Tea canister

Dutch (Delft)
about 1695-1720
Probably made by Lambertus van Eenhoorn, proprietor, De Metalen Pot Factory (Dutch, 1651–1721)


Height: 14 cm (5 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tin-glazed earthenware

On View

Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)





Square vessel with flat shoulders and fitted, threaded lid. Sides decorated with landscape vignettes containing a building, tree, and three birds in yellow on black ground. Each side framed by yellow and black border design of a floret within a diamond within a circle.

The black glaze on this container for storing loose tea imitates Asian lacquer as well as Chinese porcelain. Both were exotic imports prized by Europeans. Achieving a glossy black ground color on pottery was technically challenging, labor-intensive, and costly. As a result, only about sixty pieces like this one are known in the world today.


Two labels:
"Aronson Antiquairs / Amsterdam"
"Collection G. Ephis"


Three raised strips above one another (possiby intended as a mark?)


By 1936, Gilbert Lévy (b. 1884 – d. 1944), Paris [see note 1]; by descent within the family; December 10, 1996, Lévy collection sale, Etude Tajan, Hotel George V, Paris, lot 18, probably to Aronson Antiquairs (dealers), Amsterdam; 1999, sold by Aronson to the G. Ephis collection (private collector), France; 2012, sold by the G. Ephis collection to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 24, 2012).

NOTE: [1] Gilbert Lévy was an important porcelain collector and dealer who perished at Auschwitz. After he was deported, portions of his collection were hidden by a colleague, and were recovered after World War II by his son. Lévy’s family consigned the collection for sale in 1996.

Credit Line

The G. Ephis Collection—Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously, Charles Bain Hoyt Fund, John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, Mary S. and Edward J. Holmes Fund, William Francis Warden Fund, Tamara Petrosian Davis Sculpture Fund, John Lowell Gardner Fund, Seth K. Sweetser Fund, H. E. Bolles Fund, and funds by exchange from the Kiyi and Edward M. Pflueger Collection-Bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and Gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger