The first official shipment of lacquer, arranged by Jacques l'Hermite, a manager of the VOC in Bantam, arrived at Texel on the Dutch ship "de Roode Loeuw met de Pijlen" in 1610. Jacques l'Hermite advised the Board of Directors to commission the Japanese to produce lacquer following specifications sent from Europe.
Throughout the 17th century, Japanese lacquers were exported to Europe. Along with the cabinets, coffers and other functional objects there were rare forms including armorial dishes, ewers and basins. Many of these pieces were used by the VOC as gifts to rulers and high officials. Most of the armorial pieces including shields were privately ordered as they bear personal coats of arms, including those of the Company's Chief Merchants. An example is the shield in the Rijksmuseum with the name Happart above a coat of arms.
Private trade in lacquer was not permitted and is not recorded in the VOC documents. However, the merchants on Deshima were able to conduct private transactions.
Compare the current dish to another one with the arms of Michiel Tymonsz Hinpolen, a Dutch collector of the 17th century, sold in our London Rooms, 17 June 1996, lot 1.
See also a very comparable dish with arms attributed to the Dutch merchant Nicolas Joan van Hoorn, sold by Beaussant Lefèvre at the Hotel Drouot, 16 Avril 1999, lot 107.