Eighteenth-century porcelain pieces with _sujets de l'orient_ are familiar to most collectors, and it's always entertaining to see how the French, German, and Italian designers and craftsmen conflated Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Persian, and Japanese stylistic elements. Certainly the deserve credit for trying, however! We can see a similar conflation in this exceedingly unusual mantle clock from around 1780: the subject is clearly Japanese, but the stepped marble base and squared "fence" are distinctly Chinese. What really impresses about this piece, though, is what the maker got right: the woman's robe is very near to true Japanese designs, but what's really astounding is the vase with the koi motif. The impressionistic character of Japanese design was obviously to have a profound impact on French painting in the late 19th century, but here, a hundred years earlier, we can see an extraordinarily accurate reproduction of this impressionist aesthetic. Condition is excellent, and the clock mechanism functions smoothly. France, circa 1780. H: 12"/30cm.