Artist/maker unknown, French
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One of the numerous faience factories in Nevers, a city located in central France, made this monumental vase. It is decorated with chinoiserie motifs--European interpretations of Asian art and culture, sometimes real and sometimes imagined--that became popular in the second half of the seventeenth century. The figures appear to be engaged in a game, but one that does not seem to have an Asian equivalent.
Tin-glazed earthenware in imitation of blue and white Chinese porcelain was first produced in the Netherlands, most famously in the city of Delft, from which the fashion spread to other European countries. This vase's bottom border of acanthus leaves derives from Chinese examples. The acanthus leaf design, found in ancient Greek art, came to China by way of the Middle East.