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•D2408. Blue and White Rectangular Tea Canister with Cover

Delft, circa 1690

Marked AK in blue for Adrianus Kocx, owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1687 to 1701

The body depicting a man sitting on a horse hunting with a deer and two dogs around him, in the background a blossoming tree and a mountain, on the sides chinoiserie figures doing work on the sides, floral scrollwork on the top and the cover depicting a man on a horse, the foot-rim decorated with a band of overlapping petals.

Height: 12.4 cm. (4.9 in.)

Hunting is an old aristocratic sport, and is especially popular as a subject for paintings. In Chinese hunting, hawks and hounds were mostly used. Firearms were rarely employed, and even then, the imperial hunting arsenal only included the traditional local flintlocks. Bows and arrows were occasionally employed, and deer were the main game.

On the present tea canister, the hunter on horseback carries a second arrow in his left hand as he strikes his victim. While the delicately rendered deer and dogs present help during the hunt, the powerful horse is depicted in an animated “flying gallop,” with bulging muscles suggesting the frenzied excitement of the chase.

On transitional wares, the entire area was covered with a continuous scene that often consisted of landscapes with animals or figures either conversing or in a moment of spirited action. The decoration on this specific tea canister shows elements of engravings by Petrus Schenk II.

A unique type of decoration evolved from these different Chinese styles, which is freer and shows the Delft interpretation. Chinese figures, landscapes, architecture and attributes are rendered and composed in a way that evokes Chinese style: Chinoiserie. This style originated in the seventeenth century and quickly became a dominant fashion throughout Europe, enduring through the first half of the eighteenth century. The faience painter chose the elements which he considered the most characteristic for exotic Asia and combined it as he wished.

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