Another example was exhibited at the British Museum in 1990.1 A Delft albarello that may have been the inspiration for this piece is illustrated in Pharmaceutical Pottery and Porcelain in Europe and the East 1150-1850 by Rudolf Drey,2 and Apothekerspotten by Dr Wittop Koning.3 Sherds of Dutch style albarelli have been discovered at the kiln sites of Sarukawa and Shimoshirakawa in Arita. For a discussion on the importation of European ceramics into Japan during the 17th century, see Oranda, Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, Tokyo.4
Dr Impey discusses the Arita albarello, similar to the one above in The Beginnings of the Export Trade in Japanese Porcelain.5 He mentions that in 1652, 1265 pieces, large and small medical pots were shipped to Batavia.6 These would have been used in the surgeon's and apothecary's shops in Batavia.
1 J. Ayers, O. Impey, J. Mallet, Porcelain for Palaces: The Fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750 (London, 1990)
2 Rudolf Drey, Apothecary Jars (London, 1978)
3 Wittop Koning, Apothekerspotten uit de Nederlanden (Deventer, 1954)
4 Hiroko Nishida, Oranda: European Ceramics Imported into Japan During the Edo Period (Tokyo, 1987)
5 O. Impey, The Beginnings of the Export Trade in Japanese Porcelain (Arita, 1989)
6 Manuscript in the Algemeen Rijksarchief in the Hague, Factorij Japan, 776