Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Japanese Porcelain

 

Japanese Imari 1690-1800

 

Page 1

When internal wars began to impede the production of, and consequently the trade in, Chinese porcelain toward the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), several Dutch Merchants began to buy porcelain in Japan. At the same time, the production of faience pottery in Delft was stimulated, in order to compensate the shortage of Chinese porcelain. From 1658 onward, the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) also recognized these commercial opportunities and began to order greater quantities of porcelain from Japan. In addition to a very diverse assortment of blue-and-white porcelain. largely in the style of traditional Chinese export goods, the coloured Japanese porcelain formed an unexpected new article in the Netherlands. It soon became very fashionable and the Company was able to generate a great deal of profit in this field.

 

One potter who benefited greatly from the new Dutch orders was Sakaida Kakiemon, who owned a porcelain kiln near Nangawara, just outside Arita. His porcelains characterized by a lucid whit composition and texture with decorations in various tints of enamel including orange-red, grass-green and blue.

 

By the second half of the 17th century, this porcelain had already seen the rise of a serious rival, the so-called Imari porcelain, named after the port in Kyushu from which it was shipped. This Imari was cheaper, and had vibrant, full decoration in cobalt blue, orange-red and gold, occasionally with extra details in green enamel, aubergine or black. It was manufactured specifically for export and harmonized perfectly with the baroque taste of the buyers in the Netherlands. It became so popular that the Chinese also began to produce it from the 18th century onward.

2012383
2012383

Japanese Imari 1690-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2012383

 

Small bowl

 

Japan

 

c.1700

 

Height 56 mm (2.20 inch), diameter of rim 95 mm (3.74 inch), diameter of footring 41 mm (1.61 inch), weight 105 grams (3.70 ounce (oz.))

 

Small bowl on footring, spreading sides with an everted rim. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, green, yellow, gray black enamel and gold with a flowering prunus and chrysanthemum spray between iris and flowering wisteria plants four peony flower sprays. On the bottom a flower spray in a double concentric band in underglaze blue. Round the inner and outer rim a double concentric band in underglaze blue. Round the foot an upturned pointed leaves-pattern border in iron-red. Marked on the base with the Chinese four character mark featuring zhi 'Da Ming nian zhi', made during the Great Ming Dynasty. (Davison 1994, cat. 852)

 

The absence of underglaze blue, may or may not follow kiln practice. Evidence from potsherds at kiln-sites does not suggest that some kilns made either the one or the other, rather that all kilns seem to have made both. On the other hand, there is a tendency in most examples for those pieces without underglaze blue to be more finely decorated and to bear more refined enamels; this may mean that they were emulating the Kakiemon, and therefore it seems more likely that this would have been the practice of some kilns and not others. (Impey 2002, p.191)

 

The Chinese marks only showing the dynasty (Ming) but not the name of the reign (e.g. Wanli) is not often seen (normally the Emperor’s reign is more significant). However they were found among the provincial wares for during few eras, such as Zhengde, Wanli, Tianqi, and Chongzhen. I think it is possible that they meant to avoid offending the government by not quoting the name of Emperor on commercial ware. (I am indebted to Mr. S. Fan for this information)

 

For other similarly decorated objects please see:

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Davison 1994, cat. 852

Impey 2002, p.191 & pp.195-195

 

Price: € 749 - $ 910 - £ 665

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

 

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2012343
2012343

Japanese Imari 1690-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2012343

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 53 mm (2.09 inch), diameter: 295 mm (11.61 inch), diameter of footring: 142 mm (5.59 inch), weight 1,033 grams (36.44 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring, spreading flat rim. On the base four spur-marks in a Y-pattern. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, green and gold. In the centre a roundel with a flower vase filled with flowering branches and four roundels filled with butterflies and bees and surrounded by a an upturned leaf shape-pattern. The sides with a ground of dense leafy scrolls in underglaze blue outlined in gold. Overlapping four large shaped panels alternating with four small shaped panels all filled with flower sprays. Groups of pomegranates alternate with groups of flowering chrysanthemum. On the reverse three wide spread chrysanthemum sprays. (Jörg 2003/1, pp.91-92)

