast. To the Dutch, these Chinese lions looked like the dogs they kept as pets. The Delftware painters often made them look even more familiar and unthreatening by giving them wild manes and human facial features. As in Chinese porcelain, the covers of Delftware vases are also sometimes surmounted with a knop in the shape of the Foo-Dog, as this blue and white garniture shows.

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