A prized possession, Asian porcelain vessels were further enhanced in the European mind, as well as Westernized to a degree, by the addition of elaborate silver and gold mounts. Asian porcelains were exported from Japan and China to Europe, where they were embellished with silver mounts. Although mounted Asian porcelain had been known in France as early as the fourteenth century, they gained popularity after Siamese ambassadors visited Versailles during the late seventeenth century. Europeans also imported undecorated pieces of Asian porcelain, known as blanks, which were then decorated in Europe. Although enameled with a typical Japanese Kakiemon motif and color palette, the caddy shown here, one of a pair, was possibly shipped as a blank and then over-enameled in Holland, before being sent to France, where silver mounts were added.
Image: China and France, Caddy, 1662-1722/circa 1710, Utilitarian object; Ceramic, Silver and porcelain, a-b) Overall height: 7 in.; a-b) Overall diameter: 3 9/16 in., The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (L.2010.9.31a-b), Decorative Arts and Design Department.