Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Japanese Imari 1690-1800


Object 2012251


Covered bowl






Height with cover 95 mm (3.74 inch), height without cover 65 mm (2.56 inch), diameter 132 mm (5.20 inch), diameter of footring 64 mm (2.52 inch), weight with cover 418 grams (14.74 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 198 grams (6.98 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 chrysanthemum plants growing from banded hedges, three connected bamboo sticks and a butterfly in flight alternating with a flower head on an underglaze blue ground with foliate sprays in gold. On the outer footring two concentric bands in underglaze blue. The cover is decorated en suite. The strap handle decorated in gold and iron-red is flanked by two groups of half flower heads with leafy scrolls and is surrounded by a border with three groups of wide spread leaves.


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)


For similarly shaped covered bowls, please see;

Condition: Two firing tension hairlines, caused during the firing process, to the base, two frits to the footring and a hairline with fleabite to the bowl.



London 1997, cat. 95

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 116

Keramiek Museum Princessehof


Price: € 249 - $ 280 - £ 223

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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