Japanese Imari 1690-1800
Height with cover 95 mm (3.74 inch), height without cover 61 mm (2.40 inch), diameter 125 mm (4.92 inch), diameter of footring 56 mm (2.20 inch), weight with cover 337 grams (11.89 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 131 grams (4.62 ounce (oz.))
Covered bowl on footring. Straight sides, domed cover with strap handle. Imari, decorated with in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold. On the box three reserves filled with flowering peony and chrysanthemum plants and a fruiting pomegranate plant alternating with two flower heads on an underglaze blue ground with foliate sprays in gold. Round the footring a narrow border with a flower head between scrolls alternating with half flower heads between scrolls in gold on an underglaze blue ground. On the base a single concentric band in underglaze blue. The cover is decorated en suite. The strap handle is decorated in gold and iron-red with a single flower head on top.
Until around 1650, all porcelain imported to Europe comprised blue-and-whitewares. Inspired by Chinese porcelain, Japanese potters experimented with coloured enamels. The Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) focused on these new colourful wares as trade articles from the moment they were made. The decorations on this porcelain are frequently derived from Chinese examples. Imari decorations were among those that developed during this experimental phase.
Imari porcelain is named after the port Imari, from where porcelain was shipped to the Dutch Factory on Deshima Island in Nagasaki. Imari objects are usually decorated with exuberant and lively depictions. Besides underglaze blue, the other two dominant colours are iron-red and gold.
In 1680, Private traders replaced the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) as the main trading partner in Japan. They focused on porcelain made in European shapes. The high point of this production occurred around 1700. Besides tableware, garnitures and ornamental dishes were produced, As with Chinese porcelain, enamelled objects and porcelain were very popular.
(source: Keramiek Museum Princessehof, Leeuwarden)
The shape, most likely, derived from a European (silver) model, it was used as a small tureen. Jörg describes a bowl with cover on three low feet with a matching saucer this may indicate that originally the covered box also might have had a matching saucer. (Jörg 2003/1, p.110, cat. 113)
The crackled glaze is caused by the unequal contraction of the body and the glaze during cooling in the kiln after firing. (Jörg & Van Campen 1997, p.235)
For similarly shaped covered bowls, please see;
- Ko-Imari from the collection of Oliver Impey, (Barry Davies Oriental Art, London, 1997), pp. 168-169, cat. 95.
- Fine & Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections, (C.J.A. Jörg, Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam, 2003), p.111, cat. 116.
Condition: Firing flaws to the cover and base and fine crazing to the glaze all caused during the firing process.