Batavia ware emerged in China during the Kangxi Period (1661-1722) and was produced specifically for the export market. Characterised by a chocolate exterior glaze, ‘Batavia brown’ was achieved by using iron oxide as a pigment, which was then fired at high temperatures. The colour was used in conjunction with painted enamels in blue and white, Imari style colours, ‘Famille Rose’ (known as fencai or yangcai in Chinese), and ‘Famille Verte’ (known as Kangxi wucai in Chinese).
Batavia ware was first imported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company through the port of Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia), from which the name derives. Along with ceramics, products such as tea, coffee, cacao, spices, and opium were brought into Europe from this major trading hub. Batavia ware designs were imitated by European manufacturers such as Meissen and Leeds, remaining popular amongst wealthy Europeans until the mid 18th century.