Kakiemon style Deer and Maple porcelain creamerAn unusual creamer after the Kakiemon Deer and Maple pattern

What do you get after centuries of trade with more than one Asian country to satisfy European demand - one country copying another and even the destination market copying imported wares from its own factories? Sometimes, you get a mystery. And that is what we find ourselves with on this occasion (though perhaps this object is familiar to some) with this (we think 19th century) item held close for several years now.

The pattern of this delightful and colorful creamer originates from 17th century Japanese porcelain production - most famously Kakiemon. We have found only one other such creamer (not as carefully executed) said to be Japanese Kakiemon but we would have to disagree. The pattern gained popularity, also, in Europe after introduction by traders. And demand led to production not only from other kilns in Japan but also in Chinese Export porcelain often filling shortfalls of supply, interruption of production and trade, or price gaps create by diverse demand.

When we encountered the present example several years ago in a country antiques shop, we weren't certain of what production it was though recognizing the Deer and Maple pattern from Japanese examples. Our first sense was that it might be Chinese export given the very fine quality of porcelain, the use of magenta enamels, and lack of accompanying blue decoration. But we soon discounted that as well. That the porcelain holds embossed details and the foot being flat could point to a later Kutani origin. But the European form and (again) the very fine quality could point to Continental Europe where factories also worked to fill demand.

The body is thin enough in its potting to almost insist that it is European after Asian examples. This might also explain earlier (which the creamer seems to be) use of magenta enamel. It appears to be a high fired ware. The raised work might suggest Italian work to some but we do not get that feel. We think, at the moment, 19th century Continental (perhaps German, maybe French.) This may also explain the fawn coloring under the gilding but particularly noticeable along the tree's branches. The use of magenta enamel, areas of grisaille, and the Western form may indicate it was copied from a Chinese export example.

We welcome e-mail from those who might offer more certain attribution.

Thank you kindly in advance.