 

The Imari style developed somewhere between 1670 and 1690, undoubtedly stimulated by the orders from the Dutch who liked the bright colours, the strong designs and the complex compositions. 'They got a of lot of decoration for their money', a collector once remarked and I think it was this, too, that appealed so much to buyers of Imari in The Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. In fact, the Imari style conformed to the fashion for polychromy and gilt-work in Europe at the time. The 17th century was ' The Golden Age' for The Netherlands. It was a period of great economic and cultural expansion and its impact was felt well into the 18th century. The richly decorated Imari pieces fitted perfectly into the baroque interior and appealed to the taste of the rich bourgeoisie, enhancing their social status. 

 

Condition: Some wear to the decoration and some popped bubbles of glaze, caused by the firing process, to the rim.

 

Reference:

Jörg 2003/1, pp.91-92

 

Price: € 899 - $ 1,091 - £ 795

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

 

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2011744
2011744

Japanese Imari 1690-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2011744

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

1700-1720

 

Height 40 mm (1.57 inch), diameter of rim 246 mm (9.69 inch), diameter of footring 113 mm (4.45 inch), weight 530 grams (18.70 ounce (oz.)),

 

Dish on footring, flat rim with upturned edge. On the base three spur-marks in a Y-pattern. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with a central floral spray. On the sides and rim a ground of 'crackled ice', four groups of chrysanthemums and grasses painted in red and gold over the blue ground and four reserved roundels with either a Japanese lady holding a fan or with a mother and child. On the reverse three flower sprays. Marked on the base with a square fuku (good luck) mark in running script. (Jörg 2003/1, p.112, cat. 117)

 

The 'crackled ice' ground already occurred on Chinese Transitional porcelain, but was particularly popular on Kangxi blue-and-white pieces. It was borrowed by Japanese porcelain painters in order to compete on the export market. The figures in the roundels are unusual. There is an identical bowl in the Dresden collection proving its early 18th-century date. Another is in the Hofsilber- und Tafelkammer in Vienna. (Jörg 2003/1, p.112, cat. 117)

 

The square fuku mark in running script on the base is common on blue-and-white Arita and Kakiemon ware. (Arts 1983, p.161)

 

For an identically decorated dish, bowl and cover, please see:

For an identically decorated bowl and cover, please see: 

Condition: A frit to the rim and a hairline to the centre.

 

References:

Arts 1983, p.161

Düsseldorf 2000, cat. 31

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 117

 

Price: € 399 - $ 447 - £ 341

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

 

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2010C245
2010C245

Japanese Imari 1690-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2010C245

 

Covered bowl

 

Japan                                     

 

1700-1720

  

Height with cover 110 mm (4.33 inch), height without cover 64 mm (2.51 inch), diameter 140 mm (5.51 inch), diameter of footring 66 mm (2.60 inch), weight with cover 568 grams (20.04 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 243 grams (8.57 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 flowering plants, ribbons and tassels alternating with a large shaped panel on a blue ground filled with a chrysanthemum flower head. Round the footring a narrow border with floral designs on a 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. On the base a rectangular paper label that reads: 'M'.  

 

The shape, most likely, derived from an 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 an matching saucer. (Jörg 2003/1, p.110, cat. 113)

 

For a similarly shaped covered bowl, please see;

Condition: Perfect. 

