This is a nice wine bottle with an underglaze cobalt blue design that reads VOC inside a floral wreath and that trademark is repeated on the base of the bottle. The bottle measures 6” high and is 4” diameter at its widest. The bottle is in excellent condition. It is possible that it actually dates from the 16th-17th century; however, there have been so many clever fakes and reproductions that have been made that we cannot validate such a date. To be conservative, we will date it as having been made in the late 19th to early 20th century with an unknown country of origin. It was purchased from a dealer in Asian antiques located in the Netherlands. The bottle is clearly hand potted as evidenced by the slightly crooked neck of the bottle. Wherever and whenever it was made, it is a handsome piece that memorializes a great early company in the Far East.
The VOC actually stands for the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or The United East India Company. It was founded March 20, 1602 as a result of the joining of forces of several small Dutch trading companies, all having the common goal of increasing trade with the East Indies. The Dutch had first arrived in Asia in 1596, and persisted for several years as independent traders, making a small profit, but with a loss of up to two thirds of their ship's crew each round trip.
Many of the ships of the VOC were wrecked, in sites ranging from the North Sea to the very harbor of Batavia (Jakarta). A rich heritage of artifacts has been recovered from them, including porcelain and China, pepper and spices, indigo and dies, wood, cooking vessels, armaments and shipboard equipment. Very few of the porcelain pieces in the use of the VOC were ever marked and fakes with the VOC mark added to heighten interest, abounds today. Everything from clumsy South East Asian pieces that would not fool anyone except the most optimistic bargain hunters, to real good pieces, mostly looking as if they were Japanese.