Apothecary's Bottle

Apothecary's Bottle


Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration

Overall: 41.3 cm (16 1/4 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1966.514


This white porcelain bottle is decorated with cobalt blue birds and flowers. While inspired by functional apothecary jars used in medieval pharmacies, this bottle was likely decorative. Its underside has the initials IC, which are almost certainly those of Johannes Camphuys (1634-1695), who was in charge of the Dutch East India Company’s operations in Deshima in 1671. During the Edo period, the Japanese government relegated Dutch traders to the man-made island of Deshima in Nagasaki harbor as a means of preventing European influence on the native population.

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