Amsterdams Bont is the Dutch name given to a specific group of Chinese or Japanese porcelain that was over-decorated with enamels in the Netherlands.
The group consists of Chinese and Japanese underglaze blue decorated porcelain that were exported Holland.
Under the assumption that polychrome decorated porcelain brought higher prices than the plain blue and white, additional enamelled decoration were sometimes added onto these porcelains to generate some extra income. The artistic ambitions varied wildly.
Sometimes the new decoration respected the original Chinese or Japanese decoration, and elaborated on it. At other times, the painter was not so respectful and over-painted the blue, creating a chaotic design.
It needs to be emphasized that the reasons for any western over decoration on preciously decorated wares could vary wildly. In general however, the purpose was always to get into the porcelain business somehow, by adding a value.
Occasionally fully decorated white wares - blanks - seems to have had their entire decoration added in Holland. To this Japanese wares seem to have been preferred.
Over-decorating seems to have first appeared around 1700 and continued far into the 18th century. Dated pieces are rare, and because there is almost no documentary information on Amsterdams Bont, it is difficult to say when exactly these pieces were made. As a rule of thumb, more carefully painted objects are regarded as earlier.
The flower basket, in Dutch de bloemenmand was by far the most popular motif used on Amsterdams Bont pieces decorated in the Netherlands.
The name Amsterdams Bont might be referring to where they could be bought rather than to where they were made. There are no indications that it was done exclusively or even on a particularly large scale in Amsterdam.
These over-painted pieces could have been made and fired in addition to their normal assortment in Delft, Makkum or Harlingen where Dutch tin glazed earthenware (faience) was produced, but it could also have been done in tile factories such as those in Rotterdam, or possible at pretty much any private kiln set up for the purpose.