Romantic transmigration of images and its mystery

By Etsuko Zakoji

Spode Porcelain, Dollar Pattern


Figure 1a I have been always fascinated by the transmigration of images between the East and the West.There is something very romantic about this journey of the abstract and its vast scope seems dynamically global. The first time I picked up a cup and saucer (Spode porcelain c. 1810-1830) showing this strange pattern, I could not help smiling.It was so obvious that the pattern was a child of the imitation and invention of a European craftsman copying some Oriental patterns.

The characteristic of the pattern is formed by two horizontal almond shaped circles depicted with two vertical lines in the centre. It made me smile again when the owner of the antique shop told me that the pattern is called "Dollar Pattern" from its shape. Figure 1bAn Oriental pattern interpreted by a European craftsman and named after the American currency! I had many opportunities to see the same pattern again and again in different places. It seemed to me that the pattern was quite stylised and conventionalised. The more I saw the pattern the more I came to be interested in knowing more about its origins.

Figure 2The Definition of Dollar Pattern

Dollar Pattern is explained in An Illustrated Dictionary of Ceramics on P.98 as A decorative border used on 17th century ISNIK POTTERY. It takes the form of a figure drawn like a large S lying on its side between ammonite scrolls. It is actually a degenerate version of the Rock and Wave Pattern found on 15th century Chinese blue-and -white porcelain.
Figure 1b The definition above does not seem to be explaining the so-called "Dollar Pattern" which is found in Spode porcelain. Probably the above definition refers to an authentic dollar pattern and does not apply to the"Dollar Pattern" of Spode which is probably a common or popular name used by dealers. It is obvious that our so-called "Dollar Pattern" is not painted as a decorative border, but a main pattern in a Cartouche or segmented area. Also it looks more like a pattern depicting something like a tree rather than rock and wave. Continues...
Copyright © 1994 Etsuko Zakoji
This document last updated 16 August 2006

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