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Taiwan Formosa vase?

by Tim
(Utrecht, NL)

My parents got this antique vase for me when they lived in Taiwan. The vase portrays European ships and people, apparently commemorating the long trading relationship Formosa (as Taiwan used to be known as) had with the Dutch East India company.

Is this really an antique vase? From what part of Taiwan is it? Any idea when it was made?



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Apr 03, 2011
by: peter

Hi Tim,
I'm no authority regarding Taiwan ceramics, although I live there. But as far as I know the Zhonghua Taoci Gongsi was the only porcelain manufacturer that made vases of some size. It is defunct now. As far as I know it operated from the late 50s for about 30 years, producing mainly vases, and the main subject was scenery, often painted in the same style as Chinese paintings, and main products were decorative items, like vases, plates brush pots, jars, etc.

Taiwan's ceramics industry is going to back to the 19th century only, as far as I know. Mostly it was used to produce rice bowls, etc., practical items needed in everyday life. The style is completely different from China, however. Taiwan was ruled by Japan for fifty years, since the late 19th century, and Japanese styles have influenced all crafts. during that period.

The company mentioned above, had their own mark which is very easy to recognize.
The mark you have on this item is the character Fu (Happiness), which has been used in the Ming and Qing dynasties, but handpainted in blue, usually.
I don't think this is a vase, by the way, but rather a container or bottle of sorts. The decoration style tries to revive ancient Chinese designs, but the colors, etc. are all wrong.
Unless this was a made-to-order item I think it is unlikely that it was made at all in Taiwan. Apart from the above mentioned company, all others didn't produce such items, probably, and the local products are generally of a completely different type.

I also don't think this is a local design because the Taiwanese don't know much about the VOC, apart maybe from the fact that Taiwan was in Dutch hands at a time and a Chinese fleet defeated the Dutch. Real immigration from China did only begin after that, probably. Taiwan was mainly populated by aborigines, before that.
The following four hundred years would have obliterated all consciousness of this past.

Your item possibly was made in China, but can at the most be vintage.

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