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Style Japonism, Chinoiserie / Ref.11023

Manufacture J. VIEILLARD & CIE, A rare dish decorated with Koi carp in Japanese style


Diameter: 9''   23cm

19th century, French

Good condition

A rare example of the early taste for Japonism in the decorative arts of the 19th century, this dish is signed by the famous Bordeaux manufacturer Vieillard & Cie. Dating from the 1870s, our piece is characterized by its great elegance and bright colors.

The rounded shape of the fish is probably inspired by the decoration of a tsuba, the hilt of a Japanese sword. The Koi carp is often associated with the Japanese sword, the entrance to the sheath of which is called the “carp mouth”. The sword represents power, the koi illustrates courage and perseverance. An ancient Chinese tale reports that the bravest Koi carp, managing to swim up the Yellow River, transformed into dragons.

Note this acid green, uncommon in Bordeaux earthenware creations. The use of such vibrant colors could reveal the influence of Christopher Dresser, famous English designer of the Victorian era. To date, only one other comparable dish is known. Kept in a private collection, it however presents different colors. The works of the Vieillard & Cie manufacture are kept in prestigious national institutions such as the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. These are always exceptional pieces of unrivaled quality.

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