This perfume fountain is made up of three different pieces of seventeenth-century Chinese blue-and-white porcelain, united by a series of delicate gilt-bronze mounts. It was no doubt made for a Parisian “marchand-mercier,” a person who combined the roles of antique dealer and interior decorator. The marchand-mercier exerted a great influence on the taste of the period through his control over the designers and craftsmen he patronized. Unusual objects like this perfume fountain were often commissioned specially for a particular client or interior.
Porcelain had been exported in great quantities into Europe since the mid-seventeenth century and pieces were often broken in transport. This perfume fountain was made of parts salvaged from three separate, damaged covered jars. Together they present an object of exotic, yet suitably restrained, beauty.