 

References:

London 1997, cat. 95

Jörg 2003/1, cat. 106 & 113

 

Price: € 899 - $ 999 - £ 812

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

 

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2011363
2011363

Japanese Imari 1690-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2011363

 

Dish

 

Japan

 

1710-1730

 

Height 30 mm (1.65 inch), diameter of rim 255 mm (10.98 inch), diameter of footring 141 mm (6.02 inch), weight 555 grams (19.58 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring, flat rim. On the base four spur-marks in a Y-pattern. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with flowering Fringed pink (nadeshiko) plants in a central roundel, surrounded by three flowering camellia (tsubaki) plants and serrated leaves in underglaze blue, gold and pink-wash. On the cavetto three underglaze blue cartouches filled with a florets between scrolls in gold alternating with iron-red and gold florets between scrolls. On the rim the following six groups of flowering plants; 

  • Fringed pink (nadeshiko), the Fringed pink (or large pink nadeshiko) blooms towards the end of summer, and as an early harbinger of the season is one of the Seven Flowers of Autumn. This flower is used in Japanese poetry as a poetic appellation for a woman.
  • Lotus (hasu), the close connection of the lotus with Buddhism has led to its being associated with death in the minds of the Japanese and it is not very often used as a decorative motif on Japanese porcelain. 
  • Peony (botan), the peony plant was probably introduced into Japan in the 8th century from China and has appeared as a motif on Japanese decorative arts ever since. As in China, in Japan, it is a symbol of high position and wealth.
  • Prunus mume (ume), in Japan the blossoms of the prunus mume primarily heralds the coming of spring, and is also used in art and literature to evoke the feel of the cold of winter loosening its grip.
  • Chrysanthemum (kiku), in Japanese culture, like many autumn motifs, the chrysanthemum evokes feelings of melancholy.
  • Cherry (sakura), in Japan the cherry blossom, along with the chrysanthemum, are regarded as the most important flowers. It is because of its immaculate, pure white blossom that the cherry is esteemed so much in Japan. The cherry blossom is emblematic of purity of life and of the samurai spirit. This is derived from the fact that the petals of the  cherry blossom leave their calix when still fresh, and twirling in the air, as if dancing and unmindful of their approaching end, show gaity and merriment before touching the ground, that will be their grave. Thus unlike all other flowers, whose petals cling to their calix until they shrivel and rot, as if its afraid to die, the cherry shows beauty to people. Similarly it may be said of the samurai, who when still in full vigour, was always ready to give his life for a good cause.  

(Arts 1983, pp.136-153), (Fitski 2001, pp.148-154)

 

Between all flowers dense leafy scrolls in gold. On the reverse three sprays flowering prunus. Round the footring three concentric bands. On the base a single concentric band.  

  

The abundance of different types of flowers on this one dish is very striking and rarely seen.

 

Condition: Perfect, wear to the iron-red and golden decoration. The glaze heavily crackled.

 

References:

Arts 1983, pp.136-153.

Fitski 2001, pp.148-154

 

Price: € 399 - $ 444 - £ 360

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

 

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2012385
2012385

Japanese Imari 1690-1800 - Page 1

 

Object 2012385

 

Covered bowl

 

Japan

 

2nd half 18th century

 

Height including the cover 82 mm (3.23 inch), height excluding the cover 64 mm (2.60 inch), diameter of rim bowl 116 mm (4.41 inch), diameter of footring bowl 46 mm (1.65 inch), diameter of ring knob cover 37 mm (1.34 inch), diameter of rim cover 105 mm (4.09 inch), weight bowl 184 grams (4.82 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 84 grams (2.79 ounce (oz.)). 

 

Bowl on footring, narrow spreading rim, domed cover with ring knob. Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, green and black enamel and gold with groups of flowering bamboo, pine and prunus. Near the footring a pointed lotus leaves pattern border. Inside the bowl and cover flowering bamboo plants and a blossoming prunus spray, round the rims zig zag lines pattern borders. On the outside of the cover flowering bamboo, pine and prunus plants and round the outside of the ring knob a lotus leaves pattern border. Marked on the base of the bowl and in the centre of the covers ring knob with a fuku ['luck'] mark within a double-lined square in seal script.

 

The lavish decoration on the inside of the cover is unusual and rarely found on Japanese export porcelain. The decorative pattern of the, rather coarse, blossoming prunus branches is characteristic for the later second half of the 18th century.

 

Condition: A firing flaw to the outer rim of the bowl and a frit to the outer ring knob.

 

Price: € 299 - $ 361 - £ 265

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

 